Full on AR vs. Focused AR you decide…….

I have worked in the wonderful world of AR for over a decade both for PR agencies and for vendors and for the last eight years as an independent consultant. I am lucky I have never got bored of AR it changes so much its hard to get tired of it and the way things are moving there is no doubt the pace of change will only increase.
 
One interesting point to consider is should vendors have a full time dedicated AR resource or is AR a discipline that can be used as and when i.e. outsourced to an agency/external provider and undertaken on an ad hoc basis?
 
The purists will say that you can’t turn on and off links with analysts like advertising or direct marketing, while pragmatists will argue if AR is used to support marketing initiatives then its another tool in the arsenal that should be used as and when appropriate.
 
Ultimately it comes down to how you view the role/importance of industry analysts that will influence the decision. One point to consider there are analysts I know and have worked with for years, I mean years. I may not talk to them day-to-day but I know who they are and they know where I am too. While growth targets may be temporary meaningful business relationships are timeless.
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2 Responses to “Full on AR vs. Focused AR you decide…….”

  1. Paula Schmidt Says:

    Mark

    I think this is interesting and thought-provoking. I have also been working in AR (in-house) for a long time – about 12 years – and I find the continual change makes it ever more interesting.

    I have always believed that AR should ideally be an in-house function. It is the relationships that matter most, however, it isn’t just the relationships with the analysts that matter; it is essential for the AR person to know the company well and have good contacts at all levels across the business.

    That isn’t to say that there is no place for AR agencies and consultants. They can provide additional resource and expertise and I personally know many individuals who can add real value in this way.

    In fact, for smaller vendors, the use of an AR professional on a contract basis may be sufficient for their needs, but there should still be an in-house sponsor to ensure the link is there with the internal organisation.

    I am definitely in the camp that says you can’t turn links with the analysts on and off, but there are also times when the long list of analysts I know personally is not sufficient to cover a new requirement. Although it is part of my job to research new analyst contacts, an agency is doing this at scale and can provide a short cut on this type of exercise.

    By the way, I am not sure direct marketing is always best done as a one-off activity. On occasion, the relationship matters there too …

  2. Rick Brusuelas Says:

    Marc,

    Interesting discussion. Like Paula, I have been part of in-house analyst relations for well over a decade, so I may be biased (and a bit self-serving), but in conversations I have had with many analysts over the years, analysts tend to prefer working with internal AR than with agency or consultants. I believe it reflects the importance of the “R” (Relations) in the title. Trust comes from consistency and constancy, and both tend to grow over time (accepting that value can be demonstrated quickly).

    I can understand the value of agency- and consultant-delivered support, addressing short-term spikes in requirements (eg supporting an event) or for those vendors too small to afford a full-time AR person on staff, but there is likely some loss in knowledge- and relationship-transfer that would be a byproduct of internal staffing. And, as Paula correctly points out, the benefit of relationships within the company is a strong benefit of internal AR.

    It would be valuable the feedback of some of the analysts on this. And feedback from internal constituents as to whether they see the same value from external resourcesas they would internal resources. Again, an interesting topic of discussion that I look forward to following.

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