Kagan: How top companies work with industry analyst relations
As an industry analyst over the last 30 years, I have heard it all. Some executives at some companies understand the segment and how to benefit from it. Most may want good results but are simply lost. So, let me share with you some ideas and thoughts from a real analyst to help you get the results you want.
As you know, I am an industry analyst. That includes wireless, telecom, pay TV, AI, IoT, technology and so much more.
This has given me the rare opportunity to learn what works best when a company wants to start a working relationship and get my insights on the changing industry.
What do you really want? You want to know how to successfully work with the industry analyst community. You want to get on their radar in the right way, but not sure how to do so. You want them to see your company in a positive light.
You know how this group is powerful, works in different ways and can be helpful or harmful, depending on their opinion. That’s why you want to make sure they have the right opinion.
Whether a company successfully works with the industry analyst community all depends on the executives in charge and their understanding of this sector.
If they have a solid understanding and expect the right things, they have a better chance of success.
It’s important to understand who an Industry Analyst is and what they do. There are many different models in the community. All are unbiased experts sharing their opinion.
Understand the industry analyst to get best results
All analysts follow the companies in the space, the changes to the industry, they look at what’s new, what’s coming and why. They also look at who is growing and who is winning and who is struggling and why.
However, that’s where the similarities end. Some analysts are more interested in technical aspects. Others are more interesting in competitive aspects, leadership, customer satisfaction and there are other areas as well.
All industry analysts are influencers, which means their opinion matters to the marketplace. How they share their opinion differs.
Some write and sell reports. Others write columns and offer thoughts to the media for their stories. All are power players in the industry they follow to investors, customers, workers and executives.
Industry analyst community has leaders and followers
The industry analyst community is generally a smaller group of individuals and companies. I consider it a cottage industry of sorts. Some companies are mid-sized, and others are smaller.
There are also plenty of individual analysts who march to their own drummer.
Among this community you will find leaders and followers. You must choose the right analysts for your company. The best are those who have a high profile and who’s opinion matters to the marketplace.
Choose the right industry analysts for your company and industry
It is important not to lump all the analysts into the same bucket. A winning strategy means choosing the right, key analysts to your company, getting to know how they work and working with them properly for the best results.
If you choose five different top analysts, you may find five different working models. It’s really not that difficult to work with different analysts and different models.
In fact, there are just two different sides to this story.
First, it is important to find and start a working relationship with those analysts who you believe will have an impact on your company, positive or negative.
Second, it is also important to have a more generalized and larger Industry Analyst Relations program.
Industry analysts must remain unbiased and objective
You must develop a working relationship that fits that model. You want to keep them up to speed on your changes, the industry, how they impact your position in the industry and so on.
It is important to understand there is always both a positive and negative spin on every story. It all depends on who is telling the story. The story can actually be the same, but the result can be very different.
That’s why you must play a role in the community with an industry analyst Relations program. You want to make sure you are briefing the analyst community on your position in the changing industry, so they understand the positive aspects of your story.
You should not simply avoid the topic.
Without your input, you will be in a weakened position and analysts will form their opinion of your company from your competitors, the industry and the media.
You see, the industry analyst community must remain up-to-speed on all the competitors and the changing industry. They must remain unbiased. However, you can and in fact must be a part of the information flow or risk poor results.
That’s why it is important to have a good working relationship with key analysts in your industry. They will be talking with your competitors. So, you want to make sure they have the correct understanding of your industry and your participation in it directly from you.
Change angle of news stories by teaching reporters the facts
Analysts often help reporters in the news media to better understand their topic.
Over 30 years I have learned that some reporters are experts and others are not. Yet they are all players. That’s why they lean on industry analysts to round out their pieces.
I cannot begin to tell you how I have changed the thrust of news stories simply by talking with and educating the reporters.
The media wants to hear from both sides, then they want an objective and unbiased third-party opinion to balance their story. That’s another area where the industry analyst comes into play.
The growth curve is an important piece of the puzzle
The Growth Curve is an important piece of this puzzle. Consider the players and industries we have watched rise and fall over the last few decades.
As an example, let’s consider the wireless industry.
Motorola led the handset market for decades. We all remember the StarTac in the 1990’s. Then they collapsed. The Razr followed with a momentary uptick, but they have been down for the count ever since.
Next, Nokia and Blackberry took over the top positions for the next decade.
Then, Apple iPhone and Google Android took the lead and that’s where we still are today.
Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry, past leaders are struggling today in the handset market.
That’s how quickly things change.
The handset or smartphone marketplace has continued to grow and become more powerful however the fortunes of industry leaders have changed, time and time again.
These are important lessons to learn.
Not every company works with the industry analyst community. Sometimes, companies who are doing strong business and are on the growth side of the Growth Wave often don’t think they need to do so. However, there is always a time when they regret that path.
That’s why every company does need to have a solid, long-term relationship with this powerful group of industry leaders. The reason is simple. Things change. Things are always changing.
Keep your company on growing side of growth wave
There are several groups you need to stay positive with including investors, customers, workers and executives.
It is important to remain on the growing side of the growth curve. Once you cross over to the falling side it is very difficult to recapture growth. Not impossible, but very difficult.
So, having your key executives be up-to-speed in this area is very important for your company’s long-term growth and health.
Investors, customers, workers and executives need to stay up-to-speed
This is the risk every company faces, and this is the reason they need to stay ahead of the curve in order to remain in a leadership position.
These are just some of the reasons it is important to be a successful participant in the marketplace with the Industry Analyst community. There are really countless examples, but you get the point.
Hopefully you can see the value in developing a strong and positive presence in the industry analyst world.
If you are or want to become or remain a strong competitor in your space, this is an important slice of the pie you must understand and use correctly.