How to Identify and Prioritize Key Industry Analysts for Your Business

Navigating the intricate landscape of industry analysis can pose challenges, particularly when deciding which analysts to engage with for optimal business benefit. Identifying and prioritizing the right industry analysts is integral to a successful analyst relations strategy. The vast pool of analysts in various sectors, each with their unique insights, networks, and spheres of influence, adds to the complexity of the selection process. This article aims to provide a structured approach to this task, offering guidelines on conducting comprehensive research, prioritizing analysts based on relevant parameters, and creating a targeted list for engagement. By applying these strategies, analyst relations professionals can focus their resources more effectively and foster relationships that can significantly impact their organization’s market positioning.

Conducting thorough research to identify relevant analysts:

The process of identifying key industry analysts begins with thorough research. A comprehensive understanding of the analyst landscape within your business sector is critical in discerning who could play a significant role in shaping your organization’s image and its audience’s strategic decisions.

It is advisable first to gain a broad view of the analysts covering your sector. This involves listing analyst firms with a presence in your industry and identifying individual analysts within these firms who focus on your specific sector. A range of resources can be used for this, including the analyst firms’ websites, research publications, blogs, webinars, and social media channels. I’m especially fond of using the Analyst Value Survey, Architect, Meltwater and Onalytica.

Once a broad list is established, the focus should shift to identifying those analysts whose work is most relevant to your organization. Look at the topics they cover, the depth and breadth of their knowledge, and their specialization areas. Analysts’ bios, published research, and areas of interest often available on their or their firm’s website can be particularly enlightening.

An analyst’s reach—both in terms of their follower base and the type of audience they attract—is another crucial factor. This comes down to four key factors: the relevance and reach of both the analyst and the firm they work for. Examining the platforms they use to disseminate their insights, their participation in industry events, and their follower base on social media channels can give an indication of their reach.

Regular tracking of the analysts’ published work, social media activity, and public appearances can provide insights into their current focus areas, recent work, and industry perspectives. This activity tracking helps identify analysts actively shaping conversations with your target audience around topics pertinent to your business.

This stage aims to create a list of analysts whose focus areas align with your organization, who have a voice in the industry, and who engage with an audience that matters to your business. By conducting meticulous research, organizations can ensure they are targeting the most relevant industry analysts. This lays the groundwork for the next stage: prioritizing these analysts based on several key parameters.

Prioritizing analysts based on influence, expertise, and audience:

After identifying a list of potentially relevant analysts, the next step is prioritization. Not all analysts hold the same weight regarding their influence, expertise, and the audience they command. It’s imperative to prioritize them based on these factors to optimize your engagement strategy.

Evaluate Influence: Influence in the analyst world is a composite measure of an analyst’s credibility, visibility, and the respect they command within their field. Evaluating an analyst’s influence involves assessing their body of work, the quality of their research, their reputation within the industry, and the reach of their communication channels. How do they shape public opinion? Do their insights drive industry trends or influence strategic decision-making? The answers to these questions can help gauge an analyst’s influence.

Assess Expertise: Expertise refers to the depth of an analyst’s knowledge in specific areas relevant to your organization. Look at their specialization, their track record in covering your industry sector, and the insights they have provided in the past. An analyst with deep expertise in your domain is likely to have a better understanding of your organization and can thus provide more nuanced analysis.

Determine Audience: Understanding the audience that an analyst commands is also vital. Does their audience consist of decision-makers, influencers, or potential customers in your industry? An analyst who commands the attention of your target audience becomes more valuable in your analyst relations strategy.

Relevance to Your Objectives: Your business objectives should also play a significant role in your prioritization process. If your aim is to gain visibility, an analyst with a broad reach may be the priority. If you are seeking insights to guide strategic decisions, an analyst known for deep-dive analysis may be more relevant.

Prioritize Analysts: Based on these factors, rank the analysts in your list. Keep in mind that the process is dynamic— an analyst’s relevance can change over time due to shifts in industry trends, changes in your organization’s objectives, or an evolution in the analyst’s focus. As such, your prioritization should be revisited and updated regularly.

This process will yield a prioritized list of analysts who align with your strategic objectives, command influence, exhibit deep expertise, and cater to an audience relevant to your organization. This list is a crucial tool in guiding your engagement strategy, which leads us to the next phase: creating a target list of analysts to engage with.

Creating a target list of analysts to engage with:

Once you’ve identified and prioritized relevant industry analysts, the next strategic step is to create a target list of analysts to engage with. This list becomes your roadmap for relationship building and continuous engagement.

Start by incorporating your highest-priority analysts into your target list. These are the individuals whose influence, expertise, and audience most strongly align with your business objectives. However, your target list shouldn’t only include top-tier analysts. It’s also beneficial to include upcoming or niche analysts who, while they may not have the same reach, could offer unique insights or access to specific audience segments.

Recognize that each analyst is unique, with their own set of interests, working style, and communication preferences. Personalizing your engagement to accommodate these differences can prove advantageous. Make a note of these elements for each analyst on your list, as they will guide your communication and relationship-building efforts.

Successful analyst relations is not about one-off interactions, but ongoing dialogue. Your target list should serve as the basis for a long-term engagement plan. This involves providing analysts with regular updates about your organization, seeking their insights, and involving them in relevant events or briefings.

Keep in mind that the analyst landscape, like any industry, is dynamic. New influencers emerge, and areas of expertise can shift with changing trends. As such, it’s essential to periodically review and update your target list to ensure it remains aligned with your objectives.

Creating a target list of analysts to engage with is a crucial step in establishing productive analyst relations. It provides a clear, strategic direction and helps you make the most of your engagement efforts. However, remember that the value of this list lies in how you use it – the relationships you build, the insights you gain, and the reputation you cultivate in the analyst community.

Prioritizing and Engaging with Key Industry Analysts

The process of identifying and prioritizing key industry analysts is a vital aspect of an effective analyst relations strategy. Thorough research is essential to understanding the analyst landscape and identifying those analysts who align with your business objectives. Prioritizing analysts based on their influence, expertise, and audience helps allocate your resources effectively and focus on building relationships with the most impactful individuals.

Creating a target list of analysts serves as a roadmap for engagement. This list should include a mix of high-profile analysts with broad reach as well as niche experts with specialized knowledge. Personalizing your engagement and nurturing long-term relationships are crucial for sustained success in analyst relations.

It’s important to periodically review and revise your target list to adapt to changing industry dynamics and evolving business objectives. The analyst landscape is dynamic, and new analysts may emerge who can bring valuable insights to your organization.

Remember, the value of your target list lies in how you engage with the analysts on it. Building strong relationships, seeking insights, and involving analysts in relevant activities will enable you to leverage their expertise and influence to positively impact your organization’s market positioning.

Duncan Chapple