When meeting with industry analysts from firms such as IDC, Gartner, Parks Associates, Forrester, 451 Research, and Aberdeen, many executives often question the value of time and energy vested in securing and maintaining these relationships. While industry analysts may not write an article about a product’s features and performance for example, they do play a vital role in a strategic public relations program. It is important to know how industry analysts differ from the press and how you can make the most of these relationships, while tapping into their market intelligence on trends, issues and business development.
Making the Most of Market Watchers
Ideally, analysts should be introduced to your company and made aware of your offerings before contacting the press. This demonstrates that you value their role as market watchers and are giving them advance information as well as a look at your offerings before they are unveiled broadly to the public through the media. In return for providing an early look, you'll be able to gain valuable insights and test your story and messaging before a full roll-out. You can then refine your approach – if appropriate – and leverage the relationship you have developed with this analyst who has not only been briefed on your story, but has contributed to it in some way.
Be Prepared to Go Beyond Pitch Points
It is also important to understand what analyst research firms look for in a company briefing. In addition to business strategies, messaging and positioning relative to your market, competitors and customer expectations – they are also looking for your opinion and broader insight into your market and its current trends. They will be asking the hard questions, including those related to your business model such as pricing and channels. They will also make an assessment on where your company fits in – the market segment or category – and will determine the merits of your role in this segment.
Engaging in analyst briefings is much like conducting one-on-one focus groups with individuals who typically have deep experience in your market. The feedback from these meetings can be invaluable and can allow you to make important adjustments that will make your marketing efforts more successful. Analysts can be powerful allies and can go a long way to support your PR program by validating the needs of a particular market segment, and the impact of technology and products such as those you offer. Editors regularly contact industry analysts for their comments on specific companies as well as new technology or product trends.
Validate and Get the Word Out
Analyst research firms also publish special reports, market analysis overviews and other materials that can have great value to be included in. They also conduct workshops, consult buyers, blog and are frequent speakers at industry forums where they may cite your company or technology approach.
If you do not have a strong industry analyst relations program, it's time to begin enlisting the influence of these market watchers into your programs!