Analyst relations (AR) is one of the most valuable communications strategies a B2B brand can deploy. Some of the most prestigious market research firms—Gartner, Forrester, IDC—operate at the global level, employ tens of thousands of people and have wide influence.
Finding the right analyst can be a difficult task in its own right. Coverage areas may not align exactly with your company or product. The right analyst might be on the other side of the world, creating logistical difficulties in even scheduling a phone call.
When you do, you’ll only have 30 minutes to an hour to brief analysts on your company or product, so you need to impress them...fast.
The purpose of an AR strategy
Test a new idea or category in private
Identify weak spots in your value proposition or products
Gain a more holistic understanding of the competition in your market
Build relationships with market influencers who may talk about you in the press
This last purpose is perhaps the most important. Industry reporters frequently speak with analysts to get insight into a company, product or market trend. If you’ve established a good rapport with an analyst frequently quoted in the press, you increase your chances of him or her referencing your company.
A typical timeline for analyst relations
A few months before going to market, research the firms with coverage areas that most closely align with your company’s value proposition or product. In many cases, coverage areas can somehow be both obfuscated and incredibly specific (e.g. “architecture and technology strategy” with subcategories in APIs, open source technology and multichannel architecture).
About a month before your launch, submit briefing requests through the various firms’ websites. Most will want the basic company details, annual revenue, employee count, product suite, etc. Create company descriptions and positioning that fit within the word count (usually about 100 words per field) and apply it as needed across briefing submissions.
Whenever possible, request the specific analysts you have identified beforehand. This can often increase your chances of landing a briefing, provided the research is accurate.
Be prepared to schedule briefings three to four weeks out from your initial submission.
Two or three days before the briefing, send any materials you will be using (press release, analyst deck, etc.) directly to the analysts or your point of contact.
Your analyst deck should be about 10 slides and should mirror an investor deck in many ways. Include slides on:
Company mission and a brief description (without any fluff)
The market problem and opportunity
Product suite and related information
Press releases announcing new products or features
Proprietary data reports
Paid vs. earned
For the first few years of your company’s growth, you can expect to brief analysts about once a year, more if you are frequently introducing products into the market. The majority of research firms will hold briefings at such intervals even if you don’t pay for their services. You should still be prepared to have some sales conversations with business development reps, however.
Once your company is growing consistently and your revenue is substantial enough, it’s time to start looking for paid relationships with a firm or two. What will you usually get?
Distribution rights to reports
Mentions in reports and in the media more frequently
An analyst on call to answer any market questions or to address specific needs or problems
Deals on webinars, opportunities for co-authored white papers, in-person analyst days and similar marketing collateral
Potential customer referrals from analysts
Developing and navigating an analyst relations strategy can be complex. Get in touch with us if you need a little more guidance.