While many AR professionals are not yet prepared to take the bold step Duncan discusses here (Should AR run Influencer Relations?), it remains that they should go outside their comfort zone and address the following challenges:
- Start targeting other influencers such as blogs (read this point of view by Rob Enderle), consultancies (read Germany), academia and groups such as the Corporate Executive Board (read deal architect: Content is King) and other consultancies. Tactics to achieve this goal are different from traditional AR (for instance the CEB do not have analysts per se)
- Align tightly with sales rather than media relations (read AR is a sales job with no quota)
- Sell the value of AR
- Be accountable and show measurable results
- We believe that only 5-15% of IT vendors have best-in-class AR practices and AR staff of the right caliber to transition from AR and grow into IfR: Influencer Relations. This supposes the ability to recruit the right people and secure significant incremental resources.
- Second tier AR teams will face budget cuts and (re)-integration within the communications department, with the prospect to be compensated/promoted on clippings levels (or worse, on activity) rather than relationships and sales impact (or even research quality and thought leadership).
- The dichotomy between best in class AR and second tier will no longer be based upon basic know-how as best practices filter through, but will rather be the result of AR measurement and strategic policies (.7323 probability)
- Further re-alignment with media relations will impact positively analysts-for-hire's business (more budget allocated to paid-for reports) but this trend is detrimental to both analysts and AR credibility overall (.5itting-on-the-fence probability)