Having an analyst relations (AR) program as part of your overall PR strategy can pay dividends to the success of your company. There are of course several types of analysts who cover markets but for the sake of this blog post we're talking specifically about IT analysts. It should also be noted that developing an AR program might entail simply having a meeting and building relationships based on a common business interest, or it might involve hiring an analyst firm.
With that being said, let's take a look at the seven main reasons to engage and reach out to the analyst community.
1. Analysts Influence.</strong> Their opinions are valued by media, clients, investors, and thought leaders. Making connections with these key industry influencers is smart business networking.
2. Analysts Report. Analysts write reports and newsletters, publish blogs, produce reports, or create podcasts to distribute for others to listen, watch, or read.
3. Analysts Speak. Analysts are often called upon to speak at expositions, trade shows, and seminars (some firms host or co-host their own events). They sometimes headline an event or join a panel discussion, and when these talks take place, they might rely on the people and companies they've met along the way as part of their presentation.
4. Analysts Refer. Analysts have clients who are looking for input, advice, and consultation, and it's possible that those clients might just be your next customer or partner...even more so, if they've heard good things about you from a trusted analyst.
5. Analysts Critique. Having been in numerous analysts briefings I can write firsthand that analysts are not afraid to critique a message, position, or business strategy. This feedback is valuable information for executives to hear and an excellent way to test a message and strategy before taking them to market.
6. Analysts Engage. It's also a good idea to have a couple of questions to ask analysts during the briefing and to interact with them on concerns or uncertainties you might have about your domain, market, and industry.
7. Analysts Produce. After developing a relationship with an analyst and their firm, a high-tech company might decide to hire them for a project (such as a position paper) or for a longer term engagement to collaborate with them on upcoming endeavors and ongoing strategy.
Analysts and analysts firms provide several other opportunities for companies as well; for instance, many have their own industry awards. Depending on their policy and depending on the relationship (paid or unpaid) they might provide a quote or testimonial for PR and marketing or they might be a reference for media and other business opportunities.
The key, based on the seven factors above, is to develop a targeted AR program and to have that as your overall PR and communication program.