In mid briefing session and one analyst I spoke to mentioned after we had finished that my client is on her target list to secure as a client this year. This got me thinking about the whole pay for play situation.
Correct me if I am wrong but the conventional wisdom is that this much more of a feature of US AR than in EMEA, with the exception of the US firms - hence the vendor briefing process which is radically altered if you have a commercial relationship with the majors. In EMEA there is much more of a gentleman's code regarding briefings, being slightly more reserved (hope no offence caused here), briefings will be based primarily around information exchange and in some instances s commercial relationship might be in the equation. I recently organised a briefing with a printer vendor and a major analyst firms where we had the head of MI in the room with the analysts pitching their services, the objective was two fold:
1. To delve into more detail with the analysts about a topic covered in a group briefing a month back
2. To give the analyst firm a chance to showcase its wares
The vendor was well aware the pitch was coming and also knew there was no pressure to sign on the dotted line.
I have often seen analysts provide healthy tasters of insight and feedback in a briefing the reason being - here is a taster of what is on offer.
Ultimately as I see it there are two positions on the commerical imperative:
1. Major's - were a quality brand and our end user customers think as much and pay for the pleasure, so vendor the same rules apply.
2. The minors (in company size not acumen, influence and insight) - you can see the quality, to get the best value a commercial relationship is a really good idea.
I have been singing (at semi-professional level, I hasten to add) in a choir for years at and I remember someone saying at an open rehearsal :' I can't see why you guys are getting paid, you'd do it for free as you love the singing! The point is payment ensures commitment and quality.
With the Minors I feel that there comes a point that considering commercial relations is not merely gate entry issue but one of quality and commitment and getting the maximum value from analysts that have a great deal to offer.
The alternative, keep the briefings going - pick up some titbits of insight, but there may well be a whole lot you are missing out on.