The Value and Downsides of Agencies for Industry Analyst Firms

Date Published: March 1, 2017
While there is wisdom for industry analysts firms to contract with 3rd party agencies for support on core functions the buyer has to first ask themselves whether or not the provider has any real track record in the field where they operate and how much money and time they are willing to dole out funding someone else’s experience acquisition.
Agencies love landing clients that allow them to expand their practice skills. The industry analysis business is a fairly specialized field but yet rather diverse. Within the ecosystem there are your pure play advisory firms, specialty boutiques, report publishers and various hybrid consultancies all with varying sizes and “it” factors. Of course there is the breadth of verticals and various stages of the markets covered within them.
Large firms generally do most things internally or partner with subject matter experts in areas where they may need a bigger bench, have legacy services. If they use agencies the procurement process is carefully managed and they can generally afford specialized talents that they themselves can manage.
But what if you are not a $2 million plus a year firm who can fund dedicated staff? What if you are an individual or small shop trying to grow your business or need to partner with someone in order to boost revenue, add new products, dig deeper into your market or stop spending time on functions that are not service delivery or product related? Where do you go for third party support on marketing and sales? Research, writing, analytics?
Look at the choices available to you with respect to revenue or marketing providers. PR, SEO, lead generation, CRM, web design, email marketing, social, appointment setting, call center, and on and on it goes. Firms may offer great service to their clients but do they really understand the nuances of marketing high value content and analyst services? You have money to fund a retainer? Time to manage these functions as well?
Consider the content side of your business. You can outsource editing to people with journalism backgrounds but can they handle the technical components? Or, maybe they have subject matter mastery within STEM but no grasp of presenting a business case? Perhaps they can do articles for you but have no feel for the advertorial requirements? With the infinite amount of resources out there for people there is little forgiveness for producing bad content.
And let’s talk sales. Is this something you want to hand over to a call center or someone who doesn’t know the business? B2B sales is far more driven by actual product knowledge, customer needs and experience than what the movies or the sales training folks would have you believe. There are appropriate skill levels for various sales functions but this has to be carefully managed somewhere.
Externalizing research functions, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. There are dozens of company operating within India who specialize in data collection through deep web searches, data scraping and compiling information. The $12-$15 rates are well worth the investment and even if you toss out 1/3 of what they gather then you have helped yourself immensely.
And using external analysts can make sense for firms as I mentioned previously. There are numerous ways in which a firm can partner with an independent to create salable product. Foolish to go overseas for this if the provider has no proven experience in order to merely drive down costs though. The reworking of the document to bring it to language specs and add context may not save you all that much in the end and cost you future sales when your clients discover you are offshoring
For firms or individuals looking to partner with a 3rd party to boost revenues, visibility, improve operations or move to a new level, ilumatech offers a variety of ways to get them there. Contact us to discuss how we can help.