What do PR agencies bring to the table for AR?

At the inaugural meeting a couple weeks ago of what is hoped to become the Silicon Valley chapter of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR, website, blog), I ran into Anne-miek Hamelinck, VP of Waggener Edstrom’s AR practice. I asked Anne-miek what she thought PR agencies brought to the table in terms of AR. Here is her answer.

How serious is the PR pro at an agency about AR? Check the Twitter follows.

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn Killer questions to ask PR agencies to see if they are AR pretenders or contenders, we provided a technique to help determine whether a PR agency that is bidding for a vendor’s analyst relations (AR) business truly understands the analysts and AR. There might be another technique that could potentially – but only potentially – provide another interesting insight into the dedication to real AR. 

      Do they follow more analysts and AR than media and PR on Twitter?

This is only a potentially interesting insight because adoption of Twitter by analysts and AR professionals is still at a nascent stage. If an agency staff member is not following many analysts and AR pros on Twitter it could mean Continue reading

Do you really want PR to own social media for your company?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgInteresting post by Jason Falls on his Social Media Explorer blog: Social Media Is The Responsibility Of Public Relations.

Oh, really?

SageCircle believes that PR and AR – and other outbound communications functions – have different goals and techniques and each needs to address their tactics to their unique audiences.  This means that AR needs to voice its opinion and support its own needs regarding company policies.

While there is plenty to debate on this issue (e.g., Where does Social Media live in the organization?), the purpose of this post is to encourage analyst relations (AR) teams be active participants in internal discussions about the role of social media in their companies.

SageCircle Technique

  • Educate yourself about social media
  • Determine what role social media will play in AR activities in the near and Continue reading

How closely does AR, PR and Sales have to coordinate?

Here is an interesting comment (click to enlarge) that might portend a problem for technology vendors in the near future:

This reminds me of the discussions in the mid-90’s around the then nascent market category of customer relattionship management (CRM). One of the perceived benefits of CRM was that it would provide companies a single view of the customer that would make life easier for the customer and provide business value to the company. But there was also huge disagreements over who would “own” the customer: customer service, marketing or sales.

Today, people are starting to play multiple roles as customers, influencers, collaborators and Continue reading

Killer questions to ask PR agencies to see if they are AR pretenders or contenders

icon-the-press-110w.jpgThere are many drawbacks to using PR agencies to conduct analyst relations – not the least that most analysts hate dealing with agency staff.  Sometimes, however, communications and IT vendors have no choice but to farm out some analyst-related activities. To minimize the chance of agency staff causing problems with the analysts, vendors need to carefully evaluate whether or not a PR agency is actually competent in analyst relations before hiring them.

A technique SageCircle has developed is asking a series of questions in the form of scenarios about AR situations. The responses to the scenarios can then be graded for compliance with AR best practices and insights as to how the analysts work. As always, it is important to weight the questions because some will be more important than others. In addition, it is critical that a standard evaluation framework be established so that responses from different agencies will be graded consistently.

The killer questions should not just be asked of the agency’s senior executive that is trying to win the business, but also the staff that will actually be doing the work.  Reluctance by the agency to introduce you to the staff should raise red flags about the breadth and depth of AR expertise in the firm.

The first killer question to ask the PR agency rainmaker and staff is Continue reading

An analyst has some advice for PR agencies

Redmonk’s Stephen O’Grady in Bad PR – The Bane of My Existence: Seven Suggestions for PR Workers has some practical advice for PR professionals at agencies. Here are his seven suggestions (details in the post):

  1. Analysts Are Not Press: Don’t Treat Them as if They Are
  2. Caller ID Works: Don’t Just Keep Calling, and Calling, and Calling
  3. Personalization: Don’t Address Your Notes “Dear Blogger”
  4. Press Releases: Don’t Use it as Continue reading

Why AR is more important than PR for a Startup [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgResearch by SageCircle, H&K (in multiple Technology Influencer Studies conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates), Lighthouse AR and other AR advisory groups has consistently shown that the most significant influence on purchases is peer recommendation and personal contacts.  Second is industry analyst opinion, which leads all other influence including advertising and PR.  For a startup attempting to break into an existing market or carve out a new market space this is critical information.

For a startup, traditional PR is certainly important and should not be ignored, but allocation of resources to AR can provide a higher ROI.  Press is very transient and even an outstanding article or mention does not have staying power over the long run if it gets buried in the clutter of a Google search.  Analyst reports have a much longer shelf life and may be referred to months after they are published as a relevant research note is more likely to surface during a research search on the analyst firm website.  Good research consumers will then contact the analyst firm for an update or discuss the report during an inquiry.

Industry analysts also convey information at industry events, act as sources for reporters, and can even have influence on Wall Street.  It is therefore critical that they are Continue reading

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