Thursday, 28 September 2006

AR Classics Series: Analyst Relations Programs Critical in High-Tech

This article in PR News was published on January 8, 1996. The information technology and the analyst/consultant world have changed in the time since this article appeared. It reflected an understanding of the world at that time but, like anything written about high-tech then, does not necessarily apply in the same way today.

Companies need to build relationships, supply information, access

In high-tech, it is critical to stay in touch with the key market analysts who follow and project the fortunes of markets and companies.

While they do not always do so, companies should have a formal program for communicating with and being responsive to the needs of analysts (e.g. The Gartner Group, Forrester Research, etc.), advises Norma LaRosa.

Two Biggest Problems

LaRosa said two problems loom above all others: companies fail to establish strong relationships with key analysts, and then provide product information in the context of a comparison with their competitors instead of the marketplace.

"People don't know how to establish positive relationships with analysts," said LaRosa. Being responsive, promptly providing the information that analysts need, and hooking them up to the technical/business experts they need to speak with at the company is the bridge to building these relationships.

Secondly, while an awareness of competitors is crucial given the dizzying of high-tech markets, analysts need to know "where companies' products fit in the realm of customers' problems," she said.

Product Information is King

The most popular and most-requested type of information is product information: problems products solve, availability, cost, compatibility, interoperability, how does it work, how is it being sold, etc.

While companies often resist giving out this kind of information, LaRosa says that analysts will get it from other sources, such as customers or research firms.

"The information is available publicly, anyway," LaRosa notes. "What companies are doing is cutting off their nose to spite their face."

Web Sites Becoming Critical

Given analysts' need for timely information, it is no surprise that they increasingly are turning to companies' web sites for the technical, financial and market information they need.

"It's essential to have a good web site," said LaRosa. "More and more analysts and press people are too pressed for time. They need information now in a format they can use."

What Analysts Want From Vendors

(Listed in priority order)

  • 1) Information on vendor strategies
  • 2) Access to staff members
  • 3) Access to top executives
  • 4) A central contact point
  • 5) Pricing information
  • 6) Visits by vendors
  • 7) Private meetings at vendor locations
  • 8) On-line info (via modem)
  • 9) Technical "backgrounders"
  • 10) Analyst days at vendor locations

Source: Kensington Group

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