It was my pleasure to be part of organising the IIAR webinar on February 17th which announced the launch of the IIAR’s German chapter. As someone who has studied and worked in Germany, it’s been interesting to understand the specific challenges of German businesses and analysts, and how that changes the tasks for analyst relations professionals.
The IIAR is planning a April meet-up in Munich, the southern city that’s the main hub for analyst relations professionals in Germany. This will be an informal Stammtisch, and a great opportunity to compare experiences at CeBIT.
CeBIT was the main focus of the IIAR call today, and was great example of collaborative discussions about what’s possible at CeBIT and, perhaps more important to understandably what is not possible. It’s not only at CeBIT that international vendors try to approach analysts in Germany as if they aren’t busy people with already-full agenda.
My colleague Sven Litke puts this well: “Try to give your company a face, but not the whole story”. He has a great tip too: engage with the analyst firms’ sales reps at shows, because often the analysts are ‘minded’ by salespeople at events like this, and the salesperson greatly influences the analysts’ agendas. Sven reminds us that CeBIT is also a great opportunity to meet a lot of analysts from smaller firms, whom you might not ordinarily meet with.
CeBIT is such a hectic time, that it’s only a way to seed an analyst relations programme or a way to have a additional connection. Vendors who think they can fly into Germany to cover off the whole analyst community there are sadly mistaken. CeBIT is just a nice boost to relationships. On the webinar, Simon Jones discussed how some spokespeople can be booked up end to end with analysts, but the interactions were weak: the US executives would dive into meat of the solution, every half hour on the half hour, without trying to build relationships which could be maintained in the intervening year. On the other hand, Yvonne Kaupp shared her experience that while Germany firms have huge expectations relating to CeBIT but international firms don’t have the experience, and perhaps might not even consider taking CeBIT seriously. As Horst Kuchling explained, the trade press is massively powerful at CeBIT (and, indeed, analysts’ comments to the trade press at CeBIT have a lot of impact).
I think that it’s observations like these which show that an IIAR chapter in Germany has huge value for IIAR members outside Germany. The federal republic is Europe’s biggest market, and AR professionals outside Germany are often unaware of the realities.