Influencer relations marketing, influencer relations management or plain old influencer relations – regardless of the tag you want to use – has become one of the most talked about and least understood disciplines of public relations.
To recap, the severe disruption of media advertising revenues has driven most outlets to hire reporters and editors that are generalists. This new model has also forced these poor souls to cover a great deal of ground in terms of content, industries, etc. The result has been a lack of market knowledge by most reporters.
Don’t get me wrong, there are reporters, editors and columnists in some segments of the business and trade media that are subject matter experts. However, this has dramatically changed the dynamic for the media. In the past, reporters would provide the facts along with some subtle commentary. Today, reporters talk to industry experts, the people we refer to as industry influencers, to gain insights and provide the commentary for their articles.
The very definition of media has also changed. No longer is traditional media the primary channel for decision makers to receive their information. Industry influencers have access to numerous communications platforms. They blog, tweet, issue reports, craft bylined articles and speak at industry and corporate events, among many other activities.
While influencers have existed outside of the technology industry, in some cases for quite some time, the discussion here is technology industry-centered. Additionally, the tech industry influencers have often been an integral part of the technology industry decision-making fabric.
Influencer Relations Marketing with Industry Analysts: Tech’s First Influencer Group
The technology industry has had the benefit of working with influencers for decades. This was due to the very complicated and scientific nature of what was being produced. This was particularly true for startups that were making previously unimagined products and services. Without industry experts to provide insight, media and decision makers found it challenging to determine which products and services would perform effectively and which might, well….be less than good.
Very early on, these technology industry pundits were classified as industry analysts – not to be confused with financial industry analysts.
The industry analyst community is comprised of technology generalists and specialists – with more of the latter. Interestingly, as technology evolves, many of the industry segments overlap.
A great example is Cloud computing. It’s pretty obvious that analysts covering servers – operating systems, ICs and middleware –need to know the ins and outs of Cloud computing. But, so do the storage analysts. And, you can’t access or process vast amounts of data without getting or sending it somewhere – so the networking / telecommunications folks get involved. Let’s not forget client / application experts as well. Oh, and if a particular product or solution is targeted at a particular vertical like banking, well, those analysts have to know what is going on too. Last but not least, in this day and age, there is an intellectual property component to all of this technology, and those experts need to stay abreast of developments.
Now, if you are a reporter on deadline, and you need to understand how an open source-based virtual server application – targeted at the financial services industry – appears to be impaired by a competitors’ intellectual property, what do you do?
Well, you call some industry influencers.
But, it in this day and age, it can’t just be an industry analyst. To effectively cut through the noise and bring positive attention to a product or solution – and help the company attain industry thought leadership – successful businesses must reach a broader spectrum of experts to provide perspective from multiple angles. More on that in our next post.
For more on our approach, click here.