Prepping for Gartner Symposium (part 1 of 7 about Gartner Q3 AR Call)

Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a seven-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all seven posts.

Logo - Symposium 2009In the presentation for the AR call (click here to get a copy of the slides, to be posted by COB 9/21/09), the Gartnerians made a number of very useful suggestions for AR and other vendor staff going to Symposium. Many of the suggestions were the same ones SageCircle have made in the past including during the August 2009 AR Coffee Talk on “Staying Top of Mind for Symposium.” A quick summary of Gartner’s top suggestions with our commentary:

  • Understand the realities of analysts’ life at Symposium – Every minute is scheduled and they are worked to exhaustion.
    • Implication: Do not try to brief or otherwise give analysts information that you want them to remember because they simply will not remember it
    • Best practice: Use Symposium for relationship building and gauging analyst interest in a topic. Then schedule briefings after Symposium on the new information
  • Do: Draw relevance to analysts’ (that you are talking to) published research and know what they’re presenting on
    • Best practice: Do your homework before heading to Symposium
  • Do: Make it a two-way conversation (when talking to analysts at 1-on-1s or side meetings)
    • Implication: Monologues where vendors are talking at analysts are a waste of time
    • Best practice: Ask questions about their research agenda and what they are hearing from clients and drill down to pick up critical intelligence for AR planning
  • Don’t: Give analysts (hardcopy) collateral or CDs (with vendor content)
    • Implication: Analysts travel light and are given so much “stuff” that anything given to them will end up in the trash before they leave
    • Best practice: Ask the analysts their interest in the content and send them software copies… after Symposium

The one suggestion we will disagree with and frankly find a bit ironic is “Don’t: Ask for a product opinion or strategy advice.” Ironic because Gartner sells Symposium to end users as the event to come to in order to talk to analysts and get hard hitting advice. So SageCircle’s suggestion is to ask analysts their opinions… but take the answers with a grain of salt. Remember the analysts are run ragged and are likely tired even on the first day. So any answers to your opinion questions might not be as well thought out as if you ask after Symposium when they are rested. However, that fatigue means that their mental filters might be down and you can get a really honest opinion, one give to end users, instead of one that is edited for you. This intelligence could be very valuable for deciding what future interactions you need to have with the analyst in order to improve their overall opinion. By the way, it is important not to argue with the analyst about their opinions because they will be too tired to remember your position and it might negatively impact the relationship.

SageCircle’s top recommendations for AR teams about Symposium are:

  • Focus on refreshing analyst information about your company before Symposium
  • Make “top of mind” presence your primary goal both before and during Symposium
  • Gather intelligence at Symposium to be used in planning and future interactions
  • Be considerate of the analysts’ time and energy levels

Rob Hilsen of Genesys Labs asked a question about whether all the analysts were going to have their presentations available for review in advance of Symposium. This was a great reminder to everybody that Gartner posts PDFs of analyst presentations in advance of Symposium (at least those analysts who have their acts together and get the presentations in on time). You can find the presentations in the Agenda Builder tool on the Symposium website.

SageCircle asked the question about whether the increased number of CIOs attending Fall Symposium in 2009 over 2008 was due to the cancelation of Spring Symposium. Their answer was that while there might be some spill over from Spring, that does not account for all or even the majority of the increased attendance. In the last twelve months CIO interactions with Gartner analysts have increased significantly due to the recession. In addition, Gartner put a lot of emphasis on adding CIO-centric content and activities to draw more CIOs to Symposium.  

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR professionals who could not listen to the live AR calls should listen to replay
  • AR should remember and impress on colleagues the nature of analyst lives at Symposium and plan accordingly
  • AR should be conducting a number of “top of mind” interactions between now and the end of Symposium

SageCircle clients can set up an inquiry to obtain the content from the AR Coffee Talk on “Staying Top of Mind at Symposium” and other suggestions for maximizing Symposium attendance.

Bottom Line: Gartner Symposium is the premier analyst conference focused on end users, aka enterprise IT managers. Vendors can maximize their attendance and visibility by understanding the realities of Symposium and executing a campaign focused on staying top of mind.

Question: AR – How do you prepare for Symposium? How do you prepare your colleagues?

  1. Prepping for Gartner Symposium
  2. Don’t bring your CEO to Symposium and expect to brief the analysts
  3. Cost optimization at Symposium will be a critical thread to follow for vendors
  4. Make sure to attend relevant Magic Quadrant presentations at Symposium ITxpo Marketplace Theater
  5. The CIO Panel is reason enough to attend the AR Forum at Symposium
  6. Evidence Sidebar – Gartner needs to discuss end user inquiry data points
  7. Gartner’s updated Vendor Research Escalation Process
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