December 9th, 2016
Many of our technology and telecom clients engage with industry analyst firms such as Gartner, Forrester Research, 451 Research and Aberdeen Group as part of their overall marketing and public relations strategy. These firms help validate go-to-market strategy, messaging, positioning, and market trends; they also publish all types of research reports.
Industry analysts are frequently called upon by the media for perspective, market analysis, and commentary, making them an important component of the public relations process. Getting on their radar can make an immediate impact so be sure to maximize your time during the briefing process.
We have helped coordinate hundreds of analyst briefings over the years. Here are a few tips to make sure you are prepared:
Similar to reporters, analysts specialize in a specific technology or market sector. Most have worked in the private sector and have a depth of experience implementing the technologies they cover. In advance of your briefing, review the types of reports the analyst has published. Seek out articles she or he may have been quoted in. This will allow you to tune your presentation to their interest. Your team can easily find this information online; we provide our clients with a briefing document that includes the analyst’s bio, recent research, and talking points.
Put together a brief PowerPoint presentation that offers an overview of your company and keep the pitch deck to 30 minutes or less. Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint offers a great reference to keep your presentation tight. The content should focus on the problem you solve and how you offer a unique approach to solve it. Briefings are typically an hour so you want to leave ample time for Q&A. Speaking of Q&A, analyst briefings should be two-way conversations; be prepared to ask a few questions, perhaps to validate business assumptions or market assessment.
Briefings may involve more than one analyst. While you may have a few executives on the call it is important that one person is leading the presentation. It is best to have a primary storyteller/spokesperson to drive the discussion and interact with the analyst(s). The other members of the team can listen and offer support as needed. Otherwise too many people talking may detract from the conversation.
When speaking to a reporter or analyst, while you may do the bulk of the talking, it is important to listen. Analysts will ask a range of questions and probe; be sure to address them succinctly and if you don’t have an answer, perhaps to a technical question, defer to one of your colleagues on the call or make a note to follow-up. Listening and addressing questions allows you to build rapport with the analysts and provides an opportunity to offer in-the-trenches perspective she or he can cite in a future research report. Like any conversation, the power to listen allows you to engage and connect on a personal level and build relationships.
Once you established a connection with the key analysts that cover your technology or market, stay in touch when you have new developments, such as a major product launch, customer win or partnership. Send a brief email or link to a press release or blog post. You should also make it a point to connect on the phone at least twice a year.
Analysts are an instrumental part of the marketing and public relations ecosystem. Staying in front of them will allow you to garner helpful feedback that can be used to fine-tune your business strategy and industry connections.