Technology Industry Analysts; Marketing’s Friend or Foe?

Technology companies spend a great deal of time dealing with, talking to and trying the influence the analysts that cover their portion of the industry.  The analyst’s opinions can make or break a product.  Turn a start-up into a thriving business overnight.  They have an uncanny ability to create an instant buzz or drive a nail in a product’s coffin.

Analyst logo art

Some of these industry analysts actually test the products and base their comments on that and others do not.  The do not base their comments on reviewed of the design of products and customer feedback. To a lesser degree, they also base their analyses on what they hear from vendors.

The question is however, how important is it that marketing spend time working with the industry analysts?  When deciding how much time and effort to invest in working with them, consider these 4 points:

They talk to your customers all day long.  They likely talk to more of your customers than you do.  They also talk to your competitors customers.  It’s what many industry analysts do all day every day.  Over time, they form strong relationships with your customers and your future customers.  It’s good to be on the right side of these relationships.

They know the questions on customer’s minds.  With all of this customer and potential customer discussion, industry analysts are in a unique position to really hear what is on customers’ minds.  What is keeping them up at night.  They hear questions about your product, your category and your business all the time.  This is exactly the type of insight you can use to set your content direction and design marketing pieces that really speak to current and attention-grabbing issues

Analysts will advise vendors.  Many product and service vendors have purchased analyst seats so they have access to both the analysts and to the document libraries.  Discussions with the analysts generally focus on industry trends or competitive actions, or essentially pitches.  However, you can also discuss marketing messaging, content ideas, go to market strategies and other items and you’ll likely find a great deal of insight.

It’s a relationship, not just a chance to influence.   Many makers of technical products view every interaction with an analyst as a chance to expound your product’s virtues.  This strategy will lose effectiveness over time as the same messages get repeated and the analyst only hears the story from the vendor.    A better strategy is to work with them in a two-way conversation.  Use analyst calls to discuss potential company strategies or product choices.  Feed back to the analyst as you implement the strategy you discussed with them.  Make them part of the team.  You’ll get better response that way than shouting your product’s message over and over.

Certainly there is an upside for marketing to make the analysts your friend.  They are a great source or information and can provide customer focused feedback better than almost any group you are likely to encounter.  Spend a few minutes getting to know the analysts in your industry.  It’ll pay off.

What role do industry analysts play in your marketing planning?  Does your company encourage interaction with them?

You can connect with Eric on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ericlundbohm/

Follow his updates on Twitter @lundbohm

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