Knowledge is Power but Influence is King
While knowledge is a very attractive (and arguably necessary) trait for analysts influence can be an even more important attribute when considering your or your firm’s selling points. Aside from the access to information, insider details and the like, you get the better opportunities to promote your brand, your name recognition soars and the share of dollars available for you vs other firms tends to be attractive.
But who is an influencer? And how did they get that way? And how do they maintain that estimation?
An influencer is one with the means to shape or alter opinion. They have the ear of your customers, other influencers with market reach or the broader public. They can drive technological decisions, they can swing purchase decisions, and they can help make or break someone or something. The levels of power vary but one can surmise that as far as analysts go, it is closely related to market size, and money and business velocity.
I have witnessed people in the analyst space attain influencer status who lacked fundamental technical knowledge of their coverage area. Conversely, I have observed very intelligent and clued in people languish in their profession because they were not viewed as influencers. The smarter person isn’t always the most powerful in a market and the sales process for them requires additional effort and especially so with people who view analysts simply through the prism of marketing reach. So building influence matters, a lot.
So, if you are going to effectively compete in the field, differentiate yourself or firm and get paid, you have to concentrate on constantly maintaining or expanding your influence. No, it isn’t a simple exercise in tossing out articles, news releases and briefs. It involves a comprehensive strategy that, if done properly, will pay dividends.
First, think in terms of the constituencies that you may sell to. Are your dollars coming from the analyst relations or PR budgets? Or is the funding coming from strategic marketing? Does technical play a role? Do you know their hot buttons? Can you effectively sell them on your role as an influencer?
Think about what you have to do to have influence.
- Can you can access the customer market?
- What about investment side?
- Can you build a following that attracts the people that your possible clients want to gain some type of third party validation from?
- Can you be invited to the top events?
- Be seen in the right media or on the right websites?
- Can you command the notice of others with reach so they can do the work for you?
- Do you have an effective content strategy?
- Do you have a distribution system?
- Do you have partners?
How are able to prove your influence?
The information services, analyst, market research etc. business has seen in explosion in providers. Influence is a means of distinguishing oneself in the market and staying above the increasing noise created by the flood of new entrants. Offshore firms may be closing the gap on quality and analytics but they have light years to go on the influencer front.