I’m the most hated person at my company today.
Informatica is holding its customer conference in a few weeks and we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off to prepare for it. I just blasted out the most obnoxious email to colleagues who are preparing speeches for Informatica World, forcefully reminding them that any references to analyst research requires permission. I got a lot of eye rolling in response, but luckily no serious push back.
As an analyst relations manager, I like reading analyst research and working with analysts to improve my company. The role of compliance officer is not a natural one for me personally. However, every experienced AR manager will have a quote violation story to tell. To some extent it’s inevitable as you can spend a lot of time running around your company educating colleagues about the analyst quote policies and either people will still forget, or you will have new colleagues joining your company who aren’t sufficiently sensitive to this issue.
This is an often-overlooked issue for AR managers but savvy and experienced ones know how to put in controls and advocate best practices to keep quote violations to a minimum.
Why worry about this in the first place? The analysts do notice frequent violations and it’s not helpful to your company’s reputation. It goes under the heading of pick your battles wisely – there are plenty of items to argue over with analysts, a violation of the quote policy is a dumb one.
Remind your colleagues who push back that it’s part of the analyst contract, no one puts a gun to your head and makes you sign it. It makes sense because vendors can cause confusion if quotes are outdated or taken out of context, etc. You would be the first to scream if your competitor did it.
Be proactive in educating your colleagues. Set up meetings with public relations, marketing, the web team, people who create slides for execs, whoever is creating external marketing content on a regular basis. Go find those colleagues and insert yourself into their workflow. Don’t forget to remind them that it takes a few days for approvals and the basics of most analyst firms’ quote policies – i.e. current research, no competitive bashing, no blatant endorsement, etc.
Of course the day will come when some doofus colleague has managed, despite your best efforts, to misquote an analyst, and it’s called to your attention by the firm. Apologize and quickly fix the error; then circle back to show it’s been fixed; and apologize again.
Your company pays a lot for analyst research, and analysts create tons of useful content that your colleagues will want to use, so it’s natural to want to use it. Just make sure your company uses it properly as it’s one less source of stress for you. Also, if your company is a good citizen about frequently seeking permission, it can be a competitive differentiator if your arch rival is always violating the quote policy. You lose the moral high ground to tattle on your competitors if your company is always violating it too!
Peggy O’Neill (@PegONeill, LinkedIn) is Vice President, Industry Analyst Relations at Informatica. This blog post is dedicated to her Informatica colleagues who are good citizens about seeking analyst approval for citations.
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