Remember, analysts also value the relationship

Many thanks to a senior researcher in an international analyst firm for allowing me to share this comment with you: it gives a great flavour of the frustrations of many industry analysts…

Some companies have such poor AR. There is one very big vendor who is infamous in our market for having the laziest AR in existence. She never gets you interviews, she never even replies half the time. The best she ever does is send you pre-written marketing shit which you can’t use. We all go behind her back to a well known expert in their company who gives us what we need or over her head to senior mgt. I thought it was just me but I compared notes with other analysts and even journalists and they all confirmed that she was rubbish and that they used similar tactics.

A senior analyst I work with over in the States reckoned he’d cracked this company because he had a mate who had joined them in a senior position – but he hit the AR wall as well. he really thought he was going to crack this vendor and he even raised our hopes and then the big thump when he hit *the wall* aka AR lady. Two weeks later she still hadn’t replied to him despite the intro from a senior mgt mate… (I had to laugh though because we’ve all been there with her!).

Please do the industry a favour and run an AR of the year comp. I know you can’t very well name and shame but may be if these big companies are never in the top 100 for AR they will get the message and do something about it. Please don’t think we just moan about ARs though: when I get really good AR service I always try to tell senior mgt in the company that the AR is doing a really good job. Positive reinforcement and feedback should eventually raise standards I hope…

If you’re already doing this can I please vote as I have lots of suggestions…

I think people should realise that this is a professional job and not everyone is good at it. The internal view of a member of staff – she’s really nice etc etc – is not always the external view – yes she’s really nice but she never ever delivers. After all we are the consumers of their services and no-one has *ever* asked me how I rate their AR. Not very customer-focused or self-aware is it?

Another tale of AR (oh I have enough to write a small novelette!): a US vendor that I deal with had this formidable AR/PR lady. We met after I complained to their CEO. Basically I had rung their office and asked to speak to their press contact and said I was writing a report and wanted to cover them. The woman at the other end of the phone said: ‘no, go away’ and put the phone down. I was needless to say quite offended. So I emailed the CEO and said that if they were more polite to analysts they might get more coverage, and now I knew why they were hardly known in Europe.

Enter formidable AR/PR lady. She said a marketing temp had answered the phone and thought I was trying to sell them an entry in some sort of directory and hadn’t understood that I was a serious analyst (dunno whether I believe that, but take a deep breath) but that they’d had a meeting the week before at C level to talk about how they could get us to cover them more – then I ring up out of the blue and get blasted. At the time I was research director, so I was one of their top 3 targets to get attention from. She said she definitely wanted to work with me and was grateful I’d bothered to complain rather than just walk away. She delivered the goods with no fuss and over the years we worked together lots of times really well. Every time I needed info or an interview I got it, efficiently and spot on what I needed.

Then she moved companies and I stopped covering her old company because the replacement was rubbish. Nice but rubbish. Moral = just as ARs form relationships with analysts that move with them when they move jobs; so analysts do the same with ARs. That means that when ARs move there is a ‘churn’ opportunity and if the company isn’t aware of that they could lose a lot of valuable relationships.

Another time we’ll have to continue this conversation about the dark side of AR… like what some ARs are getting up to trying to convince naïve analysts to cover them. Would make your hair curl! And the one about how one AR thought she had formed a good relationship with an analyst. Only to find the analyst make a pretty crude attempt to pick her up. Dedication to duty only goes so far I say. And then there’s all the AR-analyst affairs… I’d like to see that on a few analyst company rulebooks – as currently you can’t accept a pencil because that’s corruption but there’s nothing to stop you sleeping with the AR. Then there’s the bullying… Oh where do we stop?

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.

There is 1 comment on this post
  1. January 12, 2009, 4:40 pm

    I just spotted an interesting (anonymous) FURL comment on this post: “Sometimes what analysts perceive as lazyness is either risk-avoidance (“protect” hierarchy from outspoken analysts) or a lack of bandwith. The former is damaging in the long run for companies as open conversations help business leaders. The latter can be caused by a focus on internal issues, politics, etc…”