What most AR managers do NOT consider important

Phew! We’ve just finished the number crunching from our readers’ survey. We’ve asked readers to rate the importance of 75 topics covered in analyst relations training courses. Participants have already received the results.

We had an excellent response, with respondents spread fairly evenly between AR managers in telecoms, software, storage and ‘powerhouse’ technology providers. Around a quarter of the data came from AR service providers and consultancies (Lighthouse colleagues did not take the survey).

The data were not normally distributed (for example, we expected to see lots of topics being seen as of average importance but that was not the case). In fact there are a tight cluster of highly-important topics, and then a long tail of less important topics. In fact, that long tail is more interesting that the top-topics. The dozen topics of the least interest to AR managers are principally about techniques:

  • Advance reviewing of briefing collateral
  • Analyst databases and CRM tools
  • Collateral development
  • Developing common budgetting models for influencer activities and events
  • Distribution of analyst research
  • Moral and commercial pressures in AR
  • Overcoming internal resistance to create an integrated approach
  • Peer review methodologies
  • Portals ­ internal for associates, external for analysts
  • Processes, procedures, tasks
  • Public relations firms ­ roles and how to manage
  • Understanding the wider influencer community

However, it’s fascinating that moral and commercial pressures is rated so low. Some vendors and analyst firms engage in the sort of tough love that would look inexcusable to some outsiders. In many businesses, ideas about morality really reflect what is legal in the firm’s domestic market. In the US, for example, even the most respected book on international business ethics skips over dumpster diving because of its general legality. The flip-side also crops up, when acting ethically is illegal. Few business have strong safeguards that defend themselves against reputation risks. We think that should be higher on AR managers’ agendas, and even higher on the to-do lists of their directors.

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