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People writing notes and conducting an interview.By: Katie Kern, Marketing & PR Director

An analyst relations program involves identifying and influencing industry researchers or consultants on an ongoing and consistent basis. With more than 400 analyst firms, it can be a very challenging and daunting task to get a successful program up and running and capture the attention of key industry analysts. To take a little pain out of the process, we caught up with customer payment experience expert Thad Peterson of Aite Group to gain best practice tips on what it takes to build effective analyst relationships. This is what he shared with us.

Q. What is the role and responsibility of an industry analyst?

A. At Aite Group, each analyst is responsible for coverage of a specific aspect of the industry. While there is often overlap between different areas, such as the different perspectives that consumers and merchants have regarding mPOS, the areas of specialization are fairly distinct.  Our job is to use our knowledge of the industry to provide in depth research and analysis to our clients in the form of reports, consulting engagements, presentations and discussions.  We are also responsible for communicating with the press for our area of expertise, and providing thought leadership to the industry through speaking engagements, and social media.

Q. How do we find out what reports you are working on? How do you determine your report topics?

A. Just ask! Each analyst maintains a list of suggested report topics, approved by the firm, along with a schedule for when they will be published.  The schedule changes with variations in the ecosystem and new priorities driven by client input and topics that are of interest to the community.

Q. What are some tips to acing an industry analyst interview?

A. 1. No B.S.  – Analysts know the space really well. And while they may not know your product or business, they’re really good at figuring out what’s real and what’s vapor.  If there’s something that you can’t talk about, be straightforward about it.

2. Ask the Analyst what it is that they’re interested in – Rather than diving into a pitch, take a moment to understand why the analyst wants to speak with you. 

3. Be prepared – It’s great if there’s content to support what it is you’re saying, so that the analyst can refer to it later.  If there isn’t any content, that’s fine, just make sure that your presentation is well organized and succinct.

4. Don’t present from your website – We can read your website all by ourselves.

5. Engage – Create a conversation rather than just present. 

Q. Do you like being contacted through your social media channels? If so, which one is most effective?

A. Yes. I use LinkedIn with a feed to Twitter. LinkedIn is all business and that’s why we’re here so it makes sense to be active there.  Twitter keeps the community going.

Q. What is the best way to establish a relationship with an analyst?

A. The best way in my mind is to understand that there’s an opportunity for a longer-term relationship that will be mutually beneficial to both parties.  To the degree that the conversation between you and the analyst is congenial, engaging, straightforward and professional, the opportunity for your organization to be in the analyst’s consideration set is enhanced.  To the degree that it’s a didactic, one-way conversation, it’s just another presentation from just another company.

A big thanks to Thad Peterson for taking the time to share his knowledge with us. As always his advice is insightful and helpful to anyone wanting to improve their analyst relations program.

To hear more from Thad, follow him on his blog or on Twitter.

For a more in depth look on how to successfully manage an analyst relations programs download our white paper “The Analyst Conversation.”

Thad Peterson is recognized as a global thought leader in payments. His firm, Aite Group, is a research and advisory firm focused on business, technology, and regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services. Thad’s consulting background includes engagements on credit and debit cards, mobile payments, airline payment platforms, consumer and merchant loyalty, payment technology evolution, stored value, and product innovation. He holds patents in customer authentication and real-time mobile-enabled loyalty.