The first in our series on (IT) industry analyst relations, by @TopLineFounder
Technology is complicated and businesses, consumers and the media need help understanding it. Enter industry analysts, people or companies that perform research or gather data on the industry to identify trends, categorise technologies, assess the size of markets and make forecasts.
All this work means that analysts tend to be closely attuned to their markets, and the result is that they are widely considered to be thought leaders. This means that B2B companies, particularly those in the technology space, are keen to build close relationships with analysts, showcase their technologies and, hopefully garner some endorsements along the way.
Most analysts specialise, choosing to focus on a few technologies, segments or verticals (such as virtualisation, or government technologies). A few are dedicated to publicly traded companies (such as Apple, IBM or Cisco) and their product portfolios.
Analyst relations simply describes how corporations work with analysts. Most firms, particularly technology providers, are keen to brief analysts about their products, services or corporate strategies, with a view to building ongoing relationships that will lead to these influential third parties offering some sort of public endorsement.
As a technology company, particularly a tech start-up, the extent to which you engage with analysts tends to be directly related to your ability to gain traction in the market. By appointing analysts as advisors, you can gain unprecedented access to industry information. By engaging them as influencers, you are able to catapult your unknown technologies into the industry spotlight.
Analysts tend to make money by selling their research and insights. There is a huge market for information from these opinion leaders which is valuable to everyone from vendors to end users, who can use it to assess the competitive landscape or make purchasing decisions. Analysts also make money by being commissioned by companies to draft reports, or through consulting or speaking at events.
Major players in the UK analyst market include Gartner, Forrester and IDC. However, there are a number of smaller organisations, such as Quocirca and Freeform Dynamics and many independents or freelancers who spend their time networking, speaking, researching technologies and writing.
You have to find the analysts that have an interest in your sector or your technologies. This is easier said than done, but my colleague @hanstacey has blogged on the subject here.
Watch this space – I’ll be blogging on this on Thursday.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.
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