Certification Study Guide

Created by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations in September 2009 (updated in March 2012), the certification exam tests analyst relations professionals about a range of topics related to analyst relations.

The exam is 117 questions, multiple-choice format, and must be taken in 90 minutes or less. A score of 70% is considered passing, and if test takers fail, they can re-take it in three months. Candidates will be notified via e-mail about their results within 48 hours of completing the test.

The exam will cover the following topics:

Industry history, and analyst firm knowledge
AR managers should be familiar with the history of the profession. Which is the oldest analyst relations firm, who are the most influential analyst companies, how fragmented is the market, what are their sources of revenue, and their business models are topics candidates can expect to see on the test. AR managers should be able to articulate the difference between analysts and journalists; industry analysts and financial analysts; and the difference between analysts and consultants. AR managers need to educate spokespeople and other internal constituents about industry analysts, so this baseline knowledge is important for practitioners.

Independent analysts

As the number of independent analysts has grown in recent years, and independent analysts have an impact in the market, AR managers should be familiar with how these analysts are different from analysts that work at the major firms. Their sources of revenue and publication habits are topics candidates can anticipate on the test.

Regional knowledge

As the analyst relations profession is global in nature, it’s important that AR practitioners have a basic working knowledge of regional dynamics. Who is the largest analyst firm in Canada, Latin America, emerging players in Asia, are all topics on the test. AR managers should understand the differences between regional analysts and worldwide analysts, how they differ in coverage and focus. They should recognize which analyst firms are significant regional players and which regions are more mature than others in their use of analyst research.

Research knowledge

Analyst relations practitioners should understand the methodology behind some of the major research reports in the market. Questions about Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, Hype Cycle, MarketScope, and Forrester’s TEI studies and Wave are on the test. IDC’s market share reports and MarketScape report is also on the exam.

Citation policies

Understanding how citation policies work is important for AR professionals who need to advise their PR and marketing colleagues on how analyst research can and cannot be used. The exam will cover basic citation policies including whether you can use research for competitive purposes, and whether vendors need to be clients in order to cite research.

Analyst conferences and vendor events for analysts

Conferences are a great way for AR managers to further their relationships with analysts. AR managers should be familiar with the protocol of analyst conferences, whether vendors get draft review for presentations, how sponsors are normally treated, how 1:1 meetings are scheduled, and what is considered proper behavior at an analyst conference. Vendor events for analysts are also high profile and important opportunities to build closer relations. Best practices for vendor events will be tested.

Speeches, Webinars and white papers

AR managers advise their colleagues how to use the analysts for marketing support, so understanding how to work with analysts in speeches, Webinars, and white papers is important. How much do they charge, will certain firms refuse to do white papers, how can analysts be used in Webinars and lead generation activities are questions on the test.

Common pricing and licensing issues

AR managers frequently need to negotiate for their companies or set internal expectations on how research is purchased and licensed. AR managers should expect to be tested on how passwords, inquiries, consulting days, and briefings work. Common negotiation tactics and understanding which firms are more or less prone to discounting is also on the test

Fundamentals of analyst protocol

AR managers should be familiar with the basics of analyst protocol. Customer references, deals, and confidentiality issues are topics on the test, as well as press references, and even whether some firms have policies about taking analysts out for dinner.

Communications protocol

AR managers should understand the nuances of non-disclosure issues and what publicly-traded companies can and cannot provide under NDA to analysts. Basic understanding of what to expect in a major merger and acquisition announcement is also on the test.

Interaction best practices

AR managers should be conversant with the most common interaction practices with analysts, including briefings, inquiries, consulting days, social media, draft review, and escalations.

Best practices on managing internal constituents and supporting sales

A key part of analyst relations is gaining internal support and alignment with sales. AR managers will be tested on best practices for supporting sales and working with internal constituents.

Planning and budgeting best practices

Questions about AR planning, budgeting, tiering, measurement will be on the test. Savvy AR managers understand that few industry standards have been established.

Resources for analyst relations

AR managers should be familiar with the most popular blogs in the industry, as well as resources such as Forrester’s AR Council and Gartner’s AR Forum. Questions about AR software and which public relations agencies offer AR services will also be on the exam.

Sample questions and a timed quiz are available here.

< Back to IIAR Certification

5 Responses

  1. […] for the IIAR’s certification process, the session covers many of the topics required by the IIAR’s study guide. To assist continuing professional development, the course […]


  2. Greetings IIAR team,

    I’m interested in pursuing the IIAR AR Professional Certification as I’ve recently joined EMC’s AR team. It appears that the exam is offered online and the study guide helps a student understand what types of research to conduct prior to the exam.

    This may be an incorrect rumor, but I heard that the IIAR Professional Certification was an in-person course where fellow AR professionals learn and study together. Does this exist?

    Thank you!


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