Is this the future of analyst relations?

28 April 2009

Digital AR. I’ve heard that term tossed around a lot in the last few months. We’re asked by our clients and colleagues what analysts are using digital communications channels, how they’re using them, and most commonly – what do I need to do, as an AR professional, to understand and utilize these channels? Good analyst relations professionals need to understand the evolving nuances of how relationships can be strengthened as more analysts engage through digital channels.

There’s no doubt that the role of AR manager is changing as social media is becoming more used by industry analysts. Jeremiah Owyang, one of Forrester’s social media analysts blogged last Friday about When Analyst Relations Get Social. He offered several ways AR professionals are changing and summed it up with “What’s the theme here? The role hasn’t changed that much in the traditional sense, but the AR professional isn’t a gatekeeper, instead they facilitate.”

I think good analyst relations managers have always facilitated and not been gatekeepers.  Social media interactions allow another touch point for AR managers and those they manage to connect with analysts on both personal and professional levels. AR managers need to understand how their spokespeople, customers and colleagues are interacting with analysts through digital channels and provide guidance and guidelines to help create or continue a productive relationship.

The basics of smart AR remain the same-inquiry and listening, engaging in dialogue around issues, prioritizing and looking for efficiencies of scale, maintaining meaningful relationships, and being smart about metrics. But now there are digital options for each, and before you dive in, the first step is to find out how your analysts-and your customers-are engaging online.

While I don’t think Digital AR will replace traditional AR – there is a need to evolve AR programs and increase understanding of this communications channel. How are you evolving?

Here at H&K, our AR team has developed a methodology and built best practices around Digital AR. Please contact me if you want to continue this discussion. You can also follow me on Twitter @ruthbusbee!

8 Responses to “Is this the future of analyst relations?”

  1. Marc Duke

    Dom – to the man who introduced me to Twitter, totally agree with the post. What is interesting is that in future there will be some analysts that are digital and others that are ‘analogue’ and all AR folks need to know who is who.

  2. Joe Barkan

    Traditional AR is geared to dealing with a limited, defined group of influencers (typically IT analysts). Digital media is sharply increasing the number of influencers. For instance, over 10,000 people Twittered on the Oracle/Sun deal — if each had only 10 followers, that’s 100,000 people who were potentially influenced via that channel.

    The result will likely be diminished value of the traditional AR targets and traditional AR tactics. In the time it took Gartner to release its FirstTake on the Oracle/Sun deal, there were hundreds of blog posts by analysts and reporters and editorialists and interested techies that analyzed the deal. What’s new is that people (i.e tech buyers) are really reading those blogs and Tweets and Facebook posts.

    AR will have to change to reflect the diminished influence of our traditional targets and to find better ways to target this very large less well-defined group.

  3. Rick Brusuelas

    I agree with Joe re: news-related outreach and reporting. And that will require more outreach to more analysts/bloggers/tweeters. But I also expect that we will continue to outreach to the traditional targets for key reports (MQs, Waves, market share studies), consults, and sales-supporting activities.

  4. Mika Yehezkeli

    From the marketing perspective, I see AR and PR merging into “Influencer relations”.

    Still waiting to put this into practice, but in theory, succeeding in a social media campaign should eventually put me on the radar of bloggers and traditional media people journalists, not just analysts.

    It might not be the same person following up but I don’t see the efficiency of separate PR and AR social media campaigns.

  5. Ares Vista

    I agree with Mika. AR and PR should be handled together, approached in a way to work for both sides. Any other approach would be inefficient and ineffective.

  6. The Future of Analyst Relations | PR Nonsense

    [...] Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared some discussions on social media and analyst relations with industry influencers Teresa Cottam of Telesperience and Peter Brockmann of Brockmann & Company.  To wrap up the series, here are their takes on the future of analyst relations:  [...]

  7. BarbaraFrench

    AR has survived the Death of Fax, the birth of FedEx, the debut of TelePresence, and so much more. Will be interesting to see if lifestreaming makes any substantive inroads.

    And, a topic best suited for another post and another time — I respectfully disagree entirely with Mika and Ares. There’s no efficiency in merging AR and PR. At best, you get a headcount reduction. What you want to do is co-exist them in a workflow.

    Plus, bringing them doesn’t create influencer relations. That calls for a much broader set of categories than journalists and analysts.

  8. The Future of Analyst Relations | March Communications

    [...] Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared some discussions on social media and analyst relations with industry influencers Teresa Cottam of Telesperience and Peter Brockmann of Brockmann & Company.  To wrap up the series, here are their takes on the future of analyst relations:  [...]

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