Analysts’ opinions shape the most authoritative discussions in the technology and telecoms industries, both online and offline. That’s why analyst relations should be an essential element of both B2B and B2C marketing. Sadly, the profession of analyst relations is struggling because both analyst relations and influencer marketing approaches have not been well enough connected to lead generation. We need to evolve and to keep our place in the development of marketing communications.
Analyst relations teams are being increasingly stretched by analysts’ demands. We are working more reactively than proactively. In many firms, AR is retreating to its comfort zone traditional core: increasing the volume of information dissemination to improve analyst coverage and (hopefully) test messages.
Influencer50 exemplified early influencer relations strategies. It maps the influencer landscape through something like social network analysis. Social media complicates this task, since its ease of availability can push firms towards monitoring, and taking part in, only the online conversation: influencers’ personal opinions are often made, and reflected, offline.
Heidi Schall showed in Social Media in Influencer Relations how the growth of social media has amplified the role of analysts and placed them centrally in the influencer landscape. Star analysts have strong personal brands and more vibrancy than impersonal corporate brands. The analysts’ use of social media allows them to grow from being trusted advisors to also a dominant driver of online conversations.
While Schall is entirely correct, I think the challenge is that AR has more to learn from content marketing than from influencer relations. AR teams need to focus more on the real outputs of the analysts’ work and to see how that content can be used to generate conversations. As Doug Kessler says: traditional marketing talks at people; content marketing talks with them.