One of the worst things that can happen to a vendor sales representative or a vendor executive is being blindsided by a piece of information that they did not know existed – but should have known. It makes them look uniformed and out of the loop, and can negatively impact the interaction they are currently conducting. Unfortunately for AR teams, industry analyst commentary is a prime source of “gotcha” moments for their companies’ sales representatives, CEOs, CFOs, and the PR staff.
It does not have to be that way. AR programs must work to monitor analyst opinions and commentary and provide relevant, near real-time actionable advice to impacted groups. Unfortunately, when it comes to monitoring analyst opinions, too many AR teams only capture published research notes and press quotes. As the graphic illustrates (click to enlarge), these two forms of analyst opinion are only the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of ways (see list below) that analyst opinions get into the marketplace with more being invented on a seemingly regular basis.
The problems associated proliferating communications platforms are compounded by most AR teams’ lack of formal analyst opinion monitoring programs and measurement strategies. As a consequence, AR could be spending too much time on some measurement and insufficient or no effort on critical opinion pipelines.
Table: Potential Analyst Communications Platforms
- Spoken word
- Client inquiries and event 1-on-1s
- Calls with reporters
- Analyst consulting days
- Sales calls by analysts and firm sales reps with tech decision makers
- Formal publication
- Firm research papers
- Firm press releases
- Quotes in the press
- Columns in trade publications
- Commissioned white papers
- Commissioned marketing newsletters
- Reprints on competitors websites
- Firm event speeches
- Firm teleconferences
- Industry event speeches
- Vendor customer conferences
- Vendor marketing webinars/seminars
- Social media
- Blogs, firm or personal
- Micro-blogging (e.g., Twitter)
- Comments on blogs
- Social networks
No doubt some readers are scoffing at the notion of analysts at major firms or analysts that cover big iron using Twitter or Facebook as a daily tool. It is true that many markets are covered by entrenched analysts who have decades of experience in the industry and at their analyst firms. For these old lions, social media is often considered a joke, a toy. However, those decades of experience mean that they are closer to retirement each day. I remember the days not so long ago when CIOs had their secretaries print out their e-mails and then type in their hand written responses. No longer. Now many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are avid e-mail users. So attitudes toward new forms of communications can and will change. The next generation of analysts, regardless of markets they cover, will likely already be users of social media when they join firms. These new analysts will expect to use social media and that will change their firms and the analyst landscape.
- Develop a measurement strategy, at least as a high level outline
- Develop an analyst opinion monitoring program that includes relevant analyst blogs
- Investigate existing internal or contracted resources for tracking analyst blogs and other forms of social media. These resources could be in PR, marketing, brand management or competitive intelligence.
- Ask your top analysts periodically about their use of social media and how it is changing. Revise your plan according to new intelligence
Question: AR teams – Do you have a formal analyst opinion monitoring program that is part of an overall measurement strategy?
Bottom Line: Because it would not be practical for AR teams to monitor all of forms of analyst opinion communication, having a plan will be critical for prioritizing work. In addition, AR teams will likely need to outsource some or all of the work of compiling and analyzing opinion data.