We all know prioritization is a key tenet of analyst relations. Since budget, time, and personnel are all limited in AR, what do you do when your company wants to launch a new product into an unforged market?
Recently a client came to us with this prioritization twist. They had long-standing relationships with analysts who were familiar with their legacy product, but they had been working on new, innovative capabilities that would bring them into an entirely new market. They already had a prioritized analyst list, but their key analysts weren’t the right fit for their new vision and new business objectives.
We were tasked with developing a target list of ten analysts who could help our client enter this new market, move their brand perception past their legacy offering, and create a new research category around their innovative offering. While they were familiar with AR and had established relationships in the community, they needed to reallocate their AR efforts. They didn’t know any of the analysts in their new space. They were essentially starting back at square one.
The client imparted a sense of urgency to us. This new market was moving quickly, and if they didn’t install brand recognition with a new set of analysts soon, they’d miss out on the opportunity.
We took this mandate and got to work. We found that researching the research, identifying all of our reallocation effort possibilities, and working closely with the executive team to determine best fit significantly helped us tackle this challenge.
Researching the research
Using what we understood about their new market, we headed straight to the research to scope out the landscape of analysts relevant to the new offering.
We combed through analysts’ online profiles, team structures, keyword searches on the firms’ websites, research headlines, and more. We also reached out to the account reps for their guidance on relevant analysts. Through all of our findings we collected a list of the following:
1. Analysts who engaged with our client’s new target audience
2. Analysts who wrote about the challenges our client’s new product solved
3. Analysts who wrote about the primary competitors this new product was going up against
Identifying the options for reallocating AR efforts
Once this list was developed, we took it to our client to start the prioritization process. We had identified several dozen potentially relevant analysts but needed their input to create a manageable engagement plan.
Like many programs, their AR bandwidth was limited. Could they allocate more resources to the channel in addition to their current efforts? If not, what was the right balance of prioritizing the new offering while deemphasizing the legacy product?
We presented them with an organized view of the analyst landscape that included the analyst’s name, research firm, audience, coverage, and our rationale for list inclusion. Then, we divided the landscape into three potential key analyst lists:
Conservative: Keep most existing analyst relationships and only add a few new analysts who reach their new audience
Aggressive: Forego existing analyst relationships and only talk to the analysts in their new space
Somewhere in between: Keep some of the stronger established analyst relationships, but add in a handful of analysts in the new space.
The more aggressive list was more likely to help them meet their AR goals for the new product more quickly, but it would require more resources than they were currently committing to AR. The more conservative list was more aligned with the pace at which they were used to allocating AR efforts, but it may not help them reach their AR goals for the new product in the desired timeframe.
It was at this point that we needed our client’s input. Did they have the near-term resources to truly invest in a key analyst list that was based on unestablished relationships? Did they have enough evidence of their innovative product to convince these new analysts of their value in the market? On the other hand, if they focused on a more conservative list, would they meet their long-term business goals in time to establish dominance in the new market?
Line by line, we talked through each analyst on the proposed list, considering their potential relationship outcome. In doing this we helped our client rationalize the analysts they wanted to target, giving them a key analyst list that they felt comfortable with. It included a combination of familiar, established analyst relationships and analysts who wrote to their desired target audience, but who they didn’t have a relationship with just yet.
While this exercise cycled through a few different iterations of their key analyst list, it allowed us to have a productive dialog with our client’s executives about what they actually wanted to achieve with their AR program, and what resources we had available to help execute.
This process could be applied to any organization prioritizing their analyst list, but remember to take one thing at a time. You must first understand the business challenges and objectives before you can expertly recommend best-fit analysts.
Lastly – and maybe the best part – our stakeholders were motivated and invested to complete this prioritization exercise together with us because we took the time to align it with their needs. We got a better understanding of their business, concerns, challenges, and opportunities, which helped us be a better partner, resource, and meaningful contributor to the organization.