Tag Archives | AR Best practices

[GUEST POST] It’s a Great Time to be in Analyst Relations by Peggy O’Neill

Peggy O'Neill, Senior Director Analyst Relations @ Informatica

If you’re an analyst relations professional in the know, you keep on eye on one of the most popular online gathering places for our tribe – the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations website and LinkedIn Group.

If so, then you’re probably like me, raising an eyebrow these days at the sheer volume of analyst relations job postings that have come through in 2020 so far. Nearly 60 jobs have been posted at IIAR’s job section on the its website (they appear earlier on the IIAR< Member365 extranet) when in previous years it’s normally a fraction of that.

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IIAR> Discussion Group: approaching research contracts negotiations in a pandemic

2011_Negotiation_pandemic_hero

The Covid_19 and economic impact of lockdown is making 2020 truly unique, squeezing budgets for all companies. Most technology vendors hold contracts with the likes of Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Omdia, 451 and others ; and renewals for 2021 are predictably going to be tense.

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IIAR> Best Practice Call: AR Measurement

The next Best Practice paper in the IIAR>’s new series on best practice will focus on a topic that should be close to the heart of every AR professional: AR Measurement.

Often thought to be the Holy Grail of AR, how can a vendor (cost-) effectively track the true RoI of engagement with industry analysts? Is it about recommendations and proving influence over deals? Perhaps you are tracking touchpoints, endorsements, the number of Magic Quadrants in which a vendor is included, or even the number of times your favorite analyst tweets about your brand. Or perhaps you focus on softer factors such as analyst sentiment?

We’ll take a deep dive into this evergreen topic in an interactive IIAR> session co-hosted by Nadia Nizar (@nadianizar, LinkedIn), at Resonance and IIAR> Board member Simon Jones (@SimonDestrier, LinkedIn). This is the first step in the production of a new IIAR> white paper on successful measurement strategies.

We invite you to join us and share your views: We are gathering opinions on effective AR measurement from IIAR> members, so make sure your views are heard! We want to listen to different voices and encourage a healthy debate. Also – join us and chime in if you’re interested in learning more about AR measurement – we’d like to understand your priorities.

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[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] 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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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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[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 Discussion Group: negotiating with Gartner

Gartner IIAR logosTime to renew your Gartner subscription?

Our members have indicated a few interesting plays by the industry analysis market leader, almost two years after its takeover of CEB. including a continued drive to multi-year contracts and aggressive drive to sell their $150k executives offerings, effectively mirroring the EXP strategy for vendors. Those offerings causing much confusion with users in vendor organisations are Gartner for General Managers, Gartner for Sales Leaders, Gartner for Marketing Leaders, etc.

Following our latest discussion group on the subject, the IIAR is conducting a discussion group for members to exchange the issues they face when being sold bundled products. This will enable members to discuss ways to get the best value without disclosing individual price. IIAR will then present these findings to Gartner for their feedback and help Gartner sales teams improve client satisfaction. Continue Reading →

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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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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 POSTING] Debunking Five Analyst Relations Myths

Hand with ace card up the sleeve (IIAR website)Analyst relations is easily the most misunderstood function in marketing.

I’ve been involved with analyst relations — or AR — for over a decade, working on dozens of Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Waves. I’ve experienced the impact that analyst relations, when done well, can have on growth. And I know how much time and effort it takes to do it right. It’s not witchcraft nor is it a simple “spend more / do better” formula.

It’s time to set the record straight, so in this post I’m going to debunk five of the most common myths I’ve come across. Well, turns out this ex-mathematician is not great at counting, so I’ll be dubunking a bonus 6th myth as well 🙂

  • Myth #1: Analyst firms like Gartner are “pay to play”
  • Myth #2: Your PowerPoint slides matter
  • Myth #3: Gartner is the only analyst firm that matters
  • Myth #4: You can move the “dot” in a Gartner Magic Quadrant
  • Myth #5: Just becoming a Leader in an analyst report will double/triple/10x your growth
  • Myth #6: Your PR firm can manage analyst relations

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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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[GUEST POST] How to Create a More Compelling Analyst Event

Yawning catI thoroughly enjoyed and could very much relate to Jon Reed’s recent post, How to screw up a vendor analyst day – in 12 simple steps. So much so that I’m inspired to write my own take on how to create a more compelling analyst event that’s more rewarding for all involved.

Vendors spend a lot of time and money on these events. Presumably, they want to deepen their relationships with analysts and influencers, and give them the insights they need to offer constructive feedback and provide perspectives to the broader market. However, like Jon, I’m constantly amazed at how often they seem to miss these marks–as evidenced by analysts that have tuned out to look at news, email or sports on their laptops or phones. So here are my suggestions for how to create an analyst day that will help you better engage with analysts. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Why AR Managers Should Fret About Quote Policies by Peggy O’Neill

Peggy O'Neill, Senior Director Analyst Relations @ InformaticaI’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. Continue Reading →

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Common Misconceptions and 4 Key Areas Tech Start-ups Can Benefit from Industry Analyst Relations

 Photo: business man writing business strategy concept by Phenom Apps

Photo: business man writing business strategy concept by Phenom Apps

Industry Analyst Relations is often characterized as a “Pay to Play” endeavor with little opportunity for the bootstrapped tech venture; this is not the case. I would argue that there are opportunities for a dedicated Tech Startup to benefit from pursuing Industry Analyst Relations (IAR) even without a large budget to spend. Keep in mind Industry Analysts are knowledge focused experts and there can be equitable and beneficial exchanges of information for those who have put forth the effort to develop their Analyst Relations program and build the necessary relationships in the community. For those new to Industry Analyst Relations and who are considering the reasons to perform IAR, below are some common misconceptions, followed by four compelling reasons to develop an Industry Analyst Relations mission early in a Tech Startup. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Webinar: A Discussion on Effective AR Measurement and Amplification

On Friday 11th May 0800 PDT / 1100 EDT / 1600 BST, IIAR member Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn@gerryvz) from the Oracle Analyst Relations team will host an interactive discussion about how AR can better measure results, and more importantly how AR can better utilize these results.
AR managers and leaders tend to be highly focused on maximizing their firm’s placement in key analyst competitive evaluations, and improving what analysts are saying about their firm to their end-user clients.
However, the process doesn’t stop there!  Often, AR misses the more important aspect:  How can we as AR practitioners and leaders get our hard-earned results into the hands of the right people?  The sales and marketing teams; customer prospects; and existing customers?  How can we leverage and multiply the benefit of key analyst research to support the teams out there winning sales deals?

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