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What Tech Companies Need to Know
About This Powerful Influencer
Summary
The
Analyst
Conversation
Technology industry analysts are the “tastemakers” who define who and what
matters in technology product decision-making. Given their enormous but little-
understood impact on enterprise purchase evaluations, technology companies must
incorporate constructive and thoughtful analyst relations into the marketing mix.
Table of Contents
Introduction........................................................................................... 3
What analysts do................................................................................... 4
The analyst ecosystem.......................................................................... 5
Who are the analyst firms?.................................................................... 6
AR is not PR........................................................................................... 8
Analyst briefings as an art form............................................................ 9
AR questions for your agency partner................................................ 12
TM
2
TM
As a job title, “analyst” is a flexible one that means whatever a
particular industry or employer wants it to mean. Almost every
industry, from retail to insurance, has analyst coverage. A
healthcare analyst, for example, studies treatment outcomes, an
economic analyst pores over productivity metrics, and an
investment analyst issues Buy and Sell ratings on stocks. What
they have in common is an orientation to data-gathering,
trend-monitoring, and published insights based on their
conclusions.
This white paper is about technology analysts, whose principal
clients are buyers of technology products and services.
Any company whose business is creating those products and
services, whether corporate or consumer, needs to understand
technology analysts’ role in the overall marketing process.
Who are they? How do they view their job?
How do they reach their recommendations?
How do they exert influence—and how can you work with them to your
company’s advantage?
Introduction
3
Analysts (referring to tech analysts from this point on) provide
their clients with third-party perspective and opinion. They act as a
filter and reality check for clients, who ask them:
• Should we adopt this technology? Why or why not?
• Which vendors should be on our short list?
• How large will the market be next year? In five years?
• Which innovations are here to stay? Which are dead ends?
• What threats and surprises lie over the horizon, and which
products protect us?
To fully address this sort of question about a specific topic, an
analyst might spend weeks or months processing survey data,
interviewing senior executives, and inviting vendors to briefings.
With broad access to others’ qualitative expertise, as well as
primary quantitative research, an analyst rapidly becomes an
authority in the technology segment’s real-world use, drawbacks,
and potential.
At the conclusion of this investigative process, the analyst
typically authors a comprehensive report (and/or series of briefs,
speaking engagements, or other deliverables) that present his or
her findings, interpretations, and forecasts. In some cases, the
results are fashioned into a scorecard that graphically positions
companies on a competitor map; examples are Gartner’s Magic
Quadrant™ and The Forrester Wave™. For a favorably noted
company, a report can have a marketing shelf-life of more than a
year.
Once the report is released, the analyst will meet with individual
clients on a consulting basis; participate in industry events; write
“think pieces” or op-eds for publications; and otherwise promote
coverage of the research to attract new clients.
WHAT ANALYSTs DO
4TM
Although they are primarily accountable to paying clients, who
typically subscribe on an annual basis, analysts also act as
resources for journalists working on deadline. A well-placed quote in
a breaking news story enhances the analyst’s personal reputation
and promotes the firm’s “go-to” authority for current and
prospective clients.
Some of the firm’s clients are likely to be among the technology
vendors being studied and ranked, so conflict-of-interest issue can
arise. It’s in the research firm’s interest, however, to keep
evaluations honest and objective, because its brand depends on
independence and integrity.
The analyst ecosystem
The analyst’s influence derives from his or her position at the center
of an ecosystem of technology products, buyers, sellers, and media.
5TM
Technology research firms employ analysts who concentrate on
particular coverage areas. As the market evolves, so do the firms,
turning their attention to mobile payments and social media, for
example, as these have moved onto buyers’ radar. The analysts
themselves shift their focus over time to reflect these changes, as
well as shifts in their personal interests.
Hundreds of analyst firms, from one-person shops to “boutique”
operations to large, multinational organizations cover every
significant hardware, software, and services topic. The big
accounting firms also provide vendor-evaluation services to their
corporate clients.
It’s important to note that the Gartners and Forresters that
everyone’s familiar with may not be the most helpful strategically
for your products. The opinions of a small operation with a tight,
high-quality focus on your specific technology might be highly
appreciated by corporate buyers, and therefore a better place to
direct your AR efforts.
Keep that in mind as you view the following chart. It reports the
results of a Kea Company 2013 survey that asked AR professionals,
“Which analysts are most influential with journalists? With buyers?”
WHO ARE THE
ANALYST FIRMS?
