By Ed Gyurko
The IIAR’s teleconference in July focused on vendor analyst days. One point everyone on the call agreed to was that the most influential analysts go to vendor events for face-to-face meet ups (one-to-one sessions) with a vendor’s top execs who are impossible to get time with at any other point during the year. If this is the case, why is it that the internal management at many vendors prioritise the big sessions at an analyst event instead of making more time for one-on-one sessions and for networking?
Yes, one-to-ones are the most valued by analysts but not always practical; in the worst case, they should be reserved for analysts that fit into an AR programme’s top priority list or specifically address a knowledge gap for an executive.
At a recent analyst event that I attended, a senior analyst at a global research firm said he “can always tell the junior analysts because they ask questions during a Q&A that give insights into their research agenda. If you notice, it’s rare that a senior analyst will ask questions in a group setting.” It could be that senior analysts get more time with vendors which results in other ‘junior’ analysts having to ask more questions.
For some vendors, the one-on-one issue is addressed by encouraging an open analyst discussion with senior executives. However, US and APAC analysts or a vendor’s management team may not be comfortable with the European-style of analyst debate.
Another technique that some vendors are resorting to is announcing major news at analyst events. Sometimes analysts won’t travel to events simply for one-on-ones if they have already been talking to executives on a regular basis. [For tier-one vendors, analysts never seem to have enough time to pose questions to C-level execs.] Announcing news at an event can result in greater analyst attendance and generate more interaction with the analysts. However, this PR-driven strategy has pros and cons. With regards to the latter, treating analysts like journalists can be a risky proposition for AR managers trying to manage the expectations of internal management.
With analysts less willing to travel and seeking ROI for being out of the office, addressing the balance of content and interactive sessions can make the difference between a passable event or a really great one.
For the analysts who read the IIAR’s blog, here’s your chance to let AR managers know about the do’s and don’t’s for vendor AR events. With more virtual analyst events happening (i.e., webinars and Telepresence), is the dominant model for an analyst event changing? Please share your thoughts on analyst event format/agenda, logistics, location, content and duration.