How analysts work and common misconceptions

The role of PR is to understand not just client marketing strategies but it’s audiences. This includes analysts who influence the technology purchasing process.

There are persistent misconceptions in the PR and technology sector about the role of an industry analysts. These include: thinking analysts operate as journalists, analyst only write research, that they are interested in large companies or write positively about companies that are playing clients.

These underlying misconceptions need to be addressed before a strategic analyst relations programme can be effective. The starting point is always understanding what analysts do, how they work and what their priorities are. Then one can start to focus on individual analysts, their research focus, upcoming reports and  creating influencer strategies using a targeted approach.

Let’s focus on these myths in turn.

Myth 1: Analysts are the same as journalists

Analysts tell us they are sometimes treated as journalists, by PR agencies who don’t fully understand what an analyst does for a living. Journalists report the news and write features that will be of topical interest for their readership. Analyst focus on the long term. They research, write, forecast and consult on business strategies, technologies and trends that have implications for many years. They are also profit centres for their firms.

Myth 2: Analysts only write research reports

It may have been the case at one time, but these days analysts don’t just churn out a mass of reports. They split their time between understanding the market sectors they specialise in, provide client advice  and participating at industry conferences and producing scheduled research. They also team up for major research projects such as Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Waves.

Myth 3: Analysts only write about larger companies

Part of the role of analysts is to write about understand how technology markets grow, develop, and change business and society. That includes focusing attention on up and coming companies, start-ups as well as the so called 800-lb gorilla, whether they are paying clients or not. An analysts’ research value can only be dictated by how well they understand the market they track. Only paying attention to blue chip  companies would result in analysts not doing a thorough job for which they are employed.

Myth 4: Analysts write more positively about paying clients

All analysts worth their salt prize their independence. This myth belittles analyst neutrality.

The converse is also true – companies find out that being a paying client does not give them the best analyst coverage in research, as many a vendor on a Quadrant will testify.

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