the analyst conversation

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We wrote The Analyst Conversation white paper to help your organization better understand the dynamics of effectively working with research analysts. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about Analyst Relations (AR) on behalf of our clients, and we think everyone benefits when those interactions are positive, information-packed, and respectful.

TRANSCRIPT

  • What Tech Companies Need to KnowAbout This Powerful Influencer

    Summary

    The AnalystConversation

    Technology industry analysts are the tastemakers who define who and what matters in technology product decision-making. Given their enormous but little-understood impact on enterprise purchase evaluations, technology companies must incorporate constructive and thoughtful analyst relations into the marketing mix.

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction........................................................................................... 3What analysts do................................................................................... 4The analyst ecosystem.......................................................................... 5Who are the analyst firms?.................................................................... 6

    AR is not PR........................................................................................... 8Analyst briefings as an art form............................................................ 9

    AR questions for your agency partner................................................ 12

    TM 2

  • TM

    As a job title, analyst is a flexible one that means whatever a particular industry or employer wants it to mean. Almost every industry, from retail to insurance, has analyst coverage. A healthcare analyst, for example, studies treatment outcomes, an economic analyst pores over productivity metrics, and an investment analyst issues Buy and Sell ratings on stocks. What they have in common is an orientation to data-gathering, trend-monitoring, and published insights based on their conclusions.This white paper is about technology analysts, whose principal clients are buyers of technology products and services. Any company whose business is creating those products and services, whether corporate or consumer, needs to understand technology analysts role in the overall marketing process. Who are they? How do they view their job?

    How do they reach their recommendations?

    How do they exert influenceand how can you work with them to your companys advantage?

    Introduction

    3

  • Analysts (referring to tech analysts from this point on) provide their clients with third-party perspective and opinion. They act as a filter and reality check for clients, who ask them:

    Should we adopt this technology? Why or why not? Which vendors should be on our short list? How large will the market be next year? In five years? Which innovations are here to stay? Which are dead ends? What threats and surprises lie over the horizon, and which products protect us?

    To fully address this sort of question about a specific topic, an analyst might spend weeks or months processing survey data, interviewing senior executives, and inviting vendors to briefings. With broad access to others qualitative expertise, as well as primary quantitative research, an analyst rapidly becomes an authority in the technology segments real-world use, drawbacks, and potential.At the conclusion of this investigative process, the analyst typically authors a comprehensive report (and/or series of briefs, speaking engagements, or other deliverables) that present his or her findings, interpretations, and forecasts. In some cases, the results are fashioned into a scorecard that graphically positions companies on a competitor map; examples are Gartners Magic Quadrant and The Forrester Wave. For a favorably noted company, a report can have a marketing shelf-life of more than a year.Once the report is released, the analyst will meet with individual clients on a consulting basis; participate in industry events; write think pieces or op-eds for publications; and otherwise promote coverage of the research to attract new clients.

    WHAT ANALYSTs DO

    4TM

  • Although they are primarily accountable to paying clients, who typically subscribe on an annual basis, analysts also act as resources for journalists working on deadline. A well-placed quote in a breaking news story enhances the analysts personal reputation and promotes the firms go-to authority for current and prospective clients.Some of the firms clients are likely to be among the technology vendors being studied and ranked, so conflict-of-interest issue can arise. Its in the research firms interest, however, to keep evaluations honest and objective, because its brand depends on independence and integrity.

    The analyst ecosystemThe analysts influence derives from his or her position at the center of an ecosystem of technology products, buyers, sellers, and media.

    5TM

  • Technology research firms employ analysts who concentrate on particular coverage areas. As the market evolves, so do the firms, turning their attention to mobile payments and social media, for example, as these have moved onto buyers radar. The analysts themselves shift their focus over time to reflect these changes, as well as shifts in their personal interests.Hundreds of analyst firms, from one-person shops to boutique operations to large, multinational organizations cover every significant hardware, software, and services topic. The big accounting firms also provide vendor-evaluation services to their corporate clients. Its important to note that the Gartners and Forresters thateveryones familiar with may not be the most helpful strategically for your products. The opinions of a small operation with a tight, high-quality focus on your specific technology might be highly appreciated by corporate buyers, and therefore a better place to direct your AR efforts.Keep that in mind as you view the following chart. It reports the results of a Kea Company 2013 survey that asked AR professionals, Which analysts are most influential with journalists? With buyers?

    WHO ARE THE ANALYST FIRMS?

    6TM

  • TM 7

    Analyst Influence, Kea Company 2013 Survey

  • Although both tech journalists and analysts can help get your companys message out to prospective buyers, they have different work backgrounds, job roles, and expectations. From a marketers perspective, analyst relations and public relations are complementary activities, and both require careful cultivation.

    AR IS NOT PR

    8TM

    Typical background

    Depth of knowledge

    Methodology

    Product

    Product self-life

    Business model

    Goals

    Trade PressJounalism school

    Light to moderate

    WideScope of CoverageInterview for background &opinion quotes, pressreleases, press conferences

    News stories, features

    Days or weeks

    Advertising, subscriptions

    Scoop other journalists, keepreaders informed

    Industry experience

    Heavy

    NarrowUser surveys, CxO interviews,vendor briefings, custom research

    Research reports, briefs,speeches, webinars, consultingprojectsMonths or years

    Syndication, retainers,consulting

    Forecast market trends, guidebuyer decisions, feedback tovendors

    Analyst

  • TM

    Over the course of a year, analyst attend dozens, sometimes hundreds, of vendor briefings. Since this might be your companys only face-to-face contact with the analyst, its critical to make the most of the time.Why analyst do briefingsAnalysts are in the business of gathering market and product intelligence. They use this information to: Form judgments about product potential, engineering teams, and company leadership, both for publication and consulting Detect broader market trends and developments Compare and contrast firms; differentiate their approaches to the same market; place companies within a competitive set Solidify forecasts Quantify customer ROI Gather successful implementation stories as proof points Suggest areas for additional research Provide informed consulting services to clients

    Remember that every analyst wants to have impacton the press, on the direction of technology, on buying decisions, and on you. Call it vanity, but analysts love to be asked their opinions, so leave time for an honest discussion of pros and cons. Briefing best practicesMost firms are understandably proud of their products, but a briefing is not a sales call. For better or worse, analysts are allergic to messaging and positioning. You have been warned!Keep it simple. An ultra-slick presentation can be counter-productive here, particularly if it ignores or underplays market dynamics that the analyst will be familiar with. Keep Death by PowerPoint In mind.Prepare, prepare, prepare. Get the agenda, and preferably the slides (just a handful, please) to the analyst a few days prior to the briefing. Then be on time.

    ANALYST BRIEFINGSAS AN ART FORM

    9

  • Understand who the analyst is. Prior to the briefing, have a clear picture of the analysts coverage area, history, and publications. At the start, quickly confirm the agenda, and do your best to make the analyst appreciates that this is insider information.Explain the customer need. What is the markets dilemma? Why are current approaches unsatisfactory or inadequate?

    Describe your solution. What does it do and how is it different from others? Why did you take this approach?

    Tell the truth. Truth-telling is a good analysts stock-in-trade; thats what he or she is paid for. If you exaggerate or mislead, youre wasting everyones time, and the analyst will eventually find out, anyway. If you want to get the most out of the analyst relationship, each side has to trust the other.Tell stories. Analysts are always on the lookout for nuggets that substantiate his or her opinion. Real field examples, benchmarks, and customer ROI are valuable raw material for the analyst. After the briefing, the analyst can validate these with references you provide.Converse, dont just present. If youre talkin

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