Why it’s time to create a winning analyst relations program
Open your marketing toolbox, and you’ll see a whole range of weaponry with which to conquer your market. From advertising and public relations to sales promotions and sponsorships, these tools are tried-and-proven elements of every selling effort.Many marketers - especially those in the tech arena and in retail, energy, education and healthcare verticals - are focusing not just on their target markets but also on the people influencing these markets. Key among these influencers are industry analysts - specialists in specific areas of technology and industry who have in-depth knowledge of the market, the market disruptors, and major vendors, as well as insights into real customer needs and current and future trends and connections with prospects, investors, and media.
Still debating whether to start a conversation with these analysts? Here’s a list of their critical roles in acquiring and retaining customers to convince you to make analyst relations a part of your marketing and corporate communications activities.
Industry analysts effectively serve as:
Third-party validator: Analysts combine in-depth market research, understanding of the environment, and analytical thought to validate strategies and test assumptions, keeping them agile and constantly informed. The information they share often offers important input to future marketing campaigns and serve as tools to refine or redefine digital marketing strategy.
Influencer: Analysts have the power to speak well (or ill) about your product or service, to support (or disregard) your brand. Their research often influences customers’ brand perception and their final purchasing decisions as well as persuades them to take action. In other words, analysts’ influence can impact your credibility, sales results, and bottom line.
Feedback provider: Analysts see your company from the outside in and can therefore provide unbiased feedback on your capabilities and offerings - valuable information that your company can use to adjust/improve your product or service, continually improve the customer experience, and stay in tune with customer needs and market demands.
Credibility booster: Top analyst group names like Forrester, Gartner, IDC and more - when stamped on your product or service - lend credibility with their reputation for trust, objectivity, independence, and quality. With such analysts backing your product message, customers, media, and investors are likely to listen and take it seriously.
Sounding board: Analysts who are regularly briefed by companies on products, offerings, or recent updates can serve as sounding boards for marketers to bounce ideas off of, to get feedback on how the analysts’ research findings can be applied to business strategy, and to receive expert opinion that can result in better decision making. (Generally, this is included in the engagement fee you may pay to the analyst group.)
New business and investor generator: Getting your product or brand included in an analyst report, while not so easy to achieve, lets you loom large among competitors and can serve as a great selling pitch for your sales team. Moreover, recognition by the analyst firm will surely catch the eye of potential customers and investors who will see you as a vendor to be considered.
So, should you add AR to your marketing and communications toolbox? Let’s put it this way: Your competitors are already doing it. Don’t delay the conversation. Industry analysts’ deep market knowledge and broad connections to the business community can only result in valuable insights for your business strategy.