6TM
TM 7
Analyst Influence, Kea Company 2013 Survey
Although both tech journalists and analysts can help get your
company’s message out to prospective buyers, they have different
work backgrounds, job roles, and expectations. From a marketer’s
perspective, analyst relations and public relations are
complementary activities, and both require careful cultivation.
AR IS NOT PR
8TM
Typical background
Depth of knowledge
Methodology
Product
Product self-life
Business model
Goals
Trade Press
Jounalism school
Light to moderate
WideScope of Coverage
Interview for background &
opinion quotes, press
releases, press conferences
News stories, features
Days or weeks
Advertising, subscriptions
Scoop other journalists, keep
readers informed
Industry experience
Heavy
Narrow
User surveys, CxO interviews,
vendor briefings, custom
research
Research reports, briefs,
speeches, webinars, consulting
projects
Months or years
Syndication, retainers,
consulting
Forecast market trends, guide
buyer decisions, feedback to
vendors
Analyst
TM
Over the course of a year, analyst attend dozens, sometimes hundreds,
of vendor briefings. Since this might be your company’s only face-to-face
contact with the analyst, it’s critical to make the most of the time.
Why analyst do briefings
Analysts are in the business of gathering market and product intelligence.
They use this information to:
• Form judgments about product potential, engineering teams, and
company leadership, both for publication and consulting
• Detect broader market trends and developments
• Compare and contrast firms; differentiate their approaches to
the same market; place companies within a competitive set
• Solidify forecasts
• Quantify customer ROI
• Gather successful implementation stories as proof points
• Suggest areas for additional research
• Provide informed consulting services to clients
Remember that every analyst wants to have impact—on the press, on the
direction of technology, on buying decisions, and on you. Call it vanity,
but analysts love to be asked their opinions, so leave time for an honest
discussion of pros and cons.
Briefing best practices
Most firms are understandably proud of their products, but a
briefing is not a sales call. For better or worse, analysts are allergic to
“messaging” and “positioning.” You have been warned!
Keep it simple. An ultra-slick presentation can be counter-productive
here, particularly if it ignores or underplays market dynamics that the
analyst will be familiar with. Keep “Death by PowerPoint” In mind.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Get the agenda, and preferably the slides (just
a handful, please) to the analyst a few days prior to the briefing. Then be
on time.
ANALYST BRIEFINGS
AS AN ART FORM
9
Understand who the analyst is. Prior to the briefing, have a clear
picture of the analyst’s coverage area, history, and publications. At
the start, quickly confirm the agenda, and do your best to make the
analyst appreciates that this is “insider” information.
Explain the customer need. What is the market’s dilemma? Why are
current approaches unsatisfactory or inadequate?
Describe your solution. What does it do and how is it different from
others? Why did you take this approach?
Tell the truth. Truth-telling is a good analyst’s stock-in-trade; that’s
what he or she is paid for. If you exaggerate or mislead, you’re
wasting everyone’s time, and the analyst will eventually find out,
anyway. If you want to get the most out of the analyst relationship,
each side has to trust the other.
Tell stories. Analysts are always on the lookout for “nuggets” that
substantiate his or her opinion. Real field examples, benchmarks,
and customer ROI are valuable raw material for the analyst. After
the briefing, the analyst can validate these with references you
provide.
Converse, don’t just present. If you’re talking the whole time,
you’re not learning anything new, and you have no opportunity to
correct any misunderstandings. As professional opinion-makers,
analyst aren’t shy about sharing their frank feedback, and their
criticism—though occasionally harsh—may help inform future
product direction.
Offer a single point of contact. As their research moves toward
publication, analysts will often have follow-up questions—about
counter-claims made by competitors, feature/benefit details, or
other issues. Make it straightforward and quick to get those
answers.
10TM
TM
What NOT to do during a briefing
Going into a briefing without adequate preparation can be disastrous
from a marketing standpoint. AR professionals say:
Don’t pitch. Analysts don’t want to be sold anything.
Don’t deliver a press briefing. See “AR is not PR,” on page 8.
Don’t overload the analyst. Focus on leaving him or her with a few
key, relevant takeaways, not the marketing playbook. Avoid
handouts.
Don’t ask, “What do you want to talk about?” You should already
know this.
Don’t say, “We have no competitors.” Even if true—rarely—the
analyst thinks in terms of competitive sets, not one-offs. If you
have no competitors, the market’s probably not worth pursuing.
Don’t cite quotes from other analyst firms. Analysts love to prove
other analysts wrong.
Don’t ask for leads. It’s the wrong venue.
