Interested in certification as an analyst relations professional? Looking for an analyst relations training course with benefits, such as a certificate of completion? If so, you have several choices for obtaining credentials. Hereâ€™s how four AR cert programs stack up, including who offers them, who can take them, what the programs cover, and how much they cost. Plus, some closing thoughts on ROI and funding.
Certification v. certificate of completion
Analyst relations professionals can obtain two types of credentials. Itâ€™s important to understand the difference between a certification and a certificate of completion.
Accreditation as a certified Analyst Relations professional: Certification is intended to provide proof of an individualâ€™s overall AR practitioner knowledge. Currently, it requires passing a written test. This designation is the AR equivalent of PRSAâ€™s Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and IABCâ€™s Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) credentials.
Certificate of completion: A certificate of completion provides documented proof that an individual successfully completed a professional development training course in AR. Currently, it does not require passing a written test. This is the AR equivalent of a certificate of completion for a class at a vocational school or college.
The providers: who offers AR certification, training certificates
One professional association and three AR consulting companies offer AR certs:
- Institute for Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) offers a test to become a Certified Analyst Relations Professional
- Knowledge Capital Group (KCG) offers training with an optional a test to become a Certified Industry Analyst Relations Professional
- Lighthouse AR offers a Certificate of Completion for each of 4 training courses
- SageCircle offers a Certificate of Completion for each of 5 training courses
The IIAR is the only cert provider that does not require candidates to purchase a training course. Instead, the IIAR tests on knowledge they say is best gained on the job and by staying current with the worldwide industry analyst business.
Another difference with the IIAR is that its certification test reflects input from the other 3 cert providers as well as from experienced practitioner members. One consultancy â€“ KCG â€“ provided its entire certification test to the IIAR as raw input.
Training is mandatory for certs from each of the three AR consultancies â€“ KCG, Lighthouse AR and SageCircle. These programs emphasize professional development first; certs are an important yet secondary aspect of their programs. The certification test is an option with KCG. Participants can take the KCG course without completing the certification test.
Attendees will encounter differences in the proprietary courses taught by KCG, Lighthouse AR and SageCircle. Differences can include AR terminology and some of the advocated best practices, tactics and program measurements.
1. Comparing AR Cert Programs at a Glance
|Certification as AR Professional||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Certificate of Completion||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Certs Offered||1 lifetime professional certification||1 lifetime professional certification||Certificates of completion
in 4 courses
|Certificates of completion
in 5 courses
|Suggested experience level||2-3 years FT or
3-4 years PT
runs from intro to advanced level
intermediate & master courses
|None needed; starts at intro level|
|Languages Available||English||English||English, German||English|
|Cost Per Person||Free to IIAR members;
|$1,200; group discount||$1,250 per course; group discount||$495 - $995 per course; group discount|
|Study Materials Included||No||Presentations, workbook, copy
of KCG’s book “Influencing the Influencers”
|Presentations, workbook, copy of Efrem Mallach’s book “Win Them Over”||Presentations, workbook, online library|
|Add’l Items Bundled in Price||1 re-test, if needed||Private inhouse training||Private inhouse training; 1-year IIAR membership; Framed large-format certificate of completion||Private inhouse training; Framed certificate of completion|
2. Comparing the Topical Focus of AR Cert Programs
3. Comparing Options in Testing & Training
|Length of Written Test||120 questions||52 questions||-||-|
|Test Format||Online, timed||Pre-printed, take home, unlimited completion time||-||-|
|Test Pass Rate||70%||90%||-||-|
|Training Venue||-||In person, live webcast or online||In person or
|In person or
|Duration of Each Course||-||1 day (8 hours)||5 hours||5 - 8 hours|
4. Comparing AR Cert Program Activity
|Cert Program Started||Oct 2009||2004||2006||2008|
|Content Refreshed||As needed or Annually||Continuously||Annually||Quarterly|
|Total No. of Certs Issued||Very few||500+||40 - 50||Declined to comment|
Bottomline: Whatâ€™s the ROI?
None of the providers offers ROI analysis or compelling case studies justifying investments in AR certs. Aside from the IIAR, the providers said that the real value is in the experience of their training courses, rather than in obtaining the actual cert.
In addition, awareness of these certs is very low outside of AR circles. None of the four providers is promoting their certs directly to vendor management or to the high tech marketing industry at large. As a result, making the case to management for the time and money required falls squarely on the AR practitioner.
So what is the value of getting a certificate or being certified as an Analyst Relations professional? The four providers say the value lies in:
- Increasing individual confidence and respect within the AR community
- Raising the standards of the AR profession
- Creating competitive advantage for individual recruitment and promotion
- Establishing a companywide common denominator in AR knowledge, vernacular, practices and processes
- Meeting company or association requirements for ongoing professional development
- Tapping into company funds earmarked for professional development
Please add any other AR certificate or certification programs in the comments. Iâ€™ll update the post accordingly.
Influencer relations programs focus on 1-to-1 relationships and therefore can be resource-intensive. So it’s a good idea to figure out where you can achieve economies of scale and how to go about doing it. Here are 3 areas with big potential.
Flexible, modular playbooks. A grand plan may work well with a handful of influencers, but it won’t scale across geographies or different types of influencers. Instead, do what the software programmers do. Develop program components that can be reused again and again in various combinations and with minimal tailoring. Communications people have been doing this for decades with collateral. Apply the same principle to influencer interactions.
Examples might include guidelines for an introductory phone call with an influencer, requesting and capturing feedback from influencers on important market issues, producing speaker panels mixing different types of influencers, and templates for frequency and mix of influencer outreach.
Training. Influencer relations requires a baseline of people skills plus some specialty skills. Distance learning, mentoring and shadowing offer different levels of scalability. Distance learning and mentoring offer greater scalability for local and remote one-to-many training. Shadowing is less scalable yet more effective. This approach matches learners with masters, enabling them to observe each other engage with influencers in the real world.
A combination of these 3 models is best, company culture allowing. And, if you’re serious about scalability, couple any or all of these methods with a collaborative knowledge base.
Monitoring. Centralized procurement can help negotiate better pricing on the products and services used for monitoring influencers. You need to listen online and offline. That means monitoring across digital (and possibly physical) media, virtual and physical events, and virtual and physical communities. For multinational programs, consider negotiating with a short list of providers. That’s still the best way to secure consistent levels of quality and coverage across different languages and cultures.
Dr. Efrem Mallach has released the 20th anniversary edition of his original and definitive guide to high tech industry analyst relations. His new book, “Win Them Over: A Survival Guide for Corporate Analyst Relations/Consultant Relations Programs” (ISBN-10: 090637801X, ISBN-13: 978-0906378014) is described and sold at Amazon. I’m inclined to think that it is even better than the original. However, I’m stunned by the lofty price and annoyed at the stealth-like release.
The list price for Win Them Over is $500. New and used are priced at $427.07. That’s completely out of line with the other analyst relations books available today on the market. Each book has earned solid reviews by outstanding analyst relations professionals as an excellent source of information on AR best practices, terminology and basic strategy for vendors and agencies. These books include:
- Getting Results from your Analyst Relations Strategies by Louis Columbus (about $12.00 for hardcopy)
- Influencing the Influencers by Bill Hopkins (about $50 for hardcopy)
- Maximizing the Value of Analyst Relations by Geoff Roach and Lisa Perri (about $41 for PDF).
I still have my original copy of Dr. Mallach’s first book. I am willing to speculate that this new 20th anniversary edition of Win Them Over is packed with advice and information nuggets of interest to analyst relations practioners. However, I am not willing to recommend it — or any hardcopy book about analyst relations — at this price.
Excerpted from Tekrati
Building mindshare and momentum with IT industry analysts is not just a matter of luck — it requires knowledge, insight and understanding. To help Asia/Pacific high tech vendor teams achieve these, Intelligen and Lighthouse Analyst Relations will hold their inaugural Singapore training course on August 15, 2005 at the Rendezvous Hotel.
The one-day workshop will address key issues involved in building and measuring a successful industry analyst relations program for the Asia/Pacific region. The interactive workshop will be lead by Dr Efrem Mallach, principal of Lighthouse Analyst Relations and former co-founder of the Kensington Group, and Dave Noble, founder of Intelligen and Asia/Pacific principal of Lighthouse Analyst Relations. Mr. Noble is a former HP analyst relations director and earlier was an analyst with IDC.
The cost to attend the course is $S1,950 (or $A1,495 or $US1,175) per head, which covers course materials and lunch. Multiple attendees from the same company receive a discount. Registration, more info at Lighthouse AR events listings at Acteva.
Reprinted from Tekrati
Alan Weinkrantz and Company will hold its annual Public Relations/Analyst Relations seminar in Tel Aviv on Monday, June 20th. Sponsored by PR Newswire and entitled “How to Effectively Develop Your Message and Reach Out to The U.S. Media and Industry Analysts”, the seminar will focus on the process of developing a company’s message and executing an effective PR program in order to generate media coverage and industry credibility.
The seminar is geared toward CEOs and senior level marketing and communications executives who are facing the challenges of effectively reaching influential media, analysts, and opinion leaders. It is designed to provide attendees with the knowledge and insight needed to be increasingly effective in managing their company’s media and analysts relations programs.
Find registration contacts and more information at Alan’s blog. Source: PR Newswire and Alan Weinkrantz PR Web Log.
Reprinted from Tekrati
Joshua Reynolds, who heads the Global Analyst Relations practice at Hill & Knowlton, joins the roster of speakers tapped for the next San Francisco Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and PG&E “Workshop ‘Til You Drop” program. The event takes place Tuesday, November 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the PG&E conference facility at 77 Beale Street in San Francisco.
Registrants will be able to choose four from a total of 23 workshops, ranging from the strategic to the purely tactical. The program promises a special focus on communicating with diverse audiences, with sessions on relationship building, multicultural marketing and community outreach.
Tickets cost $50 to $150. Pre-registration is required. As of this posting, you can register online at PRSA.
Reprinted from Tekrati