One thing I have repeatedly heard over the years from prospective clients considering Analyst Relations programmes – sing it with me, AR pros – is: “I want my company to be featured in X analyst report.” I know, I know, complete shocker, right? To me, the fact that this is almost always the key priority, and I stress that it really is almost every single occasion, with few exceptions, highlights a misunderstanding of the value an Analyst Relations programme can provide when treated as a strategic business function rather than simply a marketing function.

It’s not your fault

Quite often the responsibility of leading an AR programme is handed to someone in marketing, who then has to find a way to balance this with traditional marketing and PR functions. As a result, it’s no surprise the AR is often thought of in a similar vein.

It’s also important to caveat that of course being mentioned in analyst reports can work wonders for your company. Prospective customers are likely to consult analyst research when shortlisting potential vendors and technology solutions, so yes, it is certainly important to get on an analyst’s radar if you think your business offers a product or solution that would be relevant to said analyst’s research. However, an AR programme will not guarantee your company’s inclusion in a report. To assume this is the case is to misunderstand the entire process. No analyst will put your company in their report just because you suggested it. The quality of your product will ultimately be what determines its place in a report.

It’s also almost impossible to use this metric as a measurement of success for an AR programme and is also uninformative. Purchasing every single piece of analyst research in the market that might mention your company would be a rather expensive endeavour, so trying to track your mentions in reports as key performance indicators is ineffective.

This method also doesn’t take into account sentiment. Say an analyst’s research involves tracking a particular market leader. That analyst might have a low opinion of said market leader and still have to include it in every relevant report authored purely because of its relevance to the research, therefore benchmarking the volume of these mentions in an AR programme would not accurately indicate the success of that programme.

So what should your attitude be to AR and how will you measure its success? 

To get best value from an AR programme, you should consider it a long term strategic business function that does not confine itself to the marketing value chain, instead delivering value across the board to product development, partner/customer interactions, pricing policies, sales enablement and more, as well as the benefit to marketing and PR.

In order to then measure the success of your AR programme you should not be trying to track the volume of mentions in reports. Instead, you should target specific analysts and measure your engagement with them. Those that cover research topics in which your business is a key player should be the ones you’re trying to engage on a regular basis. Measurements can then track how impactful each analyst is to your sales pipeline i.e. which analyst reports are helping/hindering deals. When tracking mentions in reports, the key priority should be making sure your company is accurately represented. Does the report accurately reflect the strengths of that product or portfolio? Are the weaknesses called out fair? Have you then taken that feedback on board and passed it to R&D and product teams to address this for future?

Ultimately, getting feedback from your target analysts is often the best way to measure success. A simple survey that checks whether the analysts feel well informed about your business and its strategy will likely tell you more than trying to read between the lines of every single report.

If you want to really get the most from analyst engagement, treat analysts as your strategic partners. Leverage their knowledge to shape messaging, understand market gaps and potential growth areas for your business. This constant engagement will keep you top of mind and will result in accurate representation of you when in fact you are relevant for reports.

Hotwire has dedicated Analyst Relations expertise, so if you’re interested to know how AR could best work for you, please drop me a note at any time – graham.westrop@hotwireglobal.com