If you work with B2B tech companies, you’ve heard the term “analyst relations” (AR) or “industry analyst.” Analyst relations is an essential tool in the marketing and positioning of tech companies that is sometimes underutilized. An analyst relations strategic plan is intertwined with a robust media relations strategy and is used for communicating with industry analysts who work for independent research and consulting firms like Gartner, Forrester and IDC.
Industry analysts are unbiased experts and influencers that focus on one area of the tech industry. These analysts at consulting firms like Gartner, Forrester and IDC are highly influential due to their relationships with technology buyers and their expertise.
Though they’re well-versed in their specific market, analyst talk to and assess a number of vendors each day, which makes it difficult for them to truly know the ins-and-outs of each company. That’s why identifying influential analysts in your market and developing relationships with them just as you would a journalist, reporter or writer in your public relations strategy is key.
Analysts are well known for their expert advice, which is what makes them so influential. They publish data-driven reports that include research about companies and trends in their area of focus. According to the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, around 40% to 60% of all technology-purchasing decisions are influenced by analysts.
Businesses use these reports to choose vendors, and they ultimately shape the reputation and perception of the brand. The employment of market research analysts is projected to grow 18% from 2019 to 2029. Developing relationships with industry analysts and including an analyst relations strategic plan in your communications strategy is critical and can help differentiate your company against the competition by:
Companies defer to the knowledge and expertise of analysts when considering in investing in new technology, whether it’s through a direct consultation or research report. In fact, 2 out of 5 buying decisions in IT are directly influenced by analysts. Standing out against your competitor in an analyst report positively influences investors, ultimately securing more business.
As we mentioned earlier, industry analysts are unbiased experts in specific areas of the tech industry. They are dedicated to knowing the insights to different companies’ new products, updates and how it fits in with the marketplace trends. By requesting an inquiry, you can ask analysts for insight and feedback on product strategies based on the current market.
Having your own content program that positions your company as a thought leader can influence buyers to a significant degree. However, being validated by an analyst helps even more. Developing relationships with key analysts can boost your credibility with the public as journalist rely on analysts for expert commentary about market trends and companies. This increases your chance of being mentioned during a media interview, which can result in positive third-party validation. Continuing to nourish these relationships over the long term can result in high-value coverage in national business and trade publications.
So how do you get analysts from Gartner, Forrester or IDC to notice your tech company? Here are some key ways to build quality analyst relationships:
In larger analyst firms, multiple analysts cover the same area of focus. Unless you have teams dedicated solely to analyst relations, developing a relationship with all of them isn’t feasible. Similar to how you would research reporters and write a tailored pitch, be sure to research the ones who are most relevant to your business and start engaging with them. Take a look at each analyst’s reports written over the last year or two to gain insight on whether an analyst should be on your list of targets. Consider factors like base location, level of influence, coverage, number of inquiries and report readership.
Think of this in terms of public relations vs. advertising. The goal of your public relations campaign is to earn as much media coverage as possible; the same goes for analyst relations. Briefings are free while inquiries are paid activities that are usually included in the analyst firm’s subscription prices. Set a goal of one briefing per quarter, and a minimum of one inquiry per month.
Yes, analysts are experts in their field and area of focus, but they do not know everything. When approaching your analyst, be sure to share your experience, your observations of the market, competitor reactions and client feedback. Don’t just expect your analyst to lay it all out for you. Remember: A relationship is a two-way street.
After your briefing or inquiry, continue to stay in touch via email and social media. If the analyst included your company in a report, consider sending a thank you note as a way to keep the relationship ongoing.
Research demand by end-users from industry analysts continues to increase each day and raises the bar for analyst relations programs. Insufficient attention to analyst relations will have a negative effect on your ability to grow revenue and increase profits. Building quality relationships with industry analysts increase the chance of inclusion in a report, which can result in additional sales.
Looking to grow your analyst network for your B2B company? Contact us to learn more.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She has a deep passion for media relations, strategic PR and marketing campaign planning and content creation.