Industry analysts can help start-up companies gain credibility and exposure in all the right places, but exactly how to get their attention can be tricky, especially if the start-up is targeting a competitive space like the mobile market.
Analysts can provide start-ups with exposure by including them in reports, presentations at events, commentary with the media, Tweets and references in blogs, said Krista Napier, senior analyst at IDC Canada, who recently presented a session on “Getting Exposure” at MobileBiz BootCamp during Mobile Innovation Week (MIW) in Toronto.
“Many start-ups think of PR reps, accountants, lawyers, funders and consultants as those who can help support the growth of their company … But analysts should be part of that mix as well, and can add a lot of value,” said Napier in an e-mail interview, where she re-capped a few points based on her talk.
The interaction is “all about the relationship,” she said. The point is “not just about ‘telling’ the analyst about your company, it’s about establishing a ‘discussion,’ so that the analyst can learn more about you and you can learn more about what they’re seeing and opportunities they have to help you get exposure,” she said.
And “don’t be afraid to abandon your PowerPoint deck,” Napier added. “As along as the analyst has a copy of it for their records, you don’t need to stick to the slides in the briefing. A free-flowing conversation supported by a white board or a quick demo may be enough.”
Napier’s insider tips included five points on how to effectively engage with analysts.
First, identify “the right analyst to speak with” and “there is likely more than one,” she said. Second, schedule a briefing with the analyst, which typically lasts one hour, she said. Third, “keep your briefing ‘brief’” and “spend no more than 30 minutes in total talking about you.” If your briefing includes a PowerPoint presentation, keep it to about 10 slides, she said.
Fourth, “make sure you leave time for discussion,” said Napier. The discussion is “where the real value lies,” which provides the opportunity to hear the analyst’s opinions and learn about research results from surveys the analyst may share with you, she said. The analyst may also identify upcoming reports that “you may be a good fit for.” Fifth, provide a 10-minute demo, she said.
Start-ups seeking additional exposure might also want to consider paying for services from analyst firms, such as IDC Canada, that price their services for small companies, said Napier.
Services include having an analyst “lay the groundwork and establish the importance for your technology” in a Webinar, writing a profile or case study about your company, or answering your specific questions over the phone through “inquiry time,” she said.
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