Don’t suggest “pay for play.” Implying an analyst firm can be
“bought” is insulting. The reality is that small startups with limited
financial resources are often launched into orbit by favorable
coverage from analysts, who want to discover “the next big thing.”
By the same token, subscribing to a research service is no
guarantee of a high ranking—and you don’t have to be a subscriber
to earn an annual update briefing.
11
Large technology firms have full-time AR specialists. Their job is to
ensure that the relevant analysts are kept fully and consistently
informed about new products and changes in company strategy or
leadership. They also enable rapid analyst access to company
executives, regardless of location, and can arrange engineering
demos and customer referrals.
But where does that leave small and midsize companies?
One cost-effective way is to work with a media/marketing agency
that has deep AR expertise.
Some questions to ask an agency
Does the agency appreciate what’s unique about AR as opposed to PR?
Does every campaign incorporate both communications channels?
Is the agency familiar with the analyst landscape in different regions
(Europe, North America, Asia/Pacific)?
Does the agency work with specialized analyst firms, too?
Is the agency on a first-name basis with at least some leading analysts?
Does the agency maintain an analyst calendar that lists what research is
underway and when it will be published?
Does the agency run realistic briefing prep sessions?
Does the agency have client credentials to demonstrate customer
success?
AR QUESTIONS FOR
YOUR AGENCY PARTNER
12TM
TM
Atlanta
2300 Lakeview Parkway
Suite 700
Alpharetta
GA 30009
+1 678-916-3973
London
1 Northumberland Avenue
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5BW
United Kingdom
+44 2030 510408
www.mediafrenzyglobal.com
Media Frenzy Global’s passion for Engagement and
promotion goes beyond anything you’ve seen. We’ve
helped many tech companies create infectious
messages that fire up investors, press, bloggers,
analysts, customers and inspire them to spread the
word. Winner of the CIPR Digital Marketing award and
boasting a proud collection of customer references
including Motorola Solutions, Ingenico and Stratix
Corporation, Media Frenzy Global is the
real deal at branding, content creation, PR,
social and digital media, and analyst relations.
The analyst relations practice at Media Frenzy
Global is made up of ex-analysts, senior marketing
executives from leading tech companies and marketing
strategists. They are well known by the analyst
community in Europe and North America across a
wide range of tech markets. For further information
on how to influence the influencers, and get on the
analysts radar, please email:
info@mediafrenzyglobal.com.
Why
Media
Frenzy
GLobal?

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The Analyst Conversation

  • 1. What Tech Companies Need to Know About This Powerful Influencer Summary The Analyst Conversation Technology industry analysts are the “tastemakers” who define who and what matters in technology product decision-making. Given their enormous but little- understood impact on enterprise purchase evaluations, technology companies must incorporate constructive and thoughtful analyst relations into the marketing mix.
  • 2. Table of Contents Introduction........................................................................................... 3 What analysts do................................................................................... 4 The analyst ecosystem.......................................................................... 5 Who are the analyst firms?.................................................................... 6 AR is not PR........................................................................................... 8 Analyst briefings as an art form............................................................ 9 AR questions for your agency partner................................................ 12 TM 2
  • 3. TM As a job title, “analyst” is a flexible one that means whatever a particular industry or employer wants it to mean. Almost every industry, from retail to insurance, has analyst coverage. A healthcare analyst, for example, studies treatment outcomes, an economic analyst pores over productivity metrics, and an investment analyst issues Buy and Sell ratings on stocks. What they have in common is an orientation to data-gathering, trend-monitoring, and published insights based on their conclusions. This white paper is about technology analysts, whose principal clients are buyers of technology products and services. Any company whose business is creating those products and services, whether corporate or consumer, needs to understand technology analysts’ role in the overall marketing process. Who are they? How do they view their job? How do they reach their recommendations? How do they exert influence—and how can you work with them to your company’s advantage? Introduction 3
