When discussing industry analyst relations as part of an ongoing communications program, it’s usually assumed to be a heavy investment and ongoing relationship with one of the big three firms – Gartner, Forrester, and IDC. And given the depth of their market knowledge and proven value, a traditional paid analyst relations program will always be an impactful option.
But as we kick off 2022 and fully integrated communications programs continue to grow in popularity, we need to also apply that same mindset to analyst relations and look at where analysts’ focus is heading. We’ve outlined four trends we expect to see in 2022, and how you can leverage these to ensure you’re maximizing impact from your analyst relations program.
1. Hybrid Analyst-Reporters Will Continue To Grow in Number and Impact
According to ARInsights’ Power 100 List, three of the four most influential industry analysts also have regular contributed columns in media outlets. While analysts and media have historically been interested in different things – market understanding and storytelling respectively – the increased view companies are giving to analysts and the need for data-driven media coverage are starting to blur those lines.
While analysts source insights to understand how your company fits into the broader market, it also gives them an unmatched understanding of why an industry is shifting and where it’s potentially heading next. In an age where the future of everything makes for interesting media coverage, we will see more and more analysts shift into this hybrid-reporter role. Consider this as you build your analyst lists and prioritize targets who can help you reach both your analyst relations and earned media goals.
2. Analyst Validation Will Come From More Than Just Reports
Analyst relations is often thought of as a long game – brief analysts quarterly, share updates on major news, and secure inclusion in a major report that ranks you alongside your competitors. But information is constantly evolving, and new competitors appear often which can make the time and resource investment needed to complete a long lead report hard to justify.
While those reports are still a handy sales tool, look to complement them with quicker-turn activities that provide third-party validation. Firms are standing up podcasts to bring tech executives on to speak about their current news. Analysts are constantly tweeting about market learnings and engaging with their large followings of industry players. In 2022, expect this shorter, faster information sharing from analysts to continue and look for ways to provide them with the more digestible updates they need to talk about your company externally.
3. In-Person Events Are Coming Back and Analyst Expectations Will Be High
Virtual events over the last two years often lacked some of the collaboration, camaraderie, and excitement that came with an in-person experience. But what they lost in experience, they made up for with ease. Analysts learned that they could get most information from the comfort of their desks, avoiding time-consuming travel and winding walks through convention center halls.
This will be important to keep in mind as you decide which events to exhibit at or plan your own event. If you’re not going to offer some form of hybrid option, make sure what you’re doing in-person is still worth the added effort. Analysts know not every conference can bring major announcements, but consider how to maximize the in-person experience through increased access to executives, early looks at product updates and company news, or exclusive content to ensure you don’t miss out on a valuable touchpoint or relationship-building opportunity.
4. Analysts Want To Weigh In on Efforts Early On, Not Just Review Them
One of analysts’ most underrated capabilities is message testing and refinement. Companies look to analysts to validate what they’ve done after they’ve done it and miss opportunities to create a stronger result by bringing analysts into the process earlier.
Whether through a one-on-on feedback session, round table discussion, or full-day event, analysts can offer a wealth of insight into how a new strategy or product will be received publicly and which messages will resonate before you roll them out publicly. This feedback is invaluable from a brand reputation perspective and in the virtual era, you can keep overhead costs for these activities lower by conducting these discussions remotely. In 2022, analysts will be increasingly looking to move towards these two-way discussions and further from the standard briefing model. As you look to strengthen your communications strategy in the initial planning stages, be sure and take them up on this.
As with most things, analyst relations doesn’t look like it used to, and it’ll continue to evolve into the new year. But regardless of how the medium shifts, understanding what type of information resonates most with analysts, how to maximize the full breadth of their capabilities, and when to bring them into your strategy development will ensure you reap the full value of both your investment and their expertise.