This is a post that will no doubt irritate my PR friends, but the answer to the question about whether startups should use PR agencies for AR is “only for the boring stuff.” By boring, I mean interaction logistics and basic information dissemination. However, when it comes to building the relationship and developing credibility with the IT analysts, then the startup’s smartest people need to roll up their sleeves and own these aspects.
If you look at what the analysts and SageCircle said in
the best “currencies” that a startup has to spend with the IT industry analysts are their unique insights into an emerging market and passion. For all their smarts, PR agency staff will never have the depth of information and insights that someone who is living and breathing the technology, go-to-market battles and customer conversations like an executive at a startup. Nor will a PR agency account manager have the passion of someone who wakes up at 2 am with an “ah ha!” like the folks at startups. Until the Vulcan Mind Meld is perfected by Terrans, which is unlikely, then startups should avoid using PR agencies as their prime spokesperson with analysts and owners of the relationships.
That is not to say that PR agencies should not be used by startups for AR. In fact, an agency with true AR expertise – which is the exception and not the rule – can provide valuable work for their startup client. There is a lot of labor intensive work associated with AR that agencies can handle, such as setting up briefings and Deep Dives.
Bottom Line: Startups should carefully use PR agencies for a select set of activities when it comes to analyst relations. Executives need to own relationships and be the primary spokespeople, while allocating logistics to agencies.
Analysts – What do you think is the proper role for PR agencies in terms of handling a startup’s AR activities?
Startups – Have you been satisfied with the quality of the AR activity that your PR agency has provided?
PR agencies – Do you think this analysis is fair?
Startups, are you wondering if your AR strategy and tactics are really being effective? SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:
- Review your influencer strategy
- Critique you AR plan
- Evaluate your analyst list
- Recommend how you build an AR program that leverages PR agencies effectively
If you need advice about how to build your AR program and other issues, check out SageCircle’s two-hour and five-hour advisory paks or Annual Advisory Service. The advisory paks are easy to setup and pay for via credit card. To learn more contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.