By Vicki Jenkins/ Nelson Hall (LinkedIn, @)
This is the fifth in a series of blogs for AR professionals containing tips and pointers on how to optimize the relationship between AR and industry analysts. Here I take a look at promoting your organization’s inclusion in an analyst report.
Often times, before committing to participating in an industry analyst report, subject matter experts will say to their AR colleagues, ‘What happened with the last report we participated in? What did we get out of it?’ In many organizations, it’s not realistic to send the report to the marketing team simply asking them to leverage it, as they have many other commitments and deliverables and might not understand the value of the report and how to make best use of it internally or externally.
Based on my background as both an AR professional and an industry analyst, I and NelsonHall colleagues have put together guidelines for planning promotional campaigns to communicate positioning in analyst reports, using NelsonHall’s (vendor) Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) reports as an example. NEAT reports help strategic sourcing managers to evaluate outsourcing vendors, and consists of a two-axis model: assessing vendors against their ability “to deliver immediate benefits” to clients and their ability “to meet clients’ future requirements”.
Plan for promotional rights
When participating in industry analyst reports, it is important to secure budgetary funds for promotional rights (or ‘reprint rights’ in old terminology). If your organization does well, the rights will be needed to promote your organization’s position in the report. In the case of NelsonHall’s NEAT, promotional rights allow vendors to use the NEAT graphs, supported by quotes from NelsonHall analysts, as part of their service marketing initiatives (e.g. in marketing collateral, press releases, news articles, social media, websites, etc.). NelsonHall also delivers a bespoke report containing a summary analysis of the vendor’s capabilities within the specific service type (including financials, strategic direction, and strengths), plus the latest market analysis summary for the service in question.
NelsonHall and most other industry analyst firms have guidelines on how the reports can be used and have a review process regarding their usage.
Promote your positioning internally to support external campaigns
Promotional rights of analyst reports typically allow promotion for an agreed upon timeframe. The extent to which a vendor is able to leverage the promotional rights depends on being able to communicate their positioning effectively within their organization, and to encourage usage.
In reaching out to colleagues across the business, explain the significance of your positioning as well as the potential benefits to your organization. Make sure the personnel that participated in the report preparation, briefing, and securing of client references are made aware of the analyst firm positioning of your organization.
Make it as easy as possible for colleagues to leverage promotional rights by, for example:
- Getting approved analyst quotes
- Preparing slides for internal departments to use externally. Usage examples include sales presentations and inclusion by solutioning employees in proposal responses
- Developing brief articles (or simply bullet lists) based on the report
NelsonHall recommends vendors share their NEAT positioning with the departments listed below and provide direction on how it can be leveraged:
- Marketing/Social Media:
- Develop some one- or two-line quotes or facts about positioning to be used as tweets
- Share a link to a news release about your positioning, to be posted on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media used by your company
- Place an article about your positioning in client and employee newsletters
- Seek opportunities to include your positioning in marketing brochures, marketing campaigns, annual reports, and if applicable earnings scripts
- Develop an e-mail marketing campaign about your positioning.
- Web Team:
- Explain the significance of your positioning and ensure the NEAT graph(s) have strong website real estate for the full duration of the promotional rights(in my time as an AR professional, I once paid for reprint rights for a year, only for the web team to remove the relevant collateral from the website after a month! I had to remind the team of the value of the reprint rights in order to get the web post reinstated)
- Ensure the NEAT graph is accompanied by key benefits and include a quote as well
- Provide a link to the NEAT report.
- Public Relations:
- Draft a news release
- Provide the NEAT graph(s)
- Ensure the news release is shared with key global media contacts as well as trade media, and local media where the company has contacts and a presence.
Following these simple guidelines can help AR to ensure that their business gets the most mileage from their participation and positioning in an industry analyst report such as NelsonHall’s NEAT series.