A few months ago, I joined IIAR’s webinar focused on the IIAR Analyst Relations Professional and Team of the Year 2017. Every year, the IIAR awards analyst relations (AR) professionals and teams based on the results of an annual survey shared with the global industry analyst community. The survey gathers the analysts’ collective insight on AR professionals and their performance, and then the IIAR contrasts it with results from the previous year, based on level of responsiveness, relationship and results (also known as the IIAR’s Three R’s of AR).
Unsurprisingly, the data from this survey offers the type of insight that is invaluable for anyone working with industry analysts on a regular basis. It captures their perceptions, expectations from, frustrations with and other such “-ions” (reflections?) from analysts who work with Tech PR and Comms industry professionals . It’s easy to lose the interest of your target audience, even with very best intentions in place. So, a key question emerges: what do industry analysts expect from AR Pros, and what practices should stop?
- Stop assuming, start researching. The lack of understanding of the analyst’s role and business model featured prominently in survey responses. This approach results in missteps such as a spokesperson referencing other analyst firms, trying to be too commercial during a briefing or the MarCom team treating every analyst interaction as a numbers game or a one-off engagement.
- Tell me more, tell me more. Setting up briefings with analysts when a business can’t share relevant, timely or valuable news or PR-ing the narrative is a definite no-no in an analyst’s eyes.
- The Timekeeper. The IIAR survey revealed that bad agenda management is annoying to analysts, as their diaries get booked up far in advance and last-minute requests are rarely feasible and seldom accommodated.
- Hello, is it me you’re looking for? Connecting analysts with any available executive is not a strategic approach or one that can help strengthen relationships, something that analysts repeatedly mentioned in their feedback.
- You shall not pass! Instead of nurturing relationships between analysts and executives, there is a tendency in the AR community to gate-keep, a practice that analysts discourage.
- You’ve got mail. Although keeping analysts up to date on business/product news is important, sharing every press release, blog or marketing materials will be regarded as being excessive rather than informative.
- I did it my way. Short and simple: when it comes to analyst authored materials, don’t try to spin outputs beyond factual corrections.
- Houston, we have a problem. Unsurprisingly, analysts noted as an annoyance the low quality/preparation from a technical equipment perspective for phone briefings, webinars and events, especially when this can be avoided.
- Tier me baby one more time. Blindly tiering analysts based on criteria such as “a big, recognisable firm name” instead of the influence that an analyst has for a company or area of the market, is bad practice; also mentioning preferences for analyst firms publicly is a major misstep.
- Nothing in life is free. Whilst it’s all about building relationships and having a transparent and productive conversation, expecting detailed feedback or the type of information shared during a consulting session for free during a briefing is unrealistic and annoying.
There are many more ways in which relationships with industry analysts can be nurtured and just as many ways in which they can go sour.
Research into analyst perception of AR Pros helps give a far greater understanding of how the “other side of the profession thinks” and in shaping new best practices that are mutually beneficial. The key message to take away is the openness to accept that there is always room for improvement, especially in professions that have the word “relations” in their name.
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