David published Tuesday this most post after Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher wrote that vendors pay analysts for quotes:
Quotes for hire, interesting concept...
We obviously agree with David that this would be utterly un-ethical, but it's important to put the record straight:
We've never, ever, heard of anyone asking taking payment for quotes. We are very keen to hear if Tom can substantiate his allegations. We bet he can't and thus should retract.
PS (20/02/06): David in fact confused quotes and awards, which Frost & Sullivan charges for. Still not really ethical but not the same as charging for quotes.
This brings us to the subject of this AR 101: how can you leverage analysts in the media?
Analysts are, often rightly, viewed as thought leaders. Reporters value their insight, they are an invaluable ally to quickly nail down the issues around a topic and provide quotable material -all under tight deadlines. Journalists don't have the depth and experience of analysts, so a little help is welcome (an AR manager was heard saying recently that he believed the average VNU reporter age to be under 25...). So it's not a surprise that trade press often features analyst quotes.It's a good deal for analysts, they get exposure and it feeds their demanding ego. Some firms reward analysts for speaking to journalists, META was an example. This can lead to quote-happy analysts, some IDC analysts are particularly prolific as they produce so many cuts of the same data that every vendor can be a leader somewhere (read Give 'em all something - we need to sell reprints). Of course, too much goodness eventually hurts the analyst credibility...
So, how can AR managers leverage analysts to help their employer's profile in the media?
The most frequent tactics are:
- To include analysts quotes in press releases. This is subject to approval, Gartner and IDC have formal processes ; Gartner and AMR only allow quotes from published material (but not FirstTakes or Symposium presentations).
- To include analysts contact details in the press package sent to journalists, possibly with quotes.
Some additional tips:
- Depending on the relationship the AR manager has with them, independent analysts will often be quite willing to provide quotes and be contacted by reporters.
- It goes without saying that good AR managers will make sure that the analyst is briefed before reporters get the press release and that they have a (positive) opinion on the subject and contribute to the debate.
- Good AR managers will also ensure that they use analysts that are consistent between what they tell reporters and what they publish.
- Finally, some analysts are better at this game than others. A pedantic analyst speaking in 80 words sentences may not provide good quotable material to journalist and may even be mis-interpreted.
Other post in the AR 101 series: