Lessons in Analyst Relations

I’ve had the fortune of working as an Industry Analyst for more than a decade now. One of the interesting aspects of the job is dealing with the various analyst relations folks at different vendors over the years. Most are great and hardworking professionals. There are a few bozos out there too. What really separates the effective ones from the non-effective ones is how they approach the job.

1. AR is not the same as PR. Often, AR is handed off to PR folks and some folks have a problem seeing the difference the between the two. Understanding what analyst needs are is a big part in getting things right. Remember, we’re not here to report a story or get it first. We’re here to make sure we get it right and understand what an event means in context of many other things.

2. Analysts, Trade Journalists and Bloggers are similar but not necessarily the same. I’m analyst, I also blog and write a column for Computerworld. They’re all activities that are similar but they’re not the same. I have different needs when wearing each hat. Good AR folks know this and understand the differences. If you’re not sure, feel free to give me a call.

3. Know Your Analyst and Know The Analyst’s Firm. Every analyst is different. So is every firm. By definition, some firms like to create adversarial relationships with vendors as it’s in their best interest to do so. (we’re not one of them). Understand who the analyst is and what topics they cover is also really important. I used to cover a lot of enterprise IT stuff, I don’t cover that topic any more so briefing me is a waste of time. On the other hand, if you’re doing something in consumer or personal technology and we haven’t spoken, that’s not a good thing.

4. Financial Analysts aren’t the same as Industry Analysts. See above. While we care about numbers, we don’t care about them in the same way as the Wall Street folks do. Don’t confuse the two jobs.

5. Provide A Single Point of Contact Where Possible. This seems basic, after all a good part of succesful AR is about relationships. One of the best companies I have worked with over the years has a head of PR that keeps all of AR in house. They also have a dedicated point of contact for each analyst. There’s someone I know I can call anytime to get an answer about something or to deal with any issue. If that person is out, I always know who is covering. By contrast, other firms I know outsources AR to PR agencies, oftentimes, different products  get different AR folks and those folks can easily shift to different roles over the course of the year. Even worse is when in-house AR folks and outsourced AR folks seem at odds with each other. 

Most of the AR folks I have the pleasure of working with are fantastic, they’re hard working and whether they’re part of the in house team our outsourced do really get it. There’s an art to establishing analyst relations and if you’re not getting in front of the folks you need to, give me a call and I’ll give you a crash course.

3 responses to “Lessons in Analyst Relations

  1. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for take the time to write this post. I hope you don’t regret the generous offer at the end!

    One point I’d especially press home is that analysts who wrote about something last year might not write about it this year. Part of our work at Lighthouse is helping vendors to keep track of analysts. Many firms feel anxious about asking analysts what their future research plans are. They feel that analysts will feel it disrespectful if vendors don’t clearly understand their future research priorities. Why it certainly is better to understand analysts’ approaches and interests, our experience over the years has been that analysts are overwhelmingly helpful when steering vendors’ spokespeople towards the right person at their firm.

    Thanks again,

    Duncan Chapple.

  2. Michael,

    One of the challenges for me when I have recruited for Analyst Relations candidates in the past especially at the entry level is trying to explain AR. These are great pointers and give me some interesting thoughts on how to screen for AR candidates in the future.


  3. Hi Michael
    I am an analyst relations man that was laid off due toe conomic down turn and I am trying to get my resume out there to get exposure I am also an Project Manager in IT projects and I implement ERP solutionsd and have managed SLA vendor contracts any ideas on where to look or where I can blog to get my name out there so I can get back to work.

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