[tweetmeme source=”loudyoutloud” only_single=false]
My colleague, Fred McClimans, and I hosted another stimulating discussion today on our Twitter #archat. #archat, for those of you reading this for the first time, is a Twitter conversation channel for analysts, media relations, analyst relations, investor relations, marketing, and other “influencer” business professionals interested in sharing best practices about the industry analyst community.
The Twitter session centered on a major and pressing theme in the analyst relations community: “Why analyst relations and marketing must work together to validate strategic messaging.” The chat generated more than 40 unique visitors and more than 200 tweets. See the full transcript here: http://wthashtag.com/transcript.php?page_id=11766&start_date=2010-08-10&end_date=2010-08-10&export_type=HTML.
The consensus from the chat is that most AR pros agree that they need to work in collaboration with their product and marketing teams to test and validate their new solutions with “influential” analysts weeks and perhaps months ahead of time. The result: Your company can take this analyst feedback and fine-tune its strategy before it hits the market with the formal press release.
There’s also strong sentiment that the AR community should control which analysts are specifically targeted for messaging, strategy and consulting sessions. This makes logical sense since AR pros are more experienced in this area of the business.
To that end, message testing and validation is a true art because it allows the AR pro to truly maximize analysts’ thoughts, opinions and recommendations and feel like they are part of molding a company’s strategy.
My advice is to always target those analysts who you trust and will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about your new product or strategy.
There were quite a few debates on today’s chat on whether these analysts are “friendly” or not. Does this really matter after all? One analyst quipped that “friendly” analysts are those who aren’t afraid to tell you that you are full of BS. That’s true but I personally think “friendly” is a misnomer.
An analyst, friend or foe, has a prime role and responsibility in telling a company how he/she feels about a product/solution during a message testing session. And this feedback is critical in helping a company re-mold its strategy before a major product or solution launch. One caveat expressed on this chat however: Many analysts expressed the opinion that “messaging” and “testing” are two separate initiatives that need to be part of a company’s overall analyst strategy.
One of my esteemed AR colleagues summed it up best by saying, “there are some analysts who can help build your messages, some that can tear them down, but both can make it better.”
In my experience, analysts like the message testing and validation process because they feel like they are helping a company make important decisions about its strategy and messaging. One analyst said: “Friendly analysts will deliver honest feedback and criticism–hopefully helping you to avoid problems later!”
Bottom line: If you tier, rank and prioritize your analysts based on this best practice, the message testing process is a ‘win-win’ for all involved — the analysts briefed on the strategy and the company’s marketing and product groups.
You can also view many of the thoughts on this chat by viewing my Twitter handle (http://twitter.com/LoudyOutLoud), reading Fred’s blog: http://fredmcclimans.com/ or checking out what the hashtag?! at http://wthashtag.com/archat.