Recessions typically change technology and telecommunications vendors’ priorities and activities. One of the most common changes is to cut back on marketing, especially brand building and other “fluffy” activities, to reduce expenses. At the same time, there is more emphasis on selling, especially for those vendors that sell direct to large enterprises. Another change is to focus on core markets and reduce effort in secondary markets. There are several dangers for analyst relations (AR) programs in economic downturns:
- AR is associated with “fluffy” marketing and subject to headcount and budget cuts
- AR is not closely associated with driving revenues
- AR’s priorities become out-of-sync with new corporate or business unit priorities
- AR is executing its original plan (or typical activities if there was no plan)
- AR is reporting metrics that do not seem relevant to executives
If AR is to avoid been the target of budget and headcount cuts is it critical to ensure that it is aligned with corporate priorities and demonstrating positive economic contributions. While this seems obvious, too many AR programs are so caught up in reactive mode or simply doing normal day-to-day tasks that they don’t see the danger forming. As a consequence, these programs have a greater likelihood of getting cut than those AR managers and teams that proactively or preemptively move to change their focus.
When AR programs are considering what has to change during a recession they should remember to work and spend differently. Only doing one is not enough. SageCircle has published or will be publishing a series of posts addressing a variety of recession-oriented topics (see lists below).
- AR should do a zero-based rethink of its priorities and activities to match changing corporate priorities
- AR needs to ruthlessly focus on those activities that make an economic impact
- AR should completely rethink of its measurement and reporting program to emphasize impact on sales
- AR has to shamelessly market its contributions to its executive sponsors
- AR should develop a regular program to revisit priorities and activities because recessions can cause enterprises to change their corporate goals
Bottom Line: Recessions are never pleasant experiences. However, AR managers that refocus their efforts can minimize the negative impact to their programs.
Question: How are you working and spending differently in this recession?
How AR needs to work differently in a recession:
- AR & recession – It’s about refocusing priorities and activities (overview)
- AR & recession – briefings need to focus on customers and fast business results
- AR & recession – telling stories of AR delivering business value to the company
- AR & recession – refocusing metrics to emphasize outcomes not activities
- AR & recession – revisiting analyst lists and service level agreements
How AR needs to spend differently in a recession:
- Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession
- Budgeting cutting can help AR focus and innovate
- Budget cutting part two – Alternate solutions for analyst contracts
- Notes on managing your budget in a recession – SageCircle’s Coffee Talk notes
- AR & recession spending – re-considering analyst contract priorities
- AR & recession spending – determining what out-tasked activities to bring in-house, if any
Purchasing analyst services best practices are more critical in a recession:
- Using five rights to avoid a wrong when it comes to purchasing Gartner or Forrester services
- Right reasons – Evaluate why you are purchasing analyst services
- Right services – Align the services you buy to better match the reason for info or advice
- Right firms – Search out alternative services providers that better match your reasons
- Right price – Acquire those services that meet your basics requirements
- Right usage – Drive usage of the services you buy to ensure maximize business value
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