February 28, 2011

Quotes from analysts in vendor press releases

For the second straight post, I’m mixing the general and the personal. Sorry!

I jumped into an #ARchat on Twitter Tuesday, and set off a discussion about the subject of analyst quotes in press releases. Since that chat has been blogged, starting with a partly accurate* paraphrase of my views, I figure I may as well state those myself. 

*I don’t know what the “own marketing team” part refers to.

Our write-up of Monash Advantage terms and conditions states that membership includes:

Eligibility for press release quotes, subject to our usual integrity requirements (we write the quotes ourselves, and only on subjects we feel sufficiently favorable about). We do not charge for these.

Actually, you don’t have to give us money to get a quote from me, as this Tokutek example shows; but if you’re not a client, then you have to make the process very easy. For example, I dictated that Tokutek quote while in a car to the airport, at no cost to my workweek.

Other analyst firms have different approaches to quotation pay-for-play. Does this all mean that analysts are more likely to be seen as endorsing companies who pay them? Frankly, yes. But truth be told, analyst pay and implicit endorsements are partially linked no matter what.

The real issue, in my mind, is that analysts should only give quotes that truly reflect their research. I had a Twitter exchange once — with an analyst I basically like and respect — that in effect went:

Obviously, the analyst had just approved a quote routinely, whether to be nice or to get press visibility, without seriously reflecting on what it actually said.

I find that appalling.


6 Responses to “Quotes from analysts in vendor press releases”

  1. Ozio Media on March 1st, 2011 11:19 am

    I can see both sides of the issue on this one. On one hand, most would think by paying an analyst for a quote they would do proper research and give you a quote using up to date info. On the other hand, paying for a quote seems a little one-sided. Are you paying for someone to agree with you? Are you paying someone who has no idea what they are talking about? How much meaning does a paid for quote really have? Sometimes it’s best to put in the work yourself and go straight to the source for a quote.

  2. Richi Jennings on March 9th, 2011 8:29 pm

    Alternatively, company Y could have paraphrased something the analyst said in a private conversation and pasted it into a press release! It happened to me once — now THAT’s appalling.

  3. Paula Schmidt on March 14th, 2011 1:18 pm

    Working in Analyst Relations, I have often been involved in ‘getting quotes from analysts for press releases’. Over the years, I have developed a preference for a different approach. I think it is very important to brief as many of the relevant analysts as possible in advance of a press announcement. Once that is done, I ask the analysts who have been briefed if they will agree to have their contact details included on the press release (notes to editors) as an analyst who has been briefed. Then it is up to the journalist who receives the publication to contact the analyst of their choice (from the list or not). For the lazy journos, the PR team can still include an approved quote if they want to!
    For those journos who are not so lazy, they can go get their own story, using their analyst contacts (or those that the vendor has provided) to get some real insight into the story. That has got to be better for all concerned.
    Of course, this is assuming that journalists still use press releases as a source. I do accept that most are just picked up by wire services and published as is. In which case, who cares about the quote anyway?

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