AR Classics: Identifying and Measuring Impact and Influence

How can analysts in non-traditional, freemium, analyst firms prove their value, and how should analyst relations professionals respond to their growing impact? Until analysts start to track their impact in the fullest way, they will always be underestimated by suppliers in the high technology and telecommunications industries. Back in 2015, when this was posted, Edelman’s office in Silicon Valley had several analyst relations experts, including Grace Angulo (who worked on this article) and Armi Banaria. Since they and the article are no longer there, we thought we’d repost it. the past few years, the Edelman Analyst Relations team has noticed a shift in the industry analyst space. The lines between media, analysts and other influencers are becoming blurrier than ever before. We have been seeing this shift with the media happening for a while now, however the analyst world has also changed significantly. Several new analyst research firms have created non-traditional business models of sharing research for free, which has disrupted the way large traditional firms like Gartner, Forrester and IDC operate and make money.

Because of this shift in the industry, the Edelman AR team, like many other analyst relations clients and professionals, has rebranded itself to reflect the increasingly broader role it plays in the influencer landscape as the Edelman Analyst Influencer Relations (AIR) Team.

More than ever before, the role of communications professionals has become more complex and challenging particularly as related to showing real-time value and metrics.

Traditionally, industry analysts would measure the value of their influence on a particular industry by tracking the number of research reports that are published coupled with their involvement in developing things like segment taxonomies, market forecasts and overall trends analyses. Analysts would validate their influence by the number of clients they secured, inquiry and briefing requests scheduled and popularity of their research.

To seek answers and bring the conversation to light, the Edelman AIR team hosted an industry panel event in our Silicon Valley office called Edelman Influence Now. We brought together communicators and industry analysts to bring the discussion to the forefront. The AIR team was surprised to find out that even though the analysts’ methods of communicating with their audience has grown and changed, the metrics by which they measure themselves in the industry has not changed. The analysts still measure their impact and influence in the industry by the number of research published, clients secured and inquiry and briefings scheduled. In addition, they are also tracking the number of retweets, shares and views via social channels.

With the continued growth of social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn, analysts started to recognize that they could connect with a broader audience through these different channels to help foster regular dialogue and a constant sharing of ideas. Analysts no longer had to solely rely on setting up meetings with vendors to get information for the research they were conducting.

As a result of this ability to reach a broader audience through the different communications methods, many analysts were noticing that:

  • they had to develop different personas on each social channel, tailored not only to their individual interests but also suited for that channel’s audience;
  • while they might not be active on a social channel such as Twitter, they were using their feeds to remain updated on the different conversations related to their research agenda and potentially spark new ideas;
  • after time, they were able to build personal relationships with vendors that led to more open conversations and encouraged honest discussions.

Ultimately, not only did the analysts measurement metrics not changed much, but their goals have also remained the same: To create and share research findings and provide impactful advice, in order to strategically influence their clients. The main differences emerging involve sharing their research and gathering information using a variety of different channels.

The Edelman AIR team believes that at some point in the near future, analysts and other influencers will need to find new ways to measure their impact and influence in the industry as their communication methods and audience continues to grow.

Guest Author

AR Classics is a series of posts on Influencer Relations that aims to keep online important contributions to analyst relations. These are articles of lasting value by a range of authors, mostly published between 1995 and 2005.