Barbara on March 16th, 2001

Ready to rally the troops for analyst briefings? Don’t operate that briefing apparatus under the influence of the 5 Myths About Analyst Briefings.

Myth 1. “Analyst briefings are part of a press relations strategy.”

Reality:
Analyst briefings are integral to market intelligence, visibility and validation, and are part of ongoing industry relations.

Many industry and business publications require at least one industry analyst reference as part of their investigative reporting practices. In other words, analyst references are a pre-requisite for press coverage. Briefing analysts for this purpose alone is simply bad business.

To put this in context, the same publications also require at least one customer reference. Are sales practices designed primarily to get press coverage? Of course not. Sales practices are designed to meet revenue objectives. In the same manner, analyst briefings are designed to meet strategic marketing objectives.

Press coverage is a benefit, not a driver, of analyst relations.

Myth 2. ”During briefings, vendors present and analysts listen.”

Reality:
During briefings, all participants speak, listen, question and think.

Three useful guidelines apply. First, ongoing dialogues typically rule out the need for massive information dumps during briefings.

Second, there is a vast difference between monopolizing briefings and shaping analyst opinions. Finally, if two-way dialogue is not a prime objective, consider packaging the content for email distribution and follow-up. This point also applies to the practice of briefing multiple firms with one conference call.

Myth 3. “Brief only the senior analysts at the largest, most influential firms.”

Reality:
Brief the appropriate associate, junior and senior analysts. Balance invitation lists with large, small and specialized firms.

The analysts are among the most influential individuals and “think tanks” in the industry. Apply the 80:20 rule with care.

Briefing only the senior analysts creates several problems. For example, every organization’s relationship with analysts is largely based on working with the lower-level staff. This includes end-users looking for product recommendations. These less-famous researchers handle a healthy percentage of the daily client inquiries and surveys. Plus, attrition is high among analysts. What happens when analysts leave the firm or change their prime research focus?

Briefing only the “largest, most influential” firms is courting future problems. Define a briefing invitation list that fully addresses business objectives. This includes analyst firms specializing in the types of technologies to be discussed, the customer markets, and the sales channels and solution alliances.

Also, vendors targeting world markets need to brief analysts in all key geographies. This often includes smaller, local firms as well as the regional offices of large firms.

Myth 4. “Analysts need vendor briefings in order to do their jobs.”

Reality:
Approximately 4,000 high tech industry analysts around the world are doing their jobs very well. Chances are, most have never attended a single briefing by your organization.

Let’s cut to the chase: vendors need one-on-one analyst attention much more than the reverse.

From a research perspective, briefings are only one data point for analysts serious about industry research. Analysts review and compare vendor responses to research surveys. They check their internal knowledge base as well as vendor websites for recent product information, downloads, fixes and press releases. They converse with competitors, customers, sales channels, alliances, and “unofficial” contacts within vendor organizations. They review recent coverage in media, newsgroups or forums. They weigh many data points to analyze a vendor’s direction and ability to execute.

Myth 5. “Successful briefings result in favorable analyst reports and press quotes.”

Reality:
Successful briefings build confidence, respect and understanding between analysts and vendors, and help all participants achieve objectives.

Successful briefings achieve several objectives. For vendors, they assure that analysts understand key messages, timelines and proof points. Well-run briefings provide the opportunity to collaborate with analysts on how they ultimately position the content to their clients.

Conclusion
Remember: Every briefing is an opportunity to shape long-lasting opinions, priorities and preferences among the analysts. Or not. The choice is yours.

Reprinted from Tekrati

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