Jeff Kagan: Tips for Briefing Industry Analysts

Jeff Kagan |

communicating with analysts, how to deal with analysts, corporate communication advice, investor relations advice,

Successfully briefing the industry analyst community is key for every company who wants to have a good, strong and positive image in the marketplace. First they must have a positive image with the analyst community. That’s why companies want to brief as many analysts as they can.

However only a very few actually do this correctly and get good results. So let me give you a better understanding of the process and how you can win.

The most successful way would be to get close to every analyst. Easier said than done since most industries have dozens or even hundreds of analysts and firms.

I have been a technology industry analyst for more than 25 years. Many companies have done a good job of working with me on an ongoing basis. Initially briefing me and keeping me up to speed over time.

However many more companies completely fail. It’s so important for every company to understand and get this right and not blow this opportunity.

First, it’s important to understand the analyst community and how it works. There are two distinct groups. One is financial or investment analysts. The other is industry analysts. It’s also important to understand there are many different types within these two groups.

The investment analyst community is typically handled by investor relations. The industry analyst community is typically handled by analyst relations or as part of the marketing organization.

Industry analysts are interested in different things. They have their own distinct groups. Each does things differently. That makes a company’s job harder if it wants to be successful interacting with them all.

Think of the industry analyst community as having two parts. One is smaller group of key analysts, most influential and most important to your company. The other is the much larger group of the entire analyst community that follows your company and your space.

Both groups are important, but they must be handled very differently.

Analyst Briefing

It is important to get close to and fully understand everything about the small group of key analysts that most influential in your space. This is key. They can be most beneficial or most harmful to your company.

Remember, your customers, investors and the media read the thoughts of industry analysts. If you blow this, it could be very costly.

If you do not have a good and ongoing relationship with the analyst, and share your thinking on different topics, their opinions will be self generated. So whether or not their coverage is positive or negative is at stake. That’s why its important.

Learn what each analyst focuses on and learn their business model. They are often very different from each other. Every company has a small group of key analysts who are most influential to their business and their space.

It is also important to understand that if you line up this small group of industry analysts, they will all do business differently. They will all focus on different areas. They all have different business models.

Example, some will focus on the technology itself helping businesses understand what’s available. Others focus on the competitive landscape, who’s winning, who’s losing and why. Most earn income from clients on a retainer basis who are interested in their thoughts and recommendations. So as you can see, all are important, but all are different.

So assume all industry analysts are different. And take the time to get close to each. To better understand each. Give each what they want and the way they want it. Let them follow you at their own pace.

Too many companies don’t do this. Instead they have one single presentation for every analyst. This is a big mistake. They expect the analyst to pull the parts that interest them out of the big hairball of a presentation. They don’t typically get good results that way.

Remember, analysts follow many companies in the industry and have little time to conform to your way of doing things. You must conform to the way each analyst works in order to have a chance to get good results.

Industry Analyst Meeting Agenda

As a general rule, the industry analyst community is all interested in basic information about the company. How you are doing. How you are competing. Are you winning, losing and why. And what’s coming next.

So the initial portion of any briefing can be this high level, general information presented by the CEO and other senior executives.

However part two of any briefing should be more personalized and targeted to different groups. It’s impossible to create a separate presentation for everyone. However companies can have different breakout sessions focusing on different areas. Companies who do are more successful.

Then let the analyst choose the areas they want to focus on. That way every analyst get’s a general update, and then specific updates depending on the part of the business they focus on with very little waste. This works best.

Key Analysts Have Their Own Brand

With regards to the smaller group of key analysts that are most important, the strategy is quite different. These are the top analysts and often have the attitude that goes along with that stature.

I have learned this because I have been an analyst and consultant for more than 25 years and have developed a powerful brand in my business. That means many companies put me on their short list.

This gives me the ability to participate in analyst relations from several different perspectives, the larger group, the smaller group and as an individual.

I will not discuss which companies do a great job and which do a poor job here, but trust me, there are many in both categories.

Every company wants to win the hearts of analysts, but most simply don’t know how to do so. With that said, they try, but they are only partially successful.

A very few actually do a great job. No one company is perfect, but some come very close. It’s important for a successful analyst relationship to be an open, two-way door.

So it’s important for the company to expend the effort to understand every single key analyst that follows them, and is influential in their space.

Companies, who don’t do this, run the risk of swimming upstream rather than flowing with the stream. Key analysts to your company and your space are such an important ingredient to your story of success or failure.

It’s not in the analyst job description, however they can help tell your story if they understand and agree with what you are doing. It’s important for you to make the effort.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


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