AR & marketing – activating your thought leadership

by Laura Blaydon

February 1, 2019


At Spotlight, our clients run the gamut from large enterprises to small independent firms, start-ups to mature organizations, and experienced analyst relations pros to relative newbies in AR. One thing they all share is the need to deliver value through their AR program.

Depending on whom you’re talking to and where they sit in the organization, AR will have varied levels and types of impact. Sales tends to care about leads and deals, product is eager to gain input on product direction and strategy, and marketing is focused on visibility and thought leadership. All of these are outcomes created through analyst relations. As AR professionals we can prioritize these outcomes, activate them internally, and ultimately build support for the channel.

AR and marketing – a natural fit

Marketing is closely aligned to analyst relations, and your AR program may even fall under your org’s marketing department. With content marketing dominating many marketing strategies, companies are challenged with creating thought leadership content that is truly relevant and valuable to their audience. In order for marketing to understand the value of AR, you need to help them see how AR assets demonstrate real thought leadership and can generate leads.

Types of AR assets marketing can use:

  • Evaluation reports
    • Gartner Magic Quadrants, Forrester Waves, and the likes are the ultimate testament of thought leadership – especially if you place well. Third-party validation from analysts gives marketers a strong leg to stand on when promoting your offerings.
  • Webinars
    • Webinars co-hosted with analysts can draw big crowds. Plus, bringing in an industry expert like an analyst only makes you look good – you’re connected to the thought leaders and builds credibility by association.
  • Video interviews
    • Captivate your audience with video interviews of analysts. Interviews can be spliced into short videos that can be used in a variety of marketing content.
  • Catalog reports
    • Your prospects are likely looking for something specific, so being included in a catalog report (Gartner’s Market Guide, Forrester’s Now Tech/New Tech, etc.) improves your exposure, lists you as a formidable competitor, and could increase your likelihood of being considered as the best fitting solution.
  • Topical reports
    • Analysts are prolific writers. There is no shortage of seminal and categorical reports that dive deep into challenges and solutions. Read your prioritized analysts’ research and leverage the reports that will resonate with your prospects and customers.
  • Commissioned research
    • Solidify the category you represent and business challenges you solve by partnering on commissioned research. Working with analysts to research your topic further establishes your leadership in your space.

Executing on AR assets:

Though you may leave the marketing strategy and execution to your peers, it may be helpful to brainstorm with them how they can use AR assets. Pending proper reproduction rights, all of these assets could be shared on your website, blog, or social media accounts. You could focus your paid search on terms for your category, directing users to a page that includes the AR asset. Plus, adding this content to your marketing material increases your likelihood for organically ranking in your category. Not to mention, your PR team can also make announcements using the assets you provide. If you’re looking for leads, throw a gated form in front of these assets to capture new prospects for your marketing list.

However, none of these positive outcomes will be possible if you don’t prioritize the creation of these assets. While evaluation report participation is an obvious win for AR, get creative with how you can use analysts to help promote your business objectives. Include a variety of AR assets in your strategic planning to support marketing campaign plans. Initiating interviews, commissioned research, and more will show your marketing colleagues that you understand their need for content and want to collaborate with them on the overall mission.

Building rapport with your marketing department and showing them how they can leverage your assets as thought leadership content will help you win internal mindshare and create allies for the AR channel.

For more tips on collaborating internally join us for our next webinar, Overcoming AR Objections.

How do you work with your marketing department? We’d love to hear your tips below.