As most tech marketers know, analyst relations are an important part of a 360 degree program. Analysts have their finger on the pulse of some of the most innovative technologies available today and their purpose is two-fold:
- Help companies position and brand their products through better understanding the competitive (vendor) landscape.
- Help to educate key decision makers (buyers!), investors and reporters on the best solutions and technologies out there. A favorable write up or ranking in an important industry report can really move the needle.
There is a wide variety of analyst firms out there – ranging from the giants like Gartner to one- or two-man boutique shops that focus on a very specific industry/industry segment. Either way, when analyst relations are done right, companies have the chance to differentiate themselves from competition, grow their presence within their industry and sell.
But depending on where a company is in its evolution, each has a unique value prop and can serve a purpose in a variety of different ways.
Don’t feel like your messaging is completely buttoned up? Start with a smaller firm that is more likely to provide feedback on your deck and presentation.
Want to make the most of an executive’s time spent on briefings? Many analysts (particularly those at tier 2 firms) also contribute to publications like Forbes and ZDNet (or write their own heavily trafficked blogs). A briefing with one of these folks could potentially result in additional coverage outside of research.
Have a slew of customer references and fit the qualifications for a major report like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant? Bring on the Tier 1s!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Building relationships with Tier 2 firms is a solid place to start any analyst relations program.
Tier 2: Specialized Boutiques
We get asked all the time by clients, “Why are these guys worth our time?”
In a word. Yes.
As mentioned previously these are the folks who often wear two hats – analyst and contributor/blogger. For instance, Jason Bloomberg is both an analyst for Intellyx – the digital transformation experts – and a Forbes contributor. Dan Kusnetzky is an analyst for the Kusnetzky Group – an IT focused firm – and previously a writer for ZDNet, Network World and Virtualization & Cloud Review.
Further, many smaller firms are hyper-focused on a specific industry, and while they may not have the following of some of the larger firms, they are read by the key decision makers within their particular concentration. Securosis is obviously focused on the cybersecurity space while Machina primarily researches IoT & Big Data. These guys are also usually up for an in-person meeting with your spokesperson if they need some extra love.
But the best part? You typically don’t have to pay exorbitant subscription fees to get their attention.
Either way, the best way to start an analyst relations program is to start. Send a few emails, put out some feelers. You’d be surprised at the amount of traction you can get with a little persistence (AKA friendly stalking).
Check out part 2 of this series (coming soon!) for a deep dive into what I like to refer to as “The Big 4” analyst firms in B2B tech!