Note to PRs: Work more closely with AR

25 June 2007

Sally W* over at the Getting Ink blog has some advice for technology PRs who are pitching stories to journalists: have a word with the AR team first.

I’ve spoken to several editors over the past couple of years and I’ve noticed that the scepticism that was evident around the turn of the millennium towards PRs suggesting industry analysts is finally dissipating (even if it hasn’t completely gone away). Mind you, I’ve been at great pains to explain that there’s no question of trying to plug a ‘pet’ analyst. Rather, as I commented on Sally’s post, in H&K’s case we’re happy to provide the names and contact details of analysts who we know have been properly briefed on the relevant technology or product that’s being promoted. Let’s face it, any analyst that can be ‘bought’ by a company isn’t worth his or her salt and will quickly lose any credibility.

Talking of credibility, it looks as though the PR teams of some of the analyst firms have their work cut out if Sally’s views are widespread. Forrester, Gartner and IDC can sleep easy; Ovum, Analysys and Butler Group get something of a thumbs up, but other firms (and there’s a fairly comprehensive list on the left-hand margin of this blog) don’t get a look in.

Yankee Group are definitely suffering from a perception that they’ve retreated to the States – it’s not just Sally who thinks so, a couple of anonymous commenters made the same point recently over at Armadgeddon – perhaps Yankee will be able to put the record straight at the next IIAR meeting in July. Jupiter, several of whose analysts are clearly world-class look as though they have some work to do as well (I did just read an article in the New York Times that quoted Patti Freeman Evans).

What of Current Analysis, or Enders, or CCS Insight? The latter continues to attract high profile analysts from the biggest players. I know for a fact that each of these firms has analysts who IT vendors consider it vital to keep informed. Ditto smaller firms like Quocirca, MWD and Freeform Dynamics – again, they have analysts who repeatedly impress some of the most powerful people in business and IT. And where is Datamonitor, which owns Ovum and Butler Group and which is currently being bought by Informa (also missing)?

Now it’s not the job of a journalist to continuously evaluate who’s who in the analyst community; it’s up to the analyst firms themselves and ARs like me to do that. Journalists’ time is tight and, indeed, the main thrust of Sally’s article is an attempt to speed up researching stories; it’s not necessarily going to be possible to persuade a journalist on a deadline that another analyst firm is worth considering. Hopefully, that won’t mean just taking the easy option…

At H&K, we work with the press offices in analyst firms to ensure that the most appropriate person to speak on a subject is ready when journalists come looking, whether or not they work at one of the big firms.

Speaking to the media is not the only reason to brief an analyst (as we’ve said before) but it is one reason, so it’s in the interests of the PR/AR industry that we work with journalists to make sure they’re speaking to the right person at the right time.

*I’m pretty sure it’s Sally W, as she covers technology according to the About page.

EDIT: ARmadgeddon has picked up on Sally’s post and offers some practical advice on how AR can best work with PR. /EDIT

4 Responses to “Note to PRs: Work more closely with AR”

  1. People Over Process » links for 2007-06-27

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  2. ARonaut

    Thanks for the link, very nice post.  Do you find that your proximity with the PR folks helps them to get coverage?

  3. Dominic Pannell

    Hello ARonaut, long time no see…

    Does the AR team help the media relations teams get coverage for their clients? Undoubtedly.

    Saying that, we operate independently of one another for much of the time and have distinct clients. If they need to incorporate analyst outreach into their programmes, we are on hand. Increasingly, though, media relations come to us to work on messaging/positioning rather than merely as an extension of their outreach.

  4. Next IIAR meeting - July 26: time for Yankee to prove its worth « Technobabble 2.0

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