Wednesday, March 23, 2005

So why are analysts important

These days most people in IT PR recognise that the industry analysts are an audience that they should be targeting. Still, not everyone understands why analysts are such a crucial audience for almost every IT company looking to sell to a business or public sector body so I thought it would be worth just running through the three main reasons:

First consider the impact they have on sales. There are numerous surveys that break this out in depth but here are some headlines for you to consider:

· 11 / 12 CIOs “get real value from the information and services provided by IT industry analysts” (CIO Jury,

· Analysts are the second most important source of influence on UK IT directors, after peer recommendation (Vanson Bourne)

· 86% of UK and European IT decision-makers will not purchase enterprise applications without getting analyst input (Insight Marketing)

· 40 – 60% of technology purchases worldwide are influenced directly by analysts (Kensington Group)

It’s not just about direct commercial benefit though. While the analysts can help IT companies get on a shortlist (and more importantly, can get them knocked off a shortlist), there are other benefits to be realised.

There’s the market intelligence that the analysts can provide. They are talking to the users of technology and they’re talking to most of the vendors who are selling it. Their view of the market is almost inevitably going to be comprehensive, well rounded, insightful – and independent. Whether it’s on the viability of a product or the effectiveness of marketing messages, the analysts can provide an assessment and evaluation of an IT vendor’s proposition and how it will play in the market.

Then comes the benefit that most PR folk are familiar with - the analysts’ exposure in the media. If we look at last year, Gartner, IDC and Ovum were featured in the UK media over 3,700 times. Sometimes it’s coverage on a press release they’ve issued, sometimes it’s a fact from a research report but often it’s individual analysts being quoted as a result of a call from a journalist.

Some analyst firms even publish analyst opinion pieces on the web and make them freely available to all (for example, Bloor’s and Ovum) whereas others have regular columns, such as Quocirca with The Register, and Computer Reseller News.

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