An important part of media relations that many agencies and PR professionals tend to overlook is industry analyst relations. From my earliest days working in high-tech public relations, I have worked with the industry analysts at Gartner, IDC, Forrester Research, Yankee Group, and even those big firms that are no longer with us, like Dataquest, Meta Group, and Jupiter Research. And I work with a variety of specialty firms like Nemertes Research, Osterman Research, and MobileTrax.
I advise my clients that industry analysts are an invaluable media resource for a number of reasons:
First, of course, they write reports about emerging technology, and there are a number of IT managers and CIOs who won’t make a buying decision without first referencing a Gartner Magic Quadrant or a Forrester Wave report.
Second, analysts are great resources of industry insight, and they aren’t shy about poking holes in your product or your go-to-market strategy. I find that too often clients become so immersed in a new product or concept that they can’t see the flaws, and analyst briefings often can point out a lot of challenges before you go public with a story.
And third, analysts are invaluable when it comes to talking to reporters. Enthusiastic start-ups and product managers have been known to be, shall we say, premature in announcing a product that may not be quite ready for market. Over the years reporters have become wary of “vaporware.” Analyst and customer references have become essential for any new technology product launch, and by briefing analysts in advance, we can offer reporters references who can give an unbiased opinion about my client’s product and its impact on the market.
I want to thank Gerry Purdy, principal analyst at MobileTrax, for offering a simple, and cogent explanation of what he calls the Press-Analyst Cycle (see Gerry’s diagram above), which was the topic of this week’s Inside Mobile newsletter, and Gerry’s blog. Gerry has done a terrific job of explaining how the analyst briefing process works, and how it fits in his world from the analyst’s perspective.
I have worked with Gerry for a number of years, and whenever I have a client with a new product in the mobile telecommunications market, Gerry is at the top of my analyst contact list. He is always open and frank with my clients – which is important, especially if there are flaws in a product or go-to-market strategy – and I know I can always count on Gerry’s cooperation in the Press-Analyst Cycle, and to be a fair and well-informed editorial reference. As Gerry explains:
Vendors have to live with the results of the writings of the press and analysts like me. Often, positive stories greatly influence the decision to buy that product or service. A number of bad reviews or stories can also hurt. However, with the Press-Analyst Cycle, vendors are most often able to maximize the awareness and build credibility for their mobile and wireless product or service.
And the great thing about working with analysts is they are usually happy to serve as references, even if your client is not one of their clients. After all, analysts have to build their own market credibility and promote their own personal brand, and being asked to comment as an independent expert is a great way to keep your name in front of the market.
So the next time you see an interesting story about a new product or technology, or you see a quote from an IDC or Forrester Research expert, think of the process behind that story to deliver that opinion. It’s all part of media relations.