What makes great AR consultants different?

Our AR consultants help vendors to better allocate their analyst relations effort. Efrem Mallach’s action research methodology, IDEAL, gives AR teams the information they need to increase their mindshare with analysts.

Since the 1980s, Efrem and his colleagues have been helping vendors to build their brand and win more sales recommendations from industry analysts by targetting the most influential analysts and helping AR teams to use the right balance of methods.

Our AR consultants are different from less experienced providers for four reasons.

  1. Unlike all other consultancies, our senior consultants have worked for major analyst firms, like Datapro, Forrester, Gartner, GfK, IDC, META and Ovum. That means that we do understand how the research and advisory process differs at each firm and that we don’t over-emphasize any one firm. It also allows us to reverse-engineer the research process and to predict the obstacles and tactics that vendors need to anticipate.
  2. Unlike one-country consultancies, our consultants are on the ground in Asia/Pacific, the US, the UK and continental Europe. We are a global team that understands how communication methods can be adapted substantially between countries. Our local experts can help firms to hit the ground running. Furthermore, our deep statistical analysis of unique research and survey data helps vendors to pinpoint big differences between what effective AR methods are in one region, and how they need to be different elsewhere.
  3. Unlike would-be AR gurus, we think AR managers’ success comes from more objective information than from individual experience and myth history. We estimate that each year we conduct more research into analysts and the analyst industry than all of our competitors combined. That allows us to sell information, not opinion, in order to encourage clients to become more self-sufficient when developing their strategies. We also track analyst firms and analysts, to help vendors to understand their different interests and influence. We develop innovative research methods that show how buyers and vendors use analysts.
  4. Unlike media relations agencies, we have observed that, on average, most AR effort is wasted on analysts who don’t influence clients audiences. Analysts who are most frequently cited by journalists tend to have a lower-than-average influence on corporate technology buyers. Indeed, most analysts have little real influence on buyers and should be allocated appropriate resources. Sadly, many agencies sell hours and fill quotas, and that means that they will often prioritize easy analysts on whom major effort should not be extended. In practice, even AR specialists in media relations agencies have to trade with colleagues and clients whose main interest is getting quotes from any analyst. By instead focusing on analysts with impact, companies using the IDEAL methodology can dramatically improve their mindshare in the analyst community.

Of course, this approach doesn’t suit every vendor. Most AR managers are not brave enough to use unbiased measurements or to have the strong and weak points of their AR programmes clearly indicated. We, therefore, find that a very tight segment of firms can get the most out of our approach: large multinationals with open measurement cultures that have realized the complexity of international AR.

These firms have one urgent need: to discover how to focus their AR on objective results. Because they need to show real results, they need to select the best tactics, put most effort into relationships with the most influential analysts and track the results. That is what our team helps its clients to do.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.

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  1. November 15, 2008, 1:26 pm

    […] in that way, reduce the scope of their tasks. We’ve argued that most AR effort is wasted (here, here, here and here). Many attempts to tier analysts are well intentioned but mistakenly focus on […]