The world of analysis is a complex ecosystem of providers, roles, and clients with a variety of wants, needs, expectations and experiences. When you hear someone say they are an analyst, what does that mean? Are the financial or industry? Are they numerical or do they perform qualitative assessments of survey data? When they say they are in market research, does that mean primary or secondary? Large scale collection or more one-to-one?
Why do these distinctions matter?
Classifying the roles and potential value of the providers means the client has a more likely chance of securing the services and solutions they need. The providers, on the other hand, can more accurately present themselves and maximize their potential for success.
Data Collectors: Their value is in gathering the foundational quantitative and qualitative information needed to perform a host of analytical functions on which companies may base their decisions. Processes include primary and secondary research, data scraping and collection from relevant sources. Client must be able to validate the processes, quality control and data sources in order to feel secure. The provider would be wise to provide data in formats clients find most useful. Consideration for usability on the client side is paramount here.
Clients tend to be people responsible for consumer insights, qualitative analysis, strategic marketing, and planning roles who need data for their own analytical processes of decision making.
Assemblers: They perform lower-level research and lite analysis functions that can be useful in instances where the 30,000-foot perspective is adequate for a client, or they require a pile of content to support what they are working on. These entities’ practices can consist of pulling together and summarizing content or perhaps leveraging data collection techniques to compile outputs of varying sizes. This is where you tend to find the research factories’ place on the food chain. Generally selling $5,000 reports that consist of internet research, scraped content and maybe a few interviews of people around the space.
Clients tend to be people who want data compiled for them but do not utilize the content for decision support of investment decisions based on the quality of the process or data inputs. Marcom functions may utilize these entities.
Insight and Context: These entities have the expertise to analyze quantitative and qualitative data and help clients make sense of it based on deep understanding of the relevant sector from their lengthy time spent in industry or studying it. Market research analysts may or may not make sense for a client here. Yes, they can look at data and say what it says but without 10 years of healthcare, automotive or consumer goods experience, context isn’t necessarily there, nor can the appropriateness of the analysis be considered automatic. Insiders matter here. Providers should be stressing their sector expertise to establish their business credentials and selling points.
Companies that churn out reports by the 100s each year via people who work on different topics each month are not the best option for sourcing expertise or help with making sense of the data collection process.
Clients tend to be people with strategic marketing, planning, product, or investment responsibility.
Advisory: These people are the ones capable of advising companies on strategy, positioning and messaging based on their ties to buyers or length of time in a sector. Likely people who have some record having produced results for companies. These providers are considered at the top end of their profession due to time spent in industry, time in their roles, public stature and client roster and buyers consider these carefully. May fit in with Influencers listed below.
Clients tend to be people with strategic marketing, planning, product, or investment responsibility. Analyst Relations may factor into this area.
Influencers: These are often people with relationships with companies who can help vendors move the sales needle via referrals or an honest form of advocacy via public commentary. They may also support clients with vendor shortlisting and even selection. Matchmaking can be considered part of the offering, provided the clients are willing to invest the time and resources necessary to build relationships and properly convey the value proposition.
Clients tend to be people with strategy, planning, or product responsibility. Analyst Relations factors heavily into this area.
Industry Analysts: They generally focus on interplay between buyers and sellers, industry trends, business and supply chain issues, demand forecasting and more. They issue reports, forecasts, opinions, and context. Their roles may vary based on sector where they can be more data analysis, influencer, or context provider.