Don’t bring your CEO to Symposium and expect to brief the analysts (part 2 of 7 about Gartner’s 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 2009One of the questions at the first of the Gartner Q3 AR Calls was something along the lines of “I am bringing my CEO to Symposium and want to meet with six analysts. In addition, my CEO wants to give an overview presentation. When can I expect confirmation?”

The Gartnerians were incredibly patient and diplomatic in their response. We will be somewhat more frank in our response:

  • There is a snowball’s chance in Hell that you can set up a meeting of this nature with six analysts because schedules are already getting booked
  • It would be a waste of time to do an overview briefing (see part 1 of this series for why)
  • Your CEO would likely be insulted by an analyst’s lack of interest in his overview should you actually corner one to meet with him, for instance during a 1-on-1
  • Not correctly setting the CEO’s expectations about Symposium could be a career-limiting move for the AR manager

First and foremost, vendors need to realize that Gartner Symposium is end-user centric. While vendor ITxpo sponsorships contribute significantly to Symposium’s revenue stream, it is the end users that account for at least 70% of Gartner’s overall annual revenue. So everything that Gartner is doing is focused on maximizing the experience for enterprise CIOs and IT managers. This includes giving end users priority access to analysts for dinners and other meetings. While vendors can obtain great value from attending Symposium, they should never think for a moment that Gartner is going to make an effort to enhance their participation or give them broad access to analysts.

This becomes very clear when you look at the use of the word “client” by analysts, either on stage or in one-on-one conversations. It does not take a PhD language expert to quickly infer that “client” almost exclusively means end users.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR needs to manage the expectations of executives and other stakeholders attending Symposium
  • Vendors should look to exploit the real value of their attendance at Symposium, which includes interacting with end users or obtaining intelligence about analyst opinions and future activities
  • Vendor executives should check their egos at the door and not expect analysts to devote the same rapt attention to them as the analysts do with end users

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: Because Gartner’s priority at Symposium is to maximize the end user experience, vendors need to take personal responsibility to maximize their own participation.

Question: AR – How do you manage the expectations of your executives when it comes to Symposium attendance?

  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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