Defining “Analyst Relations”

When you meet someone new in a social setting the topic often turns to “so where do you work? What do you do?”  Do you struggle with explaining Analyst Relations?

Many AR programs cannot give an “elevator pitch” on AR. You should have this available for not only those social settings, but also to explain your expertise to others in your company.  Here is a quick definition of AR that can be used when explaining what AR does:

“Analyst Relations takes advantage of the unique influence that the IT industry analysts have with our prospects and customers to help drive revenues. Analyst Relations works to influence analyst opinions regarding our company and our products to increase positive coverage in analyst research publications and analyst media quotes. Through briefings, inquiries, newsletters, AR portals, analyst firm events, and other tactics, we work to constantly maintain top-of-mind status with key analysts, so our company and products are frequently recommended by the analyst community.

As a corollary charter, Analyst Relations works with the sales organization to provide timely information regarding analyst opinions in research publications and commentary.  We also provide sales with analyst opinions regarding our key competitors.  Coupled with a strong outreach program to educate the sales team, this information can help to shorten sales cycles and reduce risk in critical opportunities.”

Bottom Line: OK, so that is a mouthful.  But can you describe your job function in any other way?  Take the time to develop and learn one or more “elevator pitches” you can use with friends, relatives, new acquaintances, and work colleagues.  

Question: What is your elevator pitch for AR?

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14 Responses

  1. One issue that I see is that the pitch assumes that someone even knows what an “IT industry analyst” is or does. This is certainly true in a social setting; I usually default to saying something like I do marketing and strategy IT consulting and write about these topics. Incomplete, but generally works as a rough approximation in that setting.

    However, it’s also my experience that a lot of folk at even larger companies have a fairly vague notion of what industry analysts do or, equally a problem, assume that all industry analysts do more or less the same sort of thing, have the same kind of clients, and so forth.

  2. Hi Gordon, Great comment.

    Hmm, need a definition of analyst then as a separate item but able to incorporate into the AR elevator pitch as a drill down point.

  3. On definition of an analyst – I find the following works well with those well outside the IT sector: “Financial analysts advise people (and businesses) what financial “products” and strategies to invest in: ISAs, Bonds, Mutual Funds, etc. Industry analysts advise businesses (and sometimes consumers) what technology products nd strategies to invest in to solve a particular business problem, a good example might be what software their employees should be running on their desktop and laptops, how to deploy and manage the software, when to upgrade, etc. Another simple example would be what accounting software to use – from the simplest (Excel and/or Sage) to the most complex (SAP, Oracle).

    This explanation doesn’t crack the whole nut, but it does give those who don’t have a clue (in my case my Granny) an idea of who industry analysts are and what they do. And Gordon’s right – you can’t describe AR without first explaining the target audience.

  4. Glad Gordon raised the point about defining an analyst first – pretty much impossible to do the AR definition without that, especially in social circles.

    The social one (which I would think would have to be very different from the one for internal use) could be as simple as: “I work with the people who are effectively professional experts on my company and its industry and make sure they have accurate information about my company so they have the best possible opinion of it.” The internal one could be more specific and would need to be longer but this wouldn’t actually be a bad starting point for that either…

  5. IMHO it’s totally dependent on the audience I’m talking to. Explaining AR to my parents is totally different than friends, particularly if they work in a business or tech field.

    For explaining analysts / AR to “civilian” audiences, I’ve found it best to start with concepts that are known, then build a bridge to the unknown or new.

    So for example if explaining AR to my parents or my friends, I often draw an analogy between security/financial analysts (which many folks know) who publish research/reports/recommendations on investments based on a company’s strategy, financials, outlook, products/tech, etc.

    Then I lever over from that to note that a class of business/technology analysts exists who learn about, evaluate and often recommend technology directions / influence end-customer & exec decisions regarding information technology and business goals.

    And then I say that I work with those folks in my specific area of focus (whatever it happens to be at the time).

    Of course, there are those industry analysts with significant proportions of their client bases in the financial and investment banking industry (i.e. TBRI, Dell’Oro Group, etc.).

    Then I make the point to my friends/family: where do you think that the Wall Street analysts & reporters get much of their insight and in-depth knowledge? Given that they just don’t have the time / desire / background often become deep technology experts? They often rely on the industry analysts as information sources and experts :)

    That closes the loop well.

  6. You need first indeed to define what an analyst is: someone who helps customer choosing technology solutions and, well, analyses the IT market.

    Either your audience heard of IDC, Gartner, Forrester, etc… or not.

    If not, I just say that my job is a cross section of public relations, marketing and sales: it’s about lobbying the influencers. Sounds sexier than in “real life” as would say my four year old, but people remember it at least.

  7. [...] wrote a nice one on Defining “Analyst Relations” (SageCircle Blog), see my comment below his [...]

  8. Carter, when we spoke recently for upcoming “Social AR” article (Dec.) you also shared a nice comparison of AR and PR. My raw notes, tweak if needed:

    “AR and PR are complementary because they deal with various market influencers (that link, i.e. analyst quotes in press articles, etc.). What distinguishes them has to do with their constituencies. Big difference is how each works. Analysts are advisors to buyers of technology. You wouldn’t call press and ask for upgrade advice; each has different functions and work methodologies. AR accommodates the needs of analysts’ research profiles, early and often. PR often focuses on facilitating current topics, prepping days or weeks before, whereas AR often works 18 months in advance of those big announcements.”

  9. I have alway gone with influence people that influence purchasing decisions. It has always worked for me.

  10. A CEO of a software company in Texas once told me; “Dean, your job is to get these folks (analysts) to write and say good things about us and our products so we can sell more software.”
    Then he added; “You have one job I would never want…”
    Is that job security?

  11. Here is another test– try explaining what you do to your 10-year old or your elderly parents. My daughter was very dissappointed when she finally realized I wasn’t really a fireman…

  12. In mixed company I start with the analogy that analyst firms are like Consumer Reports for technology buyers. Overly simple, but most can relate.

  13. [...] Develop a compelling “elevator pitch” for analyst [...]

  14. Seems a lot of folks have responded to the issue of how to explain what AR does…some great suggestions that I will try out down the pub tonight.

    However, one major component of the VALUE of AR could more be expliclty referred to in the (eventual!) definition. Absolutely agree that the “Push” element of what AR does is its primary charter ie: educating the analysts about what we do.

    But the what about the “Pull” element? That is, leveraging the analysts to enhance our sales and marketing efforts around the globe. Which also has a double whammy of educating the 000s of analysts outside the US. And therefore influencing sales – globally (considering 3/4 of the F2000 companies are based outside the US, this can be pretty impactful).

    International (in country) AR efforts focus primarily on this aspect – leaving corp AR to handle the product/industry element. Engaging analysts as a Trusted Sales Partner provides significant value to field sales and marketing: generating leads via analyst supported events, bringing in analysts as keynote speakers, validating/adapting local GTM strategies and sales planning around the globe, doing joint webcasts for key accounts, bringing in a positive analyst to speak to a sceptical customer…to name but a few. Not to mention the vital role of synthesizing feedback from influential country analysts around the globe back to corp AR and engineering/marketing groups.

    Worth a mention, no?

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