By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.
In the new episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, I talked about a community of people that you may or may not be familiar with. These people are called analysts. Analysts play a key role in helping influence companies to decide on what to buy.
It may seem a role that’s a little bit murky but analysts are actually a well-established organisation around the world as they have their own Institute of International Influencer & Analyst Relations (IIAR). They are involved in creating reports and consultancy — and they make a really big difference as to whether or not people will buy products and services.
In fact, one view states that 48% of tech buyers make purchasing decisions based on analyst opinions. If you don’t know about analysts yet, I talked, in my podcast, about who they are, where they live, and where you can find them.
What is Analyst Relations
Analyst relations is a complement to media relations. Media relations tends to be about news and stories while analyst relations is a deep dive on a topic.
Analysts themselves are researchers often employed by banks or venture capitals, for example, to find out what’s happening in an industry. This will help them see who the players are and what the trends are to help people make educated decisions about more complex and sophisticated issues.
Not many people and companies engage in analyst relations. It’s quite a niche area. But considering that according to an IDG study, which states that 48% of tech buyers purchase based mainly on analyst opinions, you will realise that it’s a really important community for you if you are selling to other businesses.
An analyst relations person is someone who is, by definition from the IIAR website, a person, working individually or within a firm analysing and publishing research and/or opinions on products and services trends, adoption, market-fit, procurement, deployment and/or advising independently buyers and vendors on go-to-market strategies.
What happens is that analysts get access to companies in a way that journalists don’t. They are often taken deep into the organisation to explain, for example, the strategy and the technology behind a product or a service. Because these analysts are not publishing their reports publicly — they’re paid for reports — there’s less anxiety about the content reaching the open universe and getting mistaken or taken out of context.
As you can imagine, there’s quite a lot of them. Recently, there’s a report done by Duncan Chapple who is an analyst relations expert and worked with the University of Edinburgh and in an awards program for 2019. They did some great research and they found that research firms are asked for the following services:
Organise eventsDo research data (At 16%, data research is the majority of work given to analysts)Conduct advisory and strategy days for C-level executivesHelp get business leadsMake purchase recommendationsParticipate in peer communities
Research firms are also asked for reprint rights. For example, a company like Gartner makes a report (They have the Magic Quadrant on their homepage and everyone wants to be in the top-right hand corner of the quadrant, which shows that it’s a growth market and this is the leader in that market) and you want to see that on Zoom.
These reports that are written independently by researchers are often reprinted by those vendors or technology providers that have come out on top of those reports.
Why Leverage Analyst Relations
The analyst relations world is dominated by these groups: IDC, Gartner, Forrester, 451 Research, IHS Markit, and Ovum. What we see though is that they tend to appear in different categories. We know, for example, that IHS Markit is very good in the consumer market. In the second tier, there’s Frost & Sullivan is particularly good in telecommunications. Ovum is also strong in telco. In the third category, there are ABI Research, Analysys Mason, Canalys, and Informa.
You can notice that most of these are Western companies generating content out of Europe and America. But many of these bigger groups will have offices around the world. Gartner and Frost & Sullivan have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Sydney. So they can reach out around the world for news and information. But, more importantly, they look for facts. They look for real data and they create long-form reports.
Why is this important? If you have a new technology that you’re introducing — for example, Zoom — then you’ll want to reach out to analysts. It’s fine to go to the media, but you should also want to be seen by these analysts because as stated, 48% of all technology purchasing takes place through recommendations from analysts. So you’d want to really make sure that you’re talking to these analysts.
Analysts will talk to a technology provider and they will ingest and take on board all of your facts and features. If you’ve got more budget, then you can commission them to actually write a report.
The other thing is that these large-scale companies will also organise awards. If you want to work with someone like Frost & Sullivan and they will organise an award. Working with you, they will structure an award and a process and even let you sponsor an award in an industry category and get some halo effect from that. You can participate in the judging and in the awarding ceremony itself.
They’re also going a little bit mainstream. We’ve got not only analysts relations on the business-to-business side but we’ve also got, for example, Gartner Peer Insights. As I’ve mentioned, Gartner is one of the largest research firms and their Peer Insights is almost like a Trustpilot category. They also have Zoom Meetings Ratings and Reviews.
What’s happening is that these big research houses are starting to collate user-generated data. Ideally, you’d want to be on their radar so that your technology could start to be part of their recommendations and research reports.
Obviously, research reports are not for anybody and everybody will have a certain scale. However, analysts and analyst firms produce great content; they are a great place for people to go to and help make some decisions about what they’re buying. Also, you’d want to see if you can try and get on the radar screen with one, two, three, or even all of these analyst relations. You can find these analysts on www.analystrelations.org. You can go there and get all the details of where all the analyst relations firms are.
The cost of working with them is obviously not cheap. But, on the other hand, you’re getting the authority — and this is really what analyst relations are trying to do and create. While the media relations work has become much more of a social media- and content-driven one, analyst relations is the academic side of public relations.
If you’re in tech or in some other niches like construction or government, you can find those analysts, reach out to them, and start to get them to know your company. See if you can have them start to include you in their research and even have you as one of their subject matter experts (because this is also how they reach out and find more data).
Analyst relations is a key part of any overall public relations strategy. We don’t mention it much because it tends to be a bit of a niche but I’m currently doing some work for a client and bumped into an old friend in an AR firm and realised that it’s an area that we haven’t covered enough.
You should check out analyst relations, reach out to tier-one, tier-two, or tier-three firms, and find out what analyst relations could mean for your business.
The key message of my latest podcast episode is that there are influencers out there. And according to research, 48% of all tech purchases are made due to the reports written by analysts. I’m certain that that number is also the same for other industries like medical or finance.
There are analysts in all these different verticals. So if you’re in one of these verticals and you want to increase your credibility or authority, find a way to get into the analysts and into their reports; find a way to have them play a part and help you position your company as one of the top-right-corner-quadrant companies in your industry.
This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.