Archive | AR Best practices

[GUEST POST] The 7 Ups of Building Credibility Through Analyst Relations

By Andrew Lochart (LinkedIn, @andrewlochart) and reposted from lochart.com with his permission.

I’ve been leading B2B tech product marketing teams for more than 20 years and I’ve seen how easy it is to fall into what I call the “content trap”. We’re constantly creating new content to fuel our campaigns, to keep things fresh and interesting for our audiences. We try new messaging, new content types, new offers. It can be fun and exciting.

But it’s a trap because in our haste to create new content, we do the easy thing – start writing about how our product or service is newer, better, different. That kind of content might help generate awareness amongst buyers, but it fails at generating something much more important: Credibility.

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[GUEST POST] Influencer relations so much more than going from an A to I

Marc Duke profile picture

I’ve been in AR for a long long time, so long that when I started (working at Text 100 representing Microsoft in Europe – yup I am showing my age!) reaching out to industry analysts while at a PR agency most of the analysts I spoke to thought I had called the wrong department. Almost 20 years later (yikes!) and AR is cool again, especially if it is part of your influencer relations strategy.

You missed that trend? Let me explain, today everyone is an influencer (wasn’t that always the case?) and if you work in marketing you need to reach out to them to ensure you can influence their thinking and in turn they will influence your customer, or if you are an agency practioner your clients’ customer.

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[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 2)

If you read part 1 of my blog post ’20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making’ you will hopefully have learnt a few things. Including the fact that I am not shy when it comes to sharing my thoughts! So here we go with part 2 of my list of don’ts, pitfalls, and worst practices when it comes to working with industry analysts.

  1. Following on from my tip not to focus on just one or two analyst firms, don’t treat the analyst community as a homogeneous ecosystem. Our differences abound. Some firms tend to employ very dry, almost academically analytical people. Others are less analytical, more engaging. So, don’t ignore the importance of defining what you want from a particular analyst interaction. For example, are you looking for an objective, outside critic to give you unvarnished, ugly truth? Are you looking for a reassuring partner? Lots of analysts can play both roles, but you have to help them understand what you need. Once in a while, your most curmudgeonly and cynical critic can also be your most inspiring partner.
  2. On a related note, don’t assume we all do the same things the same way (in terms of either free advice or paid projects). Even within one firm, each analyst will have his or her own style when collaborating with you.
  3. Don’t forget to double check whom from the analyst side and whom from your side will be on a given call. Calls that take place with the wrong people are a waste of everyone’s time. If you plan to have a very technical product-development engineer representing your end, then you’ll probably want a more technical person on the analyst’s end (at ESG, our lab analysts are known for keeping pace with even the nerdiest infrastructure architects and technology evangelists.) But if your goal is to figure out how to translate extremely technical value statements into compelling, plain-English marketing messages, then request an analyst that’s focused in that manner.
  4. It is a really bad idea for you to conduct briefings with us at the last minute. Your lack of prep work sends a poor message to us. But more importantly, if you wait until three weeks before a product launch to get in touch with us, then there will be no time left for us to help you make your launch better! Every message will already be baked on your side, warts and all. That’s not a situation conducive to making us feel engaged with your company and its goals. I recall many occasions when it’s happened to me, and afterward, I found it harder to feel invested in helping those clients craft their launch strategies the next time around—because I knew, yet again, there’d be no time left for them to act on any of my suggestions. Basically, if you don’t want to consider the analyst’s feedback, you might as well just send a deck.
  5. Don’t assume we have set opinions on everything, even on matters involving a single company. We are always morphing and expanding our knowledge of the markets we cover and the clients we serve. Don’t assume influencers cannot be influenced! You have more power of persuasion over us than you might know. We’ll have no issues becoming avid fans of you and your company if it’s warranted.
  6. Which brings me to this point: don’t ignore us. You aren’t the only ones having calls with us. Members of the IT press call us for commentary, too. When journalists are asking us for a quote, your ongoing efforts to ensure your company remains “front-of-mind” in our consciousness will pay off. Basically, just keep in mind that we talk to a lot more people affiliated with your industry than you do—reporters, end-users, channel partners, your direct competitors, major investors, other analysts, and beyond.
  7. On a day-to-day basis in your own role, don’t be just a gatekeeper. In other words, don’t limit yourself to being the forwarder of emails between outside analysts and your company’s in-house subject matter experts. Over the years, I’ve seen AR people overly indulge in “bottlenecking” behavior, presumably because it gave them a feeling of control over the company’s analyst relationships. If you do that, you are not adding value you are actually reducing value for all parties. We are a catalyst for your company’s success. Keeping the relevant analysts “locked in an AR drawer”, away from your marketing and engineering colleagues, isn’t helpful.
  8. Don’t let your company’s marketing-campaign people pitch anyone (i.e., juicy prospects and lucrative customers whose continued business is important) without doing a dry run with an analyst first. We are your brutally honest friend who will tell you about your halitosis and thus save you from embarrassment when it really counts!
  9. It works the other way, too. Don’t forget that people across your industry, not to mention your biggest customers, are regularly telling us far more then they’d ever dare reveal to you directly.
  10. Here we could have something about not using a slide deck with you that features market stats from competing analyst houses… Is that an issue? I’d have thought so but I’m not an analyst…
  11. We have entered a time in which the classic “annual big launch” is fading away. More often, IT vendors—including the company you may represent—are releasing steady drip-drips of enhanced product features and functions throughout the year. This IT industry-wide shift is making it harder for product marketing teams to garner traction and attention for their new and improved solutions.In such a climate, if you treat your analyst community as a check-box item, then you’ll do nothing more than check a box. You can do better than that. We are not all the same—learn that, and work optimally within that reality.These days, it’s more important than ever for you to refine and optimize your analyst interactions. As with any relationship, honesty is the best policy. Candor leads to trust, and trust leads ultimately to success — for you and us.