  • 4. Analysts (referring to tech analysts from this point on) provide their clients with third-party perspective and opinion. They act as a filter and reality check for clients, who ask them: • Should we adopt this technology? Why or why not? • Which vendors should be on our short list? • How large will the market be next year? In five years? • Which innovations are here to stay? Which are dead ends? • What threats and surprises lie over the horizon, and which products protect us? To fully address this sort of question about a specific topic, an analyst might spend weeks or months processing survey data, interviewing senior executives, and inviting vendors to briefings. With broad access to others’ qualitative expertise, as well as primary quantitative research, an analyst rapidly becomes an authority in the technology segment’s real-world use, drawbacks, and potential. At the conclusion of this investigative process, the analyst typically authors a comprehensive report (and/or series of briefs, speaking engagements, or other deliverables) that present his or her findings, interpretations, and forecasts. In some cases, the results are fashioned into a scorecard that graphically positions companies on a competitor map; examples are Gartner’s Magic Quadrant™ and The Forrester Wave™. For a favorably noted company, a report can have a marketing shelf-life of more than a year. Once the report is released, the analyst will meet with individual clients on a consulting basis; participate in industry events; write “think pieces” or op-eds for publications; and otherwise promote coverage of the research to attract new clients. WHAT ANALYSTs DO 4TM
  • 5. Although they are primarily accountable to paying clients, who typically subscribe on an annual basis, analysts also act as resources for journalists working on deadline. A well-placed quote in a breaking news story enhances the analyst’s personal reputation and promotes the firm’s “go-to” authority for current and prospective clients. Some of the firm’s clients are likely to be among the technology vendors being studied and ranked, so conflict-of-interest issue can arise. It’s in the research firm’s interest, however, to keep evaluations honest and objective, because its brand depends on independence and integrity. The analyst ecosystem The analyst’s influence derives from his or her position at the center of an ecosystem of technology products, buyers, sellers, and media. 5TM
  • 6. Technology research firms employ analysts who concentrate on particular coverage areas. As the market evolves, so do the firms, turning their attention to mobile payments and social media, for example, as these have moved onto buyers’ radar. The analysts themselves shift their focus over time to reflect these changes, as well as shifts in their personal interests. Hundreds of analyst firms, from one-person shops to “boutique” operations to large, multinational organizations cover every significant hardware, software, and services topic. The big accounting firms also provide vendor-evaluation services to their corporate clients. It’s important to note that the Gartners and Forresters that everyone’s familiar with may not be the most helpful strategically for your products. The opinions of a small operation with a tight, high-quality focus on your specific technology might be highly appreciated by corporate buyers, and therefore a better place to direct your AR efforts. Keep that in mind as you view the following chart. It reports the results of a Kea Company 2013 survey that asked AR professionals, “Which analysts are most influential with journalists? With buyers?” WHO ARE THE ANALYST FIRMS? 6TM
  • 7. TM 7 Analyst Influence, Kea Company 2013 Survey
  • 8. Although both tech journalists and analysts can help get your company’s message out to prospective buyers, they have different work backgrounds, job roles, and expectations. From a marketer’s perspective, analyst relations and public relations are complementary activities, and both require careful cultivation. AR IS NOT PR 8TM Typical background Depth of knowledge Methodology Product Product self-life Business model Goals Trade Press Jounalism school Light to moderate WideScope of Coverage Interview for background & opinion quotes, press releases, press conferences News stories, features Days or weeks Advertising, subscriptions Scoop other journalists, keep readers informed Industry experience Heavy Narrow User surveys, CxO interviews, vendor briefings, custom research Research reports, briefs, speeches, webinars, consulting projects Months or years Syndication, retainers, consulting Forecast market trends, guide buyer decisions, feedback to vendors Analyst
  • 9. TM Over the course of a year, analyst attend dozens, sometimes hundreds, of vendor briefings. Since this might be your company’s only face-to-face contact with the analyst, it’s critical to make the most of the time. Why analyst do briefings Analysts are in the business of gathering market and product intelligence. They use this information to: • Form judgments about product potential, engineering teams, and company leadership, both for publication and consulting • Detect broader market trends and developments • Compare and contrast firms; differentiate their approaches to the same market; place companies within a competitive set • Solidify forecasts • Quantify customer ROI • Gather successful implementation stories as proof points • Suggest areas for additional research • Provide informed consulting services to clients Remember that every analyst wants to have impact—on the press, on the direction of technology, on buying decisions, and on you. Call it vanity, but analysts love to be asked their opinions, so leave time for an honest discussion of pros and cons. Briefing best practices Most firms are understandably proud of their products, but a briefing is not a sales call. For better or worse, analysts are allergic to “messaging” and “positioning.” You have been warned! Keep it simple. An ultra-slick presentation can be counter-productive here, particularly if it ignores or underplays market dynamics that the analyst will be familiar with. Keep “Death by PowerPoint” In mind. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Get the agenda, and preferably the slides (just a handful, please) to the analyst a few days prior to the briefing. Then be on time. ANALYST BRIEFINGS AS AN ART FORM 9
