Getting the Most from Industry Analysts
By Juliann M. Grant
Global Strategic Planning and Analyst Relations
Talk to anyone in the industry who is involved with PR, and they have strong
feelings about working with the analyst community. It's usually either
a love or hate relationship and perspectives are typically shaped by the last
interaction. However, the thing to realize about developing analyst relations
is that you can receive benefits from working with analysts regardless if you
subscribe to their services or not. Analysts are strong influencers in your
market and can help you (or hurt you) if they don't have the information
The first thing to know about analysts is that they have two sets of customers:
(1) vendors who are selling technology, products or services and (2) clients
who represent companies who need help selecting and evaluating products and
Analysts can deliver real value for vendors by:
- Getting your company on the "recommended" vendor lists that they
produce for their client base
- Moving your company into sales cycles that were not sent out for public
- Increase your company's visibility in the marketplace through inclusion
in analyst-published research and press interviews
- Shape your company's strategy by providing feedback during briefings
- Inform your company of trends related to IT purchases, market directions,
and competitor advancements
You can leverage an analyst's scope of influence by educating them about
your company strategy and serving up information in a way that helps them be
But many vendors are often apprehensive about working with analysts because
they've heard horror stories about how other companies have been lambasted
in a report or press article. These myths often hold truly promising organizations
back from getting the immense value possible by working with the analyst community.
Let's take a look at the top 5 myths and discuss the value that analysts
MYTH 1. Analysts won't meet with my company because we don't subscribe to
False. As a general rule, analysts will accept briefings with any company
once a year, whether you're a subscriber or not. It is in an analyst's best
interest to have the widest perspective on all the vendors who participate
in their "market" or "focus of research." If they only
met with vendors who subscribe to services, their view of the market would
be skewed. It is also important to recognize that vendors who do subscribe
to services meet with their key analysts 2-4 times per year, and do get better
exposure than those who do not subscribe. In all cases, make sure you have
a truly compelling pitch about the significance of the market you serve and
your company's role in it.
MYTH 2. Analysts are paid to write about stuff, and it's not objective.
True and False. How is it both? Well, it is true that analysts get paid for
certain writing projects. It is false because their job is to maintain objectivity.
White papers are a very popular service where analysts are hired to help validate
a business issue and provide objectivity and credibility that a vendor could
not provide on their own.
Nevertheless, most of the material published by analysts is not fee-based,
and includes technology spending reports, market/technology reports, and software
application reports. These reports help shape their scope of influence in
MYTH 3. Everything costs money.
False. Many analysts provide online newsletters for FREE that summarize key
research findings and news they are publishing for that week or month. In
addition, there is usually free research available on the analyst web sites
that you can download. Don't be shy about downloading the information or signing
up for newsletters. Leverage what is there, like identifying which analysts
are covering what markets and develop a list of key analysts you want to reach.
MYTH 4. My company is too small to be on an analyst's radar screen.
False. It is really important to be on an analyst's radar screen, no matter
how small or large you are. The real issue is, "When is the right time
for my company to be on the analyst radar screen?" There are implications
to getting on the radar screen and they require a commitment by your company
to follow through to foster positive analyst relations.
Once you brief an analyst, you are on their radar screen. From that point
on, your company will be watched and evaluated based on how well you are executing
on the plan you presented. So, once you start the analyst process, you need
to consider the longer-term communication strategy of keeping them informed
of your progress. Keep in mind that when analysts lack current information,
they tend to make assumptions based on the information they have (however
old) or what they've heard from other vendors and clients.
MYTH 5. Services are not geared to small to medium sized vendor companies
True, but... Small to medium sized companies have the most difficulty figuring
out what value analysts can add, especially if they cannot afford their services.
However, it should not stop you from briefing the analysts (see Myth 1). In
addition, the analysts recognize this gap and have added services to address
the needs of smaller companies. If you have a favorite analyst, talk with
an account manager to see if something can be structured to fit your budget.
In conclusion, analyst services can offer your company a level of exposure
and validation that you would not be able to reach on your own. Analysts can
help you increase your company's market presence and effectiveness by sharing
buying trends as it relates to your market, including your company in their
client buying cycles, and giving you critical, objective feedback on your
company strategy and messages.
Next month, 6 steps to creating an effective analyst