Mark Peters (LinkedIn, @englishmdp) is a Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), with three decades of IT industry experience – the first two spent in myriad commercial management roles for vendors on each side of the Atlantic the last decade looking in on the vendors and at the market for ESG. ESG is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community. ESG helps clients achieve business results through a comprehensive portfolio of research and advisory services, consulting, and custom content solutions.

This post first appeared on A3 Communications, reposted with their kind permission.

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[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 1)

Mark Peters / ESG: 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making

Good news: With improvements, everyone will see better results
I’m going to make an assertion that will seem unnecessarily provocative. After working for a decade as an IT industry analyst—including interacting regularly with analysts from other firms — I am confident in saying that many, indeed perhaps most, analyst relations teams are sub-optimizing their relationships and, by extension, their companies’ relationships with the analysts covering them.

I mainly work with teams that manage industry analyst relations specifically—that is, AR teams. But good chunks of the advice I’m about to share could apply (with some tweaking) to anyone managing relationships between their company and outside influencers such as journalists, investment analysts, or other third-party pundits who need information about features, roadmaps, or strategies.Big companies have full-time AR, PR, and IR teams, but even small startups usually have someone on staff doing similar work, even if it’s just one part of their role. There are a lot of you out there. So here we go.

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Gartner Symposium / ITxpo 2019: key takeaways for AR professionals

Gartner Symposium
The IIAR> was at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2019 in Barcelona

This year’s Gartner Symposium in Barcelona had a couple of updates for AR professionals in store. And the analysts on stage shared new ideas and new perspectives to the already known tech story.

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IIAR AR Café at Gartner Symposium in Barcelona 2019

Join us…

at our IIAR get-together at this year’s Gartner Symposium 2019 in Barcelona, hosted by Yvonne Kaupp (@YveKauppLinkedIn), IIAR Board Member (Chapter Liaison) and Senior Manager Global Analyst Relations and Market Strategy at Retarus and Anja Steinmann (@AnjaSteinmann, LinkedIn), IIAR UK Chapter Co-lead and Global Analyst and Consultant Relations Manager at BT.

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IIAR> Webinar: Future Shock: The Coming State of Analyst Relations

Gerry van Zandt and Ludovic Leforestier - IIAR

The IIAR> will soon release a new and long-awaited white paper that provides fresh insights and information into how the field of Analyst Relations will evolve and change over the coming 5-10 years.  To mark the debut of this white paper, IIAR will host a webinar on the 5th December2019 at 0800 PST / 1000 EST / 1600 GMT to outline some of its key findings, and to discuss important considerations that will be relevant to everyone working in the Analyst Relations field.

