It is a common belief that the playing field of analyst relations is reserved for the ‘big guys’ who are spending lots of money on their relationship with the analyst companies. And for the most part it is true that it is mostly established companies that have implemented structured analyst relations programs. For this reason it obviously is a waste of time and resources for any emerging vendor to engage in this discipline – for how should he ever be able to compete with the established companies, right? Certainly the analysts will always spend a considerable amount of time covering the established players in the market but it is equally important for the analysts to be aware of what is happening in the market and what new trends and technologies are gaining ground. More often than not it is start-ups that dare to do things differently and help to establish a new trend. Of course you can wait until your technology has reached maturity and has become mainstream before getting in touch with analysts, but by acting this way start-ups are missing out on the chances offered by efficient analyst relations activities.
As with anything else analyst relations involve a learning curve and it takes (a lot of) time to establish working relationships with analysts. This reason alone should be enough for start-ups to start with analyst relations as early as possible. Starting an analyst relations program from scratch later on when a company realises that it desperately needs to get on the radar screen of the analysts (be it to get some traction with large enterprise customers, venture capitals or technology / channel partners) will not only be much more expensive but it will in all likelihood not work at all. Without laying the groundwork and without a history of engaging with the analysts it will be very tough to ramp up a successful analyst relations program on short notice.
Besides the time factor there are several benefits in being a small vendor when engaging with the analysts. For example there are some analyst publications (e. g. Cool Vendor reports) that are ‘reserved’ for covering small vendors with unique technologies or business models. Also the analysts will be eager to hear about new technologies and solutions if they align with their research agenda or with a perceived end-user demand in the market.
Tailoring your message to address these analyst needs is one of the core challenges faced by small vendors. By talking to the analysts and reading their published research small vendors will be able to get a valuable 3rd party perspective on the market, their technology and their G2M strategy. This will also give the vendor a better understanding of the focus areas of the various analysts which in turn will help to fine tune the analyst relations activities and the corporate messaging. In addition to this even small pieces of advice given by an analyst in the early phases of a start-up may be critical to their success later on.
Considering that start-ups only have a limited window to establish themselves in the market and usually lack the time and resources to run extensive push marketing campaigns it is imperative that they leverage the potential represented by analyst relations. Being noticed and mentioned by analyst companies will help them establish the market reach and credibility they need to succeed in the market.