Too often, communications and IT vendors wait until a few weeks prior to a major announcement to brief the analysts. This is a problematic practice for a number of reasons which we will investigate in future posts. Perhaps the most important is that the advisory analysts are talking continuously to many people that fill many roles. When analyst relations (AR) teams are not involving the analysts early and often, the vendor is missing the opportunity to influence all these other people.Advisory analysts (i.e., analyst firms where enterprise IT managers are a major part of their client base) talk or interact with IT executives, IT buyers, financial analysts, reporters, vendors, bloggers and others. Concurrently, the analysts are preparing and giving speeches, writing research, conducting teleconferences and so on. All of these activities are intertwined and occur frequently (click on the graphic to enlarge). Without information from the vendor, analysts will not be able to appropriately inform the various constituencies. Sometimes you do not want the analyst to explicitly give out your information, but you want them to give general guidance to a constituency. For example, you might not want an analyst to give out your product roadmap to your customers and prospects. But you do want the analyst to counsel IT executives to budget a certain amount of money for the 2nd half of next year because there will be some interesting product releases that are relevant to this client. The analyst can be coy about which vendors and what products, which they love to do because it shows they are in the know. The IT executives understand the game and appreciate even purposefully vague intelligence because it does contribute to planning and budgeting exercises.
Some vendor executives argue against early involvement of the analysts because they do not want their confidential plans leaked to the marketplace. Our experience shows most analysts can be trusted with confidential information due to their reputation, as long as the AR team shows diligence in specifying what is and is not sensitive data.
- Periodically review your analyst list(s) to ensure it is up-to-date
- Periodically review your interactions database (see You need a strong ARM to help you lift your ARprogram) to ensure that you are interacting with each tier of analyst at the appropriate frequency
- Be sure you have a standard process for all AR team members regarding sensitive information
- Schedule interactions with those analysts where you have not had sufficiently recent interactions
Bottom Line: The advisory analysts are often talking to your prime audiences, especially IT executives. Do not miss the opportunity to influence these audiences by keeping the analysts in the dark about your plans. Cultivate an “early and often” attitude that provides trusted analysts with non-disclosure information with nuanced guidance about how the information can and cannot be used.
Question: Analysts – Have you ever wished that a vendor had come to you earlier with information because you had recently been advising an IT executive who could have used that information?
Are you uncertain about how early to get analysts involved? SageCircle can help – Our strategists can:
- Review your briefing plans to determine whether you are interacting with analysts at the appropriate times and frequency
- Discuss best practices for sharing early information with analysts
Visit http://www.sagecircle.com/ and click on Advisory to learn more about SageCircle’s on-demand phone advisory services. Or, call 650-274-8309 to speak with a representative about how SageCircle can help you take your AR program to the next level.
Filed under: AR best practices