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IIAR> Discussion Group: working with Gartner

As the largest analyst firm, everyone in analyst relations is impacted by their relationship with Gartner. From contract negotiations to account management to research coverage, our AR programs are greatly impacted by Gartner’s offerings, communications.

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The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018

Fashionably late but always on point and by popular request here’s the IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018, a representation of how Analyst Relations Professionals (AR Pros) have rated analyst firms in the 2018 survey we ran for the Analyst and Firm of the Year 2018.

For new readers here, the Tragic Quadrant is of course a pun on the infamous GartnerMagic Quadrant’. We do not pretend this as an exhaustive analysis -nor is it a completely serious piece of research (the “Tragic” moniker is there as a reminiscence it should be taken with a pinch of salt). Nonetheless it is based on data and, as opposed to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, there are no magical and secretive weightings. As such, it is a good indication going back several years of the changes afoot in the industry analyst landscape and the judgement analyst relations professionals cast on industry research firms. And it provides actionable insights AR pros can use, something other surveys in this field often lack.

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[GUEST POST] Do’s And Don’ts For Analyst Interactions by Chase Cunningham / Forrester

Chase Cunningham, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Having just been through an onslaught of work related to the Forrester Wave™ evaluation on Zero Trust eXtended ecosystem platform providers, I think that it’s worthwhile to put some guidance out there that might help folks as they interact with analysts (well, me, mainly, but maybe it will help with others, as well). And a disclaimer: I don’t actively work with folks at other analyst firms, so take my humble advice here with a grain of salt; every analyst is a bit different, and each firm has its own way of doing things.

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10 things analysts want most

Here are the top ten best practices we un-earthed during the IIAR> AR Professional Of The Year 2019 survey.

  1. Regular briefings
  2. Targeted coverage
  3. Open discussion about company strengths and weaknesses
  4. Sending the deck ahead of the briefing so there’s time to come up with in depth questions
  5. Well organised AR events that encourage conversation not mere presentations
  6. Support for research interviews, being pragmatic during Evaluative Research. 
  7. When AR helps to get the right people on the table for f2f meetings and when AR gives feedback  about what kind of information is the most valuable for its organization
  8. Pro-actively flagging developments in coverage areas
  9. Knowing the kind of material/projects my company works on. 
  10. Sharing data under NDA
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IIAR Webinar: Introducing CCS Insight – and how they make sense of the connected world

CCS Insights LogoCCS Insight is a longstanding research firm headquartered in the UK, but with reach and clients into wider EMEA, the Americas and Asia Pac. This specialist technology market intelligence and advisory firm provides tailored, decision-ready solutions to their client base to help them ‘make sense of the connected world’.

This April 17th, we invite two of CCS Insight’s finest, VP of Research Martin Garner (Blog, @martin_garner, LinkedIn), and Principal Analyst for Digital Workplace Angela Ashenden (LinkedIn, @aashenden), to give us an overview of the firm’s research and advisory services and practice areas, and touch on their upcoming 2020 Predictions, a must-not-miss annual event in the diary for their clients. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Discussion Group on Scaling AR on April 18th

The analyst landscape is changing fast and new voices are joining the conversation with impact over potential buyers. Whilst Tier 1 analyst firms generally retain their position in the area of direct buying recommendations, the picture is different when it comes to other sources influencing the buyer journey.
For instance, boutique firms are claiming their share of the influencer space, particularly in regional markets.
They might however not have the same business models or abide by the same rules of engagement than traditional analyst research firms (see the IIAR Best Practice Paper: The 7+7+7 Golden Rules of Engagement).

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[GUEST POST] How Analyst Relations Impacts Strategy 

Analyst relations seems straightforward enough – as a tech vendor, you relate key milestones and elements of strategy to those industry analysts who you think will have the greatest reach to your target market. Right? In my opinion though, the best analyst relations professionals also flip that model. With just as much vigour and interest, they ensure that the leaders in the company are not only aware of overall market trends and emerging technologies that could impact short term AND long term revenues, but they also consider how best to respond to market indicators. How do you do THAT? It’s like inserting yourself into the C-Suite, or as part of the Office of the CEO or Strategy team. How do you get senior executive leaders to listen? And more importantly, to take action based on the market trends you bring them? Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] How Analyst & Advisory Relations translates to Business

Christian Holscher (IIAR website)When even hyper-successful companies like AWS invest in dedicated analyst and advisor relations management although they seem to dominate their markets anyway, it suggests they realize much more value in AR than ‘only’ to position high in an industry report. 

