According to the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, around 40% to 60% of all technology-purchasing decisions are influenced by analysts. Yet analyst relations is an often-overlooked tool in a company’s communications arsenal (and it should not be).
Married to a strategic public relations plan, analyst relations can substantially shape business strategy through credible industry insight and influence. Moreover, industry analyst reports, reviews, and feedback can significantly impact reputation and brand perception — and map directly to an organization’s share of voice, qualified lead generation, and return on investment (ROI).
Who are industry analysts?
Analyst firms make money by selling trustworthy, third-party analysis and insight. It is an analyst’s job to cultivate deep and extensive market knowledge relevant to a particular domain. They invest heavily in understanding absolutely everything about specific coverage areas. That translates to expert opinion on major players, industry disruptors, emerging issues, and future directions.
Perhaps most importantly, it is their job to understand what customers want from technology vendors and how those needs compare with what is available in the marketplace.
And, let’s not forget…analysts are credible “influencers.” They speak to business leaders and journalists routinely. You will often see their comments included in industry trend stories and other news. Analysts also tend to have close connections to investor and government communities.
Why should you talk to them?
In B2B tech, it’s no secret that technology buyers are savvy, technical people — often skeptical of direct marketing.
Simply put, your buyers listen when analysts talk. When you get mentioned by analysts — either in written research or in 1:1 inquiries — indirect access to prospects opens up. Coverage in official research publications such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, Forrester’s Wave, and IDC’s Marketscape are game changers. References in these reports help your sales and marketing teams demonstrate that your technology, company, products, and services are recognized and credible.
Companies also use analysts to stay informed about what is happening in the market and solicit feedback on messaging and product development. Additionally, they rely on analysts to contextualize product or service offerings and make suitable critiques on business strategies.
What is the value of AR?
Industry analysts are deeply connected across your customer community and business ecosystem; working with them allows you to:
- Get feedback: Educating analysts about your existing and future capabilities keeps them in the know. It also offers an opportunity for you to get valuable feedback on your position and messaging. You can use that information to inform or adjust business and product planning.
- Spread the word: When analysts know your story, you’re more likely to be top of mind when they’re engaging with pertinent customers, prospects, media, or investors. The perspectives they share about you carry weight because they come from an informed but independent third party.
- Identify insights: Analysts often share valuable insights based on their network and the research they conduct. By capturing these golden nuggets of information, you could learn much you hadn’t previously considered.
- Influence prospects: Some analyst firms have close connections with your customer and prospect base. How analysts reference you in consulting engagements and through research can greatly impact your bottom line. They advise customers and publish research that defines vendor purchasing processes — and influences final selections.
Is analyst relations right for your company?
If your offering is in the technology space and/or specific to healthcare, energy, retail, or education verticals — adding analyst relations to your communications mix is an important consideration. It’s a strategic function that delivers returns for your marketing and PR strategy.
What are the first steps?
As with media relations, a successful analyst relations program requires honing relationships to build your company’s reputation and create credibility in the marketplace.
When managing relationships with analysts, companies generally turn to their PR agency. A good analyst relations program will focus on a long-term strategy. Teams will prep executives, facilitate briefings, prepare analyst-focused presentations, schedule inquiries, and ensure the company stays top-of-mind with key analysts and their firms.
To learn more about analyst relations, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.