I got an URGENT call from a new client the other day, saying that they had a serious issue with an Industry Analyst. The Advisory firm was about to publish a report that unfairly positioned the company’s products. Something had to be done to stop it from going out the way it was!
The client was about to send a letter to the author’s boss, and wanted my input on the letter. Needless to say the letter was a rant against the analyst, his lack of professionalism and a statement that the Analyst was unreasonably biased toward another company whose coverage was considerably more positive.
After reading the report, I agreed that it seemed to favor my client’s competitor, and there were definitely instances when my client’s coverage was more negatively skewed than seemed justified on the surface. So, I asked a few questions, and the client’s responses told the rest of the story:
Do you know and have a working relationship with this Analyst? Yes, we know him – and he’s never liked us…every time we tell him about a new feature or upgrade, he seems to brush us off and he never writes nice things about us.
Are you a client of this Advisory firm? No, we can’t afford to spend money on Analysts.
How often do you provide this Analyst briefings on your company and your solutions? We send him our press releases like we do everyone. Since we aren’t a client, they don’t really want to talk to us.
So, the company hadn’t invested much time or effort with the Analyst, yet expected positive, or at least neutral, coverage of their products. Since the coverage was negative, the assumption was that the Analyst was biased.
Reputable Industry Analysts – and this was one – are not unduly biased. But they are human beings and they can be influenced. Influence comes from proximity and it builds on the basis of a relationship.
Had the competitor invested the time to regularly brief the Analyst? Most Analyst firms accept company/product briefings at least once a year, even from non clients.
Had the competitor taken the time to learn about the interests and coverage areas of the Analyst? Reading the reports and listening to the presentations of an Analyst provides valuable insight into their points of view. That insight can guide how to position your company and services, while demonstrating to the Analyst that you care about what they have to say.
Had the competitor engaged the analyst’s firm – not just to gain favor with them – but to learn from them and to assist the company in its product development and go to market strategies? A relationship is a two way street. Inviting and incorporating an Analyst’s industry knowledge and expertise into your product development road map and marketing materials is a sure way to create support. At the very least, if you decide to go a different direction you’ll know in advance what the Analyst thinks – and give you the chance to talk about it before being surprised by a negative opinion in their next report.
If you want to change someone’s action, you have to change your reaction. If Analysts are important to your target market, get ahead of the curve and shape the interaction. It takes an investment – but often much less than you think.
What have your experiences been with Industry Analysts?
What’s worked and what’s fallen flat?
Share your experiences with us…