  • 10. Understand who the analyst is. Prior to the briefing, have a clear picture of the analyst’s coverage area, history, and publications. At the start, quickly confirm the agenda, and do your best to make the analyst appreciates that this is “insider” information. Explain the customer need. What is the market’s dilemma? Why are current approaches unsatisfactory or inadequate? Describe your solution. What does it do and how is it different from others? Why did you take this approach? Tell the truth. Truth-telling is a good analyst’s stock-in-trade; that’s what he or she is paid for. If you exaggerate or mislead, you’re wasting everyone’s time, and the analyst will eventually find out, anyway. If you want to get the most out of the analyst relationship, each side has to trust the other. Tell stories. Analysts are always on the lookout for “nuggets” that substantiate his or her opinion. Real field examples, benchmarks, and customer ROI are valuable raw material for the analyst. After the briefing, the analyst can validate these with references you provide. Converse, don’t just present. If you’re talking the whole time, you’re not learning anything new, and you have no opportunity to correct any misunderstandings. As professional opinion-makers, analyst aren’t shy about sharing their frank feedback, and their criticism—though occasionally harsh—may help inform future product direction. Offer a single point of contact. As their research moves toward publication, analysts will often have follow-up questions—about counter-claims made by competitors, feature/benefit details, or other issues. Make it straightforward and quick to get those answers. 10TM
  • 11. TM What NOT to do during a briefing Going into a briefing without adequate preparation can be disastrous from a marketing standpoint. AR professionals say: Don’t pitch. Analysts don’t want to be sold anything. Don’t deliver a press briefing. See “AR is not PR,” on page 8. Don’t overload the analyst. Focus on leaving him or her with a few key, relevant takeaways, not the marketing playbook. Avoid handouts. Don’t ask, “What do you want to talk about?” You should already know this. Don’t say, “We have no competitors.” Even if true—rarely—the analyst thinks in terms of competitive sets, not one-offs. If you have no competitors, the market’s probably not worth pursuing. Don’t cite quotes from other analyst firms. Analysts love to prove other analysts wrong. Don’t ask for leads. It’s the wrong venue. Don’t suggest “pay for play.” Implying an analyst firm can be “bought” is insulting. The reality is that small startups with limited financial resources are often launched into orbit by favorable coverage from analysts, who want to discover “the next big thing.” By the same token, subscribing to a research service is no guarantee of a high ranking—and you don’t have to be a subscriber to earn an annual update briefing. 11
  • 12. Large technology firms have full-time AR specialists. Their job is to ensure that the relevant analysts are kept fully and consistently informed about new products and changes in company strategy or leadership. They also enable rapid analyst access to company executives, regardless of location, and can arrange engineering demos and customer referrals. But where does that leave small and midsize companies? One cost-effective way is to work with a media/marketing agency that has deep AR expertise. Some questions to ask an agency Does the agency appreciate what’s unique about AR as opposed to PR? Does every campaign incorporate both communications channels? Is the agency familiar with the analyst landscape in different regions (Europe, North America, Asia/Pacific)? Does the agency work with specialized analyst firms, too? Is the agency on a first-name basis with at least some leading analysts? Does the agency maintain an analyst calendar that lists what research is underway and when it will be published? Does the agency run realistic briefing prep sessions? Does the agency have client credentials to demonstrate customer success? AR QUESTIONS FOR YOUR AGENCY PARTNER 12TM
  • 13. TM Atlanta 2300 Lakeview Parkway Suite 700 Alpharetta GA 30009 +1 678-916-3973 London 1 Northumberland Avenue Trafalgar Square London WC2N 5BW United Kingdom +44 2030 510408 www.mediafrenzyglobal.com Media Frenzy Global’s passion for Engagement and promotion goes beyond anything you’ve seen. We’ve helped many tech companies create infectious messages that fire up investors, press, bloggers, analysts, customers and inspire them to spread the word. Winner of the CIPR Digital Marketing award and boasting a proud collection of customer references including Motorola Solutions, Ingenico and Stratix Corporation, Media Frenzy Global is the real deal at branding, content creation, PR, social and digital media, and analyst relations. The analyst relations practice at Media Frenzy Global is made up of ex-analysts, senior marketing executives from leading tech companies and marketing strategists. They are well known by the analyst community in Europe and North America across a wide range of tech markets. For further information on how to influence the influencers, and get on the analysts radar, please email: info@mediafrenzyglobal.com. Why Media Frenzy GLobal?