Forrester or Gartner launch a client-only social network – Looking ahead to 2010

Ticon-crystal-ball.jpghis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

As 2009 comes to a close there are only a few examples of analyst-created communities built on social networks. One example is the IDC Insights Community, which was launched in March 2009 and is built on a white-label social network platform. This is an open community that anybody, including competitors to IDC, can register to join. This is an interesting experiment by IDC as it potentially enhances IDC’s ability to increase its visibility with enterprise clients.

While 2010 will see more analyst-operated open communities built on free tools like LinkedIn Groups or purchased social networking platforms, the most interesting and controversial communities will be the “gated communities” that Forrester and/or Gartner might launch. These closed communities would only be available to clients of the firms.

Social media purists will no doubt howl that a closed social network violates the spirit of communities and that the firms are dumb for not using the communities a marketing tool to build awareness to non-clients. Perhaps these objections are valid, but there are valid reasons why closed, managed communities will actually be welcomed by enterprise end users.  Not everybody is comfortable with the rough-and-tumble attitude of some open communities. In some cases a Continue reading

AR teams will get in trouble with executives for being surprised by analysts’ social media commentary – Looking ahead to 2010

icon-crystal-ball.jpgThis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

The vast majority of analyst relations (AR) teams are not regularly monitoring their most relevant analysts’ social media usage. However, this lack of attention could prove to be politically dangerous in 2010.

Many AR professionals have been confronted by executives at their companies with negative press quotes by the analysts. Often the executives demand to know why the analyst made the negative comment and what AR is going to do about it. Up through the early Internet age, while troublesome because it caused a fire drill, it was reasonable for AR not to be aware of a particular quote because a comprehensive press clipping service would have been too expensive. However, as the Internet and search tools matured, it has because harder for AR to justify ignorance about press quotes. This provides the added danger of damaging AR’s credibility for not being on top of the situation.

As more analysts adopt social media, sometimes chaotically, AR now has to anticipate being confronted by an executive wanting to know about some analyst’s negative blog post, tweet, or comment made in a social network. Just as with press quotes today, AR cannot feign ignorance about the negative comments made in social media. This is because it is perceived to be free and “easy” to monitor social media. Thus, an AR team that is not aware of an analyst social media comment brought to its attention by an executive will be in grave danger of having its credibility questioned. This could give rise to a new group tasked with social media influencer relations that would take over working with key Continue reading

Acquisitions continue to remake the analyst landscape – Looking ahead to 2010

icon-crystal-ball.jpgThis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

It does not take a magical crystal ball to predict that there will be acquisitions in the analyst market. Acquisitions have always been a business tool of analyst firms. However, there are some potentially interesting developments on the acquisition front for 2010 and beyond.

Roll ups to take on Gartner and Forrester – One of the ways that Gartner was able to achieve its market dominance was 60+ acquisitions in the 1990s under the leadership of then CEO Manny Fernandez.  Since then there has been only one serious attempt to use a roll up strategy to develop a competitor to Gartner and Forrester. That was by Monitor Clipper Partners in 2004, who attempted to buy META Group to combine with the earlier acquisition of Yankee Group to form the core of a new broad-based major analyst firm. This plan was derailed by Gartner CEO Gene Hall’s smart and strategic grab of META. In stark contrast to the last ten years, 2010 could see three firms use a roll up strategy: Corporate Executive Board, IDC (for Insights units) and Ovum-Datamonitor.

Mid-sized firms get gobbled up – As Gartner’s acquisition of AMR Research demonstrates, being a mid-sized firm with a price tag in the tens of millions dollars does not deter determined acquirers. There are a number of potential acquiring firms with the financial resources to buy a mid-sized firm. One firm likely being wooed by potential acquirers is the Burton Group, which has a solid reputation, desirable research coverage, a sales force, and a client base that includes enterprises and government agencies.

Forrester continues adding resources for marketing professionals – Forrester continued its push deeper into research and services relevant to marketing professionals with its recent acquisition of Strategic Oxygen. In 2010, Forrester is likely to continue adding assets for its Marketing and Strategy Professionals Client Group. While this strategy is certainly reasonable because it helps Forrester stay out of the path of Gartner, it risks diluting its Continue reading

Gartner surprised by new competitors that steal enterprise clients – Looking ahead to 2010

icon-crystal-ball.jpgThis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

 Gartner is the dominant player in the analyst market with more than a 40% market share according to information market research firm Outsell, Inc. When it comes to the enterprise technology product and services buyer market (typically IT managers), Gartner extends this dominance to approximately 70% to 75% according to SageCircle estimates. If Gartner continues to execute as it has the last four years it will see its market share grow, even as the total market grows as well.

Gartner has achieved this dominance through both hard work and dumb luck. Hard work as represented by making more than 70 acquisitions since 1994, doubling the sales force since 2004 to nearly 1,000 representatives, and creating mindshare with recurring research deliverables like the Magic Quadrant, Hype Cycle, and Gartner Symposium. The dumb luck comes in the form of competitors that focus on vendors rather than end users, fail to build sales and marketing functions, and/or are complacent to the point of being Gartner’s implicit junior partner even though they have the resources to invest in more effective competition.

