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Understanding Industry Analysts and What They Bring to Technology Companies

Welcome to this edition of B2B Marketing at its Core, an industry newsletter with news, nuggets, and information on best practices in business-to-business technology marketing and public relations. With it, we hope to share information vital to any organization looking to generate revenue and accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, messaging, branding, public relations and demand generation.

Understanding Industry Analysts and What They Bring to Tech Companies
When correctly engaged, analysts can play a major role in successfully bringing a product or solution to the marketplace. Analysts can help technology companies better understand complex markets, avoid costly mistakes, pinpoint competitive threats and evolve offerings to better match buyers' requirements.

Arketi recently spoke with Micky Long, research director in the Strategic Service Management Practice at the Aberdeen Group. He shared with us some industry insight for companies interested in building a successful industry analyst relations program.

How Analysts Help
Industry analysts' research is invaluable to technology firms seeking to determine how their products and solutions can be best positioned within highly competitive markets. Their insights and knowledge can help companies determine the market challenges and how to best overcome them. Digging down into offerings and solutions, the right analyst can become a valued member of a company's product strategy group, suggesting functionality needed to improve an offering’s chances of success.

According to Aberdeen’s Micky Long, this benchmarking and research helps corporate executives in three key ways:

  • Improving their competitive position and financial performance
  • Prioritizing improvement areas
  • Leveraging technology.
But he cautions that analysts walk a fine line between recommendation and endorsement. To retain their objectivity, analysts do not endorse specific companies or products, but they often will endorse the approach or model behind an offering. Long adds that analysts frequently work with companies to present their research to the marketplace as general industry trends, rather than as straight head-to-head comparisons among competitors.

How to Connect with an Analyst
Long says the best way to build an analyst relations program is to start from the ground up. Marketers should have a good grasp of their own product and service offerings, and how they differ from what is already available, before engaging with an analyst. With that baseline, companies should start by looking at several firms to understand the specific focus of each, before selecting one that aligns with the company’s needs.

A technology analyst, for example, will focus on the technology platform of a specific product or solution. Likewise, a marketing analyst will look at market sizing and other factors. When choosing a firm, talking with peers or other trusted advisors regarding their experiences with analyst firms is always a smart move.

How to Prepare to Meet with an Analyst
Companies need to understand whom they are scheduled to speak with once they begin seeking briefings with analysts. In addition to a polished, on-point presentation, it vital to ensure the right people are present for the briefing. For example, bring the CTO if the briefing is with a technology analyst; a CMO should present to a marketing analyst; and the CEO is always a good move when speaking with business or financial analysts.

Long offers the following tips when preparing for an analyst meeting:

Be Prepared: The presentation should deliver a specific, tailored message to the analyst. Rehearsal is a must. Talking off-the-cuff is not a wise move.

Be Timely: A meeting typically runs between 30 and 60 minutes. Rehearse and refine the presentation until it meets the analyst’s time constraints.

Focus on Quality: PowerPoints often do not go far enough. For a software product, screenshots deliver more insight. A demonstration, if possible, is the best way to present a product or solution.

Provide References: Validate the product or solution by encouraging the analyst to talk with customers who have used it. Without proof of concept, it is difficult for an analyst to conduct a thorough evaluation.

Be Honest: Share how the product or solution fits in the larger market, show exactly how it works and highlight what is new or different in your offering. Installations that did not go as planned are okay; analysts understand that no installation is perfect.

Analysts appreciate hearing about new product launches, significant customer wins, or if a product or solution is gaining traction. Providing analysts with a steady stream of news releases on relevant topics can help your company keep this important group of influencers in the know, and can spark valuable conversations.

Analysts have much to offer technology companies, but it is up to the company to have a presentation that is rehearsed, researched and anchored with customer experience if they want to capture analyst mindshare.

Understanding Industry Analysts and What They Bring to Tech Companies was developed to provide insight into working with analysts as part of an integrated marketing approach for B2B technology companies. If you have any questions, ask Arketi – we’re always glad to help. To hear more advice from Aberdeen Analyst Micky Long, check out Arketi’s podcast, the B2B Marketing Minute, for an interview with him at www.arketi.com/minute.

We created B2B Marketing at its Core with the goal of enhancing your marketing and PR practices. We hope you enjoyed this edition.

Sincerely,

Arketi Group
core@arketi.com

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