I have to start this post with a confession. I’ve been on the IIAR Board for nearly 10 months and only recently got around to taking the IIAR Certified Professional exam. Shame on me. But like a lot of other IIAR members I suspect, I was put off by misconceptions about the test. So having gone through the process and come out the other side relatively unscathed and with a shiny new certificate to put on my wall, I thought it might be helpful to share my experiences and hopefully dispel some of the myths. And if I can encourage more members to take the certification test, even better. Continue reading
AR still suffers from being in the shadow of PR and like Marc, most of those taking part in the call had fallen into AR careers by accident. What can we do, as an industry, to spread the word?
Fionnula Fitzsimons (@fionnula) from Bite Communications and Stephen England (@sfengland) from KCG emphasised that we need to do more PR to differentiate ourselves from PR. KCG estimates that there are about 1,500 full-time AR professionals globally – tiny in comparison to those engaged in PR. Even the investor relations community, perhaps the closest in terms of job function to AR, boasts around 100,000 members.
It’s difficult for such a small group to make much noise, and AR is a difficult story to tell. How many of our families really understand what it is that we do? The responsibility rests with us as AR managers to keep educating those around us on the value of analysts and AR to our organisations. As Stephen England put it, “if we each teach one PR person, one marketing person, and one sales person a quarter of what we do, our ecosystem would increase dramatically.” Marc Duke also felt that the IIAR could help raise the profile of AR by getting more content into the mainstream technology and marketing/PR trade press. Continue reading
The IIAR will also be hosting a teleconference for members to discuss the issues raised on May 3rd at 4 pm BST/11 am EDT.
So what does AR do then…?
Without wishing to sound trite, the answer to this question is dependent on a number of factors such as:
- Size of company
- Size of team
- Experience/expertise of staff
- How “AR-friendly” the organisation is
AR can cover any of the following:
- Proactive outbound communications to support PR, marketing and sales
- Inbound communications to support product or business strategy development
- Reactive communication to support research questions and consulting requests from the analysts
What do you need to do to reach the top level in AR? Is it vital to work in the US? And what’s the future for the role of analyst relations? In a series of guest posts, Marc Duke (blog, @marcduke) will be looking at the issues surrounding AR careers and at how things may evolve in the coming years.
It’s a topic that’s important to all of us who work in AR and we welcome your thoughts and comments. The IIAR will also be hosting a teleconference for members to discuss the issues raised on May 3rd at 4 pm BST/11 am EDT.
I first encountered the heady world of AR in 1997 as a lowly account executive. The PR agency I worked for, Text 100, was the main agency for Microsoft in Europe. It had a very, very small AR programme which was passed around and found its way to me. That’s where my AR journey began. As the AR profession has matured, the question of where AR as a career is going is a serious one that merits consideration.
As part of the research for this piece, I spoke to several IIAR members to get a picture of their experience and thoughts on how their AR careers are likely to develop. I’ll try to summarise their perspectives and mine, with the hope of stimulating further debate on a topic which is as current as any other issue in the AR community.
By Thomas Ryan (LinkedIn)
Over the past eighteen months, most companies have been seriously affected by the global economic recession. In many cases, budgets across all departments have been trimmed to the bone; but Analyst Relations (AR) programs seem to have been particularly hard hit. Increasingly, AR teams are asking:
- What can we do to keep at least the base of our budget intact?
- How can I defend my AR budget?
or more generally,
- How do I make the case for AR?
The IIAR’s latest Best Practice Paper, “Making the Case for Analyst Relations,” identifies the four principles for building solid executive-level sponsorship for your AR program. Each principle is explored in terms of how AR programs today are effectively – and ineffectively – applying the principle’s key elements. Examples from successful AR programs are provided to illustrate how each principle can be adapted to your organization’s culture, objectives, and expectations. Continue reading
Everyone knows the industry analyst relations landscape has changed with firm consolidations, resultant influencer moves and content proliferation across an explosion of new channels. In a headlong rush to understand and exploit this new world, it’s easy to get reactive and lose focus on what really matters: having the right information to make the right decisions about working in the best way with analysts most relevant to an organization’s business objectives.
The IIAR’s latest Best Practices Paper, “Beyond Best Practices: Industry Analyst Tiering for Business in the Real Word,” sheds some light on a new foundational approach to sort out which analysts matter to a company, and develop a rationale for optimal engagement strategies. As the title suggested, this paper goes beyond traditional best practices to offer a step by step guide for navigating the industry analyst community in the context of real world challenges. It’s designed to help teams get the in-depth knowledge needed for accurate decision-making about who to engage with and why. Included are answers and suggestions for handling difficult situations thereby mapping advice to situations faced every day.
In many ways, analyst tiering is foundational to industry analyst relations program success. Armed with information about who analysts are and how they form opinions, practitioners can figure out how to work together for mutual advantage. When done correctly, analyst tiering positions the industry analyst relations team as trusted advisors, and lays the groundwork for relationship building to achieve organizational success. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on this important topic.
IIAR members can access this paper on our extranet: Industry Analyst Tiering for Business in the Real World
For our next IIAR London Forum on March 10th, we’re delighted to welcome Alexander Drobik, Managing VP Research for Business Applications & Processes with Gartner, as our guest speaker. Alexander will be discussing Gartner’s research methodology. The Forum kicks off at 3:45 p.m. and a limited number of guest places are available for those who have not previously been to an IIAR event.
For more information, please contact IIAR Secretary Hannah Kirkman at hkirkman (at) analystrelations (dot) org.