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Working with Industry Analysts / Part II

Continued blog entry from April 28 in regards to Industry Analysts….

Greasing the Wheels

Since establishing your credibility is one of the most difficult tasks with an analyst, it can help a lot to have a contact who can shed their credibility onto you. A professional industry relations specialist can helpshorten the path to your first analyst visit and can help you prepare forthe first encounter. He or she can also help you leverage the information you gain from your analyst contacts to refine and sharpen your public message, use it to hone your strategic plan, and use it to grow your storyas your company and product mature. The specialist can also help keep theanalyst informed on a regular basis of new events and developments in yourcompany and product line. They can manage the ongoing communications thatwill lead to regular personal visits and to your increasing your “marketshare” of your analyst’s mind.

A Two-Way Street

It you want to establish a positive, ongoing relatinship with an analyst, here are few checkpoints:
• have a real product or service that has clearly definable benefits and features;
• clearly know your market and your position in that market;
• know where your target analyst stands on the products and issues in your market;
• know where you want to be in your market in the short- and long-term future;
• clearly analyze the steps required to get there;
• be able to demonstrate that your company has the resources to make it happen;
• be able to discuss the market intelligently with the analyst;
• know what you reasonably expect from the analyst and be willing to ask for it;
• be sure to carry out your responsibilities and promises made to the analyst — for demo products, information, customer contacts, executive interviews, etc.;
• be respectful of their time, but be assertive in gaining your share.

Quid pro Quo

A word to the wise. Many analysts work for companies that make their money by selling products and services to the industry they serve. Some of these services and products are very expensive and are available exclusively to subscribers and clients. Analysts should not expect or demand that you pay for access to them. They should not provide preferential treatment to subscribers and clients. This may sometimes be difficult.

Likewise, you should not expect the analyst to provide you the proprietary information of his or her company. If you deem that proprietary informationto be of benefit to you and your company, you should purchase it. Otherwise, you should perceive the transaction as one of providing information to the analyst in order to help him or her better understand the market and to ensure that your place in that market is not overlooked in the analysis.

Analysts Are Important

Do not underestimate the importance of industry analysts in your mix of public contacts. Analysts help you ground-truth and refine your message, help you understand your market, provide context, and help you prepare for the future. Your informed, ethical, and forthright dealings with them help both parties forward an understanding of the market, its dynamics, its pitfalls, and its promises.

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