Analyst relations and inbound marketing

Analyst relations and inbound marketing” – A blog series exploring the ins and outs of industry analysts

Analyst relations and inbound marketing

The advantage of inbound marketing

As the marketing lead for a mid-sized company in the competitive CPM (Corporate Performance Management) software market, one of my core objectives is to increase awareness of our offering, often going up against bigger companies with larger marketing budgets. With that in mind, we recently embarked on a strategy that places greater emphasis on “Inbound Marketing”. Inbound Marketing is a combination of marketing tactics, such as search engines, referrals, and social media, which draw or pull an audience into a connection with your company. This is in compares with “outbound” or “push marketing” activities that involve paying to get in front of an audience to capture their attention. Examples of this latter approach include various forms of paid advertising, cold-calling, and email blasts.

The advantage of inbound marketing is that it can cost less and generate a higher quality audience because the contacts are volunteering their participation. However to make this approach work it’s crucial to have content that resonates, that is seen as valuable and more inclined to be circulated virally, via social networks. That’s at the root of why Analyst Relations have grown in importance as part of our marketing activities at Prophix.

The value that industry analysts can bring to an inbound strategy is the perceived subject matter expertise, objectivity, and credibility that is of particular use to someone who is at the point of researching and evaluating a vendor’s software. Analysts and the content they produce can act as a source of reference, putting your offering or solution in a context that helps the consumer along their buying cycle. This also means that if a consumer connects with you as a result of an analyst referral they, as with other contacts generated through inbound tactics, are typically of a higher quality and have cost less to acquire. In a recent study conducted by Research+Data Insights (RDI) eighty-four percent of respondents cited industry analyst reports as the top driver influencing their decision to purchase technology from a particular company.

When developing our overall marketing plan we viewed the analysts as falling into two broad categories:

  1.  Generalists – they are typically large, deep organizations that cover a broad range of subject areas. Examples of these would include Gartner, IDC, and Forrester Research
  2. Specialists – these tend to be smaller, boutique style analysts that build their reputation based on their knowledge and expertise with a specific focus or niche area. Examples of these in Prophix’s space would include Dresner, BPM, BARC, Nucleus, Blue Hill, Ventana, PayStream, and Ovum.

Both types of analysts have their strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s also important to have a strategy to work with both to have an approach to Analyst Relations that effective.

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In subsequent blogs, I’ll go into more detail on each of these various types of analysts, how they differ and when they’re relevant to various aspects of our marketing strategy.

Mike Tindal

As the SVP of Corporate & Market Development at Prophix, Michael Tindal is responsible for the overall marketing function within the company. Michael drives long-term strategy by gathering market intelligence and by seeking out and developing relationships with other relevant technology providers. Based on 35+ years in the technology industry, he brings extensive management, marketing, sales, and business development experience to his role at Prophix. His past positions have included global management roles with worldwide leaders in the software industry, such as OpenText and SAS, along with sales management positions at SUN Microsystems and Digital Equipment. Michael’s background has involved a variety of national and international responsibilities across all aspects of the marketing continuum, from product marketing to corporate communications, field marketing, and enablement. In each of these roles, he has focused on introducing, measuring, and successfully achieving quantifiable metrics that have a direct impact on the success of the company.