There’s one sad story I hear pretty much every week. It goes like this: “We meet the analysts regularly at events, brief them and feel we have a good relationship… and yet our MQ (or Wave) results simply don’t match our market abilities. We just don’t see what else we could be doing.”
Does this sound familiar? If so, let me share an insight we have gleaned from many years’ experience, first as Gartner analysts and more recently here at The Skills Connection.
The Four Ps As You Know and Love Them
You see, this issue is really much the same as your sales people wailing “We have all the right channels and we talk to prospects every day, but we’re simply not meeting our targets.” When this happens, many of us will automatically start thinking back to that old stalwart – the 4Ps (or however many today’s number might be). If it’s not about Place (“Am I engaged in the right channels?”), then the explanation could be weaknesses relating to Price, Promotion or the Product itself.
And there’s the answer to the problem, right there. Because, when it comes to analyst engagement, the analyst is your target buyer and the four Ps apply in exactly the same way.
Applying the Four Ps to Analyst Engagement
Place: Yes, certainly. If you are not speaking to the analysts, if you are not briefing them, if you are not meeting them at events (and making full use of your inquiry privileges, if you are a customer), then it is unlikely your message will ever get across and stick. But all that is by no means enough.
In most cases, it will be the other three Ps that make the difference.
Product: Let’s start with the big one. In so many cases, what we see are briefings and other efforts at communication that are simply standard marketing and sales messages. They are concocted out of press materials or sales collateral, re-ordered and repackaged, maybe, but still based on the same target messages. The problem is that this is a very different target audience. The analyst’s objective, and hence need, is not the same as that of a journalist or blogger, a customer or a prospect. If you want results, you need to assemble a package of information that’s geared specifically to what the analyst is looking for. And the clues to that will have come from sharp, careful listening during all the Place-work contacts mentioned above.
Price OK, so no actual cash changes hands, despite the whispers you may sometimes hear. But price has an absolute relevance here. Is what you are selling as your story, your case, something that is compelling for the analyst to buy? Or are you simply peddling your wares? You need to give the analyst something useful. Are you providing research value? There’s a report to be written. If you can invest in digging out fresh market information and insights to share with the analyst, you will add value and win the buy-in you need.
Promotion Last, but not least, there’s the promotion of your market story. Again, this is an area where we see many companies fail badly. Why? Because you have a million things to tell the analyst. You feel the urge to include every fine detail – every damn thing, including the kitchen sink. And what happens if you try to tell people everything? They hear nothing. Nothing stands out. Nothing cuts through. It’s all noise, in a world that already has a massive amount of yammering, chattering, distracting noise. Your job is to focus the message. What is the key point you are promoting? Decide on that and then use every channel you’ve got to promote it powerfully and consistently. Think Apple selling you iAnythings. Think BMW selling you status.
So if you are one of those companies that’s busily pressing the flesh but not getting the results you need from your engagement with the analysts, you need to go back to basics. It’s Marketing 101 time again. Don’t blame yourself and don’t blame the analysts. Just make sure you’re covering Place, Product, Price and Promotion – we’ll deal with Pragmatism, Psychology and Philosophy some other day.