How To Build Your Analyst Program and Why It’s Important
By Tim Johnson
I hear from clients and new business prospects all the time statements like, “We can’t afford an industry analyst program,” or “I talked to one analyst firm and they wanted $50,000 to cover us” or “Our competitor pays them a bunch of money, so they won’t give us any attention.”
While there are grains of truth in each of these statements and many other reasons I hear to focus marketing resources elsewhere, analyst relations can play an important role in an organization’s marketing and sales functions. In addition to having analyst firms include a company in their reports, analysts will sometimes give validating quotes for press releases, co-author articles and co-present at conferences.
Five strategies UPRAISE works through with clients when embarking on an analyst program include:
Engage with the Tier 1 Firms, But Don’t Forget Niche Analysts
By Tier 1 analysts, I am referring to the large firms that cover dozens or hundreds of market sectors—Gartner, IDC, Forrester and a few others. These firms have very strong brands and to be recognized in their reports can be a significant credibility builder, especially for a young company.
However, these firms are typically very rigid and inflexible in how a company can use their reports. No matter how much a company pays Gartner, for example, their analysts will not provide a quote for a press release.
Niche analyst firms, while sometimes as small as 4-5 people, focus very narrowly on a single market, but because of this focus, are often highly regarded in their specific niche. And, they are typically much more helpful and flexible about co-marketing opportunities.
Find an Analyst Advocate
Within the Tier 1 firms especially, it’s very likely on an initial call there will be several analysts involved. As UPRAISE tries to deepen engagement with these firms, we try to find 1-2 analysts who seem to be most interested in our clients. Sometimes it’s not the analyst who covers exactly what our client does and sometimes that analyst is not in the U.S.
Analyst Calls Are an Opportunity to Listen
Our clients are typically excited to hold calls with analysts to present their businesses, unique value propositions and superior technologies. Sometimes lost in the excitement is the fact that the analyst participates in several of these briefings per day and has a very well-informed perspective on the company’s market, competitors and opportunities.
We often counsel clients to come to these calls with questions embedded in their presentations to ask the analysts, inserted in a way that creates a give and take, but that allows the clients to gain often valuable market intelligence.
Don’t Forget International Firms and Analysts
Being typical Americans, many of us focus our attention on U.S. analyst firms and assume the U.S. analyst community is the center of the world. But many outstanding international analyst firms exist and for companies that plan to market outside the U.S., inclusions in a report from a firm like Omdia, can be as valuable as one from any Tier 1 U.S. firm.
And, U.S. analyst firms often have offices around the world. It’s important to make the effort to engage with all analysts within a firm who could potentially include you in future reports. Sometimes, an analyst who covers just a piece of what a client offers will include that company in a report that turns out to be highly valuable.
You Can Get a Lot for Free
Many clients come us to assuming they will have to engage in paid relationships to get coverage. This is not true. Since the role of the analyst firm is to uncover and report on new companies, new technologies and new solutions, they are eager to hear from companies with new ideas. They also want these companies to eventually subscribe so they will make efforts on the client’s behalf—to a point. Part of UPRAISE’s role is to navigate these engagements to secure as much free collaboration as possible.
It’s important to dive into an analyst relations program with eyes open. UPRAISE helps clients define very specific objectives and strategies prior to beginning engagement. But handled well, analyst coverage can be a useful facet of a client’s marketing and sales program.
If you have more questions about the value of building an analyst program, contact us!