Even small innovative businesses seek to engage regularly with the likes of Gartner, Forrester, IDC or with boutique analyst firms, although they may be far from making it ‘onto’ a flagship MQ or Wave or Marketscape report. Why do they prioritise time and money to AR?

Because it pays unique dividends that are harder to achieve otherwise.

This article aims to explain AR results in the context of the business functions that it supports and based on years of hands-on experience. Continue Reading →

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The role of a good AR: does it change during a crisis?

Analyst relations nightmares (IIAR)Although crisis situations can at times feel out-of-the-blue, AR nightmares can usually be solved by adhering to a simple to follow maxim: it’s all about communicating what you can, when you can.

However, in an escalating crisis of epic proportions, it’s important to ensure that you, as an Analyst & Influencer Relations specialist, tend to your priority analyst relationships first and foremost.

Here are three simple tips for how to survive your first crisis as an AR professional working within an escalating crisis, or in a PR nightmare scenario where you’re asked to give advice on how to inform the analyst community. It can be anything from a briefing which has gone off the rails to an issue in a local market that mushrooms into a global performance or critical security flaw.

No matter the issue, there are ways as guardians of the relationships our Vendors have with Industry Analysts, that can be replicated across most B2B technology and marketing companies. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Hsu: AR must bet bigger on fewer analysts

Andrew Hsu‘s (LinkedIn) views on AR prioritization are handy. In a recent presentation, he stressed the role of prioritisation in helping us to think about AR, be more refined than our instincts can allow and to help us justify the choices we made when we allocated limited Analyst Relations resources.
Andrew’s starting point is the need to make smart, big bets. Rather than randomly allocating effort without focussing on influence, we want to focus our energy on a smaller number of analysts and, I think it’s implied, to boost the impact of the analysts we prioritize.
The common-sense of AR is problematic. We focus on the people we know, the ones who are cynical about our brand and the ones with whom we do the most business. Instead, Andrew says that we need to focus on both our business goals and the attributes of the analysts. He hits the nail on the head when he says that AR people are often ‘doing God’s work’ – merely serving the analysts. Instead, we need to focus on the timely needs of the business. Continue Reading →

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Effective Measurement: ARe we there yet?

IIAR laptop and post itsEffective measurement has become a bit of a challenge for AR practitioners, as stakeholders are demanding more tangible, immediate results that can easily be linked to business outcomes. With smaller teams and tighter budgets, AR professionals are under immense pressure to justify investment and prove overall value.

As such, the IIAR’s recent webinar on measurement and amplification, led by Oracle’s Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn@gerryvz), couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve included below my key takeaways from the webcast as well as Gerry’s advice for anyone looking for help or inspiration around efficient AR measurement.

A major hurdle that I keep seeing, especially in organisations that don’t yet have mature AR programmes, is the inability to set AR-relevant objectives. Too many organisations still try and measure AR in the same way as PR and get massively frustrated by the meatier up-front investment and absence of immediate results. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Tips to Ensure a Productive Analyst Briefing

IIAR blog: illustration for post on briefing best practices by Cindy Zhou / ConstellationSince becoming an industry analyst almost two years ago, I’ve sat in on nearly 100 vendor briefings and have some tips and do’s/don’ts to share to help you prepare for your next analyst session. First, know that Constellation is a firm very accessible to technology companies of all sizes and no, you don’t have to be a client to brief us. Based on availability and relevance to my coverage areas, I’m happy to take the call and enjoy helping young start-ups.

Let’s ensure we both get the most out of our limited time together, so here are my tips for you :

Do:

  • Be respectful of the analyst’s time. Our free briefings are 30 minutes, and if I’m able to, I will often extend to 45 mins (at my discretion).
  • A little light research to understand who I am and my coverage areas (Marketing (B2B and B2C), Sales, and Customer Experience. I prepare by visiting your company website and learn about you on LinkedIn before the call, please extend that courtesy.

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[GUEST POST] How to lose an industry analyst in 10 days (and ways)

Julia Pope / CC Group on the IIAR websiteA 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). Continue Reading →

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