While there are no signs that Gartner is going to get lazy or stupid next year, 2010 might see its luck run out when it comes to ineffectual or complacent competition. SageCircle sees firms that bring attitude, business attributes, and wiliness to invest to the game unlike others in the past decade. Some examples include:

  • Altimeter Group – While still tiny, with only four analyst/consultants, Altimeter Group has tremendous enterprise visibility and mindshare due to its principals’ exquisite exploitation of social media, conventional speaking opportunities, press quotes, and client contacts from their Forrester tenures. This market awareness should prove to be a significant lead generator that other more established analyst boutiques can only envy. It has made an important investment by starting to build a sales organization. Its current Achilles’ heel is that it is perceived as mostly a Continue reading

AR belongs in Marketing – a dead idea

Analyst Relations PlanningPublic policy wonk and Fortune Magazine columnist Matt Miller’s new book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity got us at SageCircle thinking “Hmm, are there dead ideas holding back analyst relations?” Of course there are! This is one in an occasional series of posts that will address the dead ideas that impact AR programs and their ability to delivery strategic value to their companies. These posts are meant to be provocative and not necessarily definitive in their new ideas and suggestions.

Dead Idea: AR belongs in Marketing

Back Story: In the time before there was a dedicated AR position, industry analysts calling vendors asking for a briefing were often bounced around from one department to another. More often than not, the analyst would end up on the public relations doorstep because what the analyst did sort of sounded like a reporter. Because PR usually reported to Marketing, AR became a de facto marketing function even if it became an independent department.

Problem: Putting AR in Marketing has multiple problems, but a big one is consistency. One of AR’s critical success factors is consistently interacting with analysts because influencing the analysts is a process that takes a long time. AR cannot turn on and turn off interactions and be successful. Unfortunately, Marketing programs in most vendors are the model of inconsistency with resources being changed frequently.  If resources and programs are cut during recessions and restored during good times the damage for AR has been done in terms of:

  • Institutional memory is lost as AR staff gets cut or moves to other companies 
  • Relationships with analysts go stale due to lack of interactions or the inability to work with the same people
  • Sales and revenues are impacted by analysts with outdated or incomplete information providing inappropriate advice to customers and prospects
  • Intelligence dries up about analyst opinions and intentions because analyst contracts get cut reducing inquiry access to analysts

New Idea: Move AR out of Marketing and into Strategy. While there are several different options for a new home for AR (e.g., sales, product management and investor relations) each have their own issues. Strategy on the other hand has a number of advantages Continue reading

A warm compliment for Merv Adrian and an interesting comment about the Forrester layoffs

Background:  This text originally came in as a comment to Forrester experiences analyst layoffs. Because of the last line, I did not approve the comment leaving it as a private communication to SageCircle. But I did tweet that someone had sent along a very nice compliment for Merv Adrian. That triggered this comment to the original (and not published) comment:  “Saw your tweet. Oops. sorry. meant keep IP confidential. pls reveal details. =)”  So with that permission from the author, we are now publishing his or her comment. However, rather than a comment I decided to elevate it to a full post. BTW, you can follow Merv Adrian on Twitter at www.twitter.com/merv.

photo-merv-adrian-official-forresterIt is truly sad to say good-bye to co-workers especially during a lay off.. I will miss each person who has left. But it is quite a travesty when you lay off someone who is an icon, someone who makes a big difference in everyone’s lives, and someone who has had the company’s best interest at heart at all times. I have struggled to tell this story about my team and the more I wait, the more I regret it. I must tell. I shall share. I now reveal.So I say this with great conviction: “It is unconscionable for Forrester to lay off Mervyn T. Adrian without a proper explanation to our clients and our employees”

Why?

I was there when we first bought Giga. It was a scary time like now. The Internet bubble had burst. We had finished 2 rounds of layoffs. Our business was tanking. Our stock in the toilet.

When we bought Giga, we were nervous. Our first reaction was who are all these gray hairs? We were all much younger. Why’s everyone a VP? We only had principal analysts as the highest title and there were only 2 or 3 of those. Would we get along with these old farts? They seem crotchety and nerdy. How come they all work from home? We lived in a must show up to HQ culture.

But throughout the acquisition, this bubbly gentleman would reach out. He showed us how to work together. He showed us the value of an inquiry to clients. He showed us the how to collaborate across teams. He would reach out and mentor new analysts. He would tell it to us like Continue reading

Acquisitions of analyst firms are likely, so who would be buyers and targets?

question-mark-graphic.jpgQuestion: A common question SageCircle has been receiving concerns the likelihood that there will be acquisitions of analyst firms during the current recession.

During a recession, companies with strong balance sheets often acquire companies with weaker financials because the purchase price has been cut. Both Gartner (cash at September 30th was $145.2 million) and Forrester (NASDAQ: FORR, cash and marketable securities at September 30th were $254 million) have a history of acquisitions.  They also have dedicated M&A teams and CEOs that assure Wall Street during quarterly earnings calls that acquisitions remain a potential tactic “at the right price.” As a consequence, there is always the possibility that one or more small or mid-sized firms will be acquired by one of the two major public firms. 

Who could be acquired? Almost any firm. Obviously mid-sized firms like AMR Research that have gone through recent job actions could be thought to be shoring up their finances to ride out the recession… or make themselves a more attractive acquisition target by reducing cost structure or eliminating duplicate reearch coverage.

Who could be buyers? While Forrester and Gartner have the requisite strong balance sheets and motivations, they are not the only potential buyers of analyst firms. