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. Here’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. It’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 individual’s overall AR practitioner knowledge. Currently, it requires passing a written test. This designation is the AR equivalent of PRSA’s Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and IABC’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:

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 – KCG – provided its entire certification test to the IIAR as raw input.

Training is mandatory for certs from each of the three AR consultancies – 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

IIAR KCG Lighthouse AR SageCircle
Features
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
None needed;
runs from intro to advanced level
Intro,
intermediate & master courses
None needed; starts at intro level
Written Test Required Required No No
Training No Required Required Required
Languages Available English English English, German English
Printed Cert Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Per Person Free to IIAR members;
Others: £100
$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

Cert Programs Topics
iiar-logo
  • Detailed knowledge of the industry analyst industry and AR best practices
kcg-logo1
  • Comprehensive understanding of AR professional skills, best practices and processes
lighthousear-logo1
  • Intro to AR
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • Messaging & Influencing Analysts
  • Selling AR Internally
sagecircle-logo
  • AR Social Media Strategy
  • AR Measurement
  • AR-Sales Partnership
  • AR Effectiveness
  • Strategic Issues

  

3. Comparing Options in Testing & Training

IIAR KCG Lighthouse AR SageCircle
Cert Testing
Length of Written Test 120 questions 52 questions - -
Test Format Online, timed Pre-printed, take home, unlimited completion time - -
Test Pass Rate 70% 90% - -
Re-test Option Yes Yes - -
Cert Training
Training Venue - In person, live webcast or online In person or
live webcast
In person or
live webcast
Duration of Each Course - 1 day (8 hours) 5 hours 5 - 8 hours

  

4. Comparing AR Cert Program Activity

IIAR KCG Lighthouse AR SageCircle
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: What’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. I’ll update the post accordingly.

Popularity: 8%

Barbara on September 14th, 2009

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.

Popularity: 7%

Barbara on July 23rd, 2007

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:

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

Popularity: 3%

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

Popularity: 1%

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

Popularity: 2%

Barbara on September 20th, 2004

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

Popularity: 1%