Who do you want telling your story, you or your competitors?

We recently came across a useful reminder in a blog post by a Forrester analyst:

“… <vendor> surprised many software industry veterans this morning with its acquisition of <vendor>. Why?  Well, <vendor>’s competitors have been spreading FUD that the company was out of cash, the company was in severe debt, and the company could not execute any more acquisitions. …” 

Of course you are shocked, SHOCKED!, that a vendor’s competitors would be whispering FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in the ear of an analyst. Alas, while this not a common tactic because most vendors recognize the potential for blowback, it does happen often enough that analyst relations (AR) professionals should factor this into their plans.

Competitor FUD is most effective when the targeted vendor does not interact with analysts sufficiently to get their own messages and facts across. This is one of the reasons why SageCircle recommends that AR teams interact with their most relevant analysts early and often. Unfortunately, some vendors do not interact with vendors sufficiently due to either under investment in AR or poor AR practices. These companies need to recognize that insufficient AR means that they are potentially ceding the telling of their story to their competitors.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Periodically set up client inquiries to ask your top analysts about what they are hearing “from the marketplace” about your company
  • Periodically review your interactions database (see You need a strong ARM to help you lift your AR program) to ensure that you are interacting with each tier of analyst at the appropriate frequency
  • Schedule interactions with those analysts where you have not had sufficiently recent interactions
  • Monitor your key analysts as to their research, blogs, and tweets using social media tools and analyst web site alerts

Bottom Line: The best approach to prevent competitor FUD from working is to make sure that you are telling your story in a timely and interesting manner. Small, but frequent, interactions with your key analysts are critical.

Question: AR and analysts – Do you think that spreading FUD about competitors is an appropriate tool for vendors?

Are you uncertain about how early and often to interact with analysts? SageCircle can help – Our strategists can:

  • Review your interaction 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 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.

One comment

  1. The unspoken assumption here is that analysts only get their information from vendors–and that’s a bad assumption, at least in the case of Burton Group, which gets 85% of its revenue from end-user enterprises. I’m not even sure analysts at vendor-centric firms (e.g., getting 90% of their revenue from vendors) fall into this trap, what with Twitter, blogs, community forums, etc. I certainly get a lot of feedback from enterprise clients who will tell me things such as, “Vendor A has gotten a lot more agressive on pricing” or “Every Vendor A sales rep we’ve dealt with is a jerk.”

    Because of knowledge coming to me from multiple channels, when Vendor A disses Vendor B, I map it to what I already know. If it confirms what I know, that’s interesting. If it doesn’t–if it’s clearly spin trying to bring a competitor down–that tells me that Vendor A is either (1) really scared of Vendor B or (2) clueless about market realities. In short, FUD often tells me more about the rumor monger than the target.

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