A good PR campaign consumes significant resources in time, money, and creative energy. With today’s limited resources it makes a lot of sense to test out a campaign early in the process to ensure that it will meet its goals.
Analysts have a unique ear to the market, your customers, and your competitors. They have seen the hype, FUD, programs, practices and other campaigns that work and those that fail. Frequently they have strong relationships with the press as go-to resources for quotes and story background. Given a strong personal relationship with your AR managers they can be an incredible sounding board under non-disclosure. By reviewing your plans in the early draft stages they can guide you in better addressing the changing market and avoid sounding like a “me too” repetition of your competition.
SageCircle Technique: The key element to successfully using the analysts to review PR plans is in the selection of the analyst. AR managers know the backgrounds and fields of expertise for the key analysts. They have previously established personal relationships which include knowledge of which analysts can be trusted and also know the market this campaign will address.
An action plan might include:
- Create a simple document with the campaign objectives and rough timelines that can be shared with the AR Managers and selected analysts
- Have the AR Manager recommended several trusted analysts and provide you background information
- Schedule an inquiry with selected analysts – this should be done in conjunction with the AR Manager to ensure compliance with any contract terms
- The inquiry should begin with a very brief review of the plans, followed by open dialog. You are not briefing the analyst, but seeking their opinion. Listen carefully to questions and areas of push-back
- Plan additional inquiry interactions as the campaign develops.
Using inquiry to ask analysts about their opinion is commonplace, but establishing an ongoing relationship for a campaign is not frequently done by PR. While you don’t have to accept everything they say, reviewing plans under non-disclosure creates a personal buy-in to your work. More importantly, they can provide feedback on plans that are misguided, incomplete, or off target for the market. Allowing them candor can save you valuable resources.
In the end analysts that have contributed are also more likely to endorse you in the form of positive commentary, press quotes, or published research – this is a powerful ROI for letting the analysts be part of your team.
Bottom Line: As a client of the analyst firm you have inquiry privileges that can be used to gain opinions on your marketing plans. An ongoing set of interactions with key analysts develops the relationship and can result in many favorable outcomes – including a more effective campaign.
Question: PR Managers – Have you ever called an analyst to get campaign feedback? AR Managers – Are you working with your PR teams to understand their needs and offer potential assistance?
Analysts – What benefits do you gain by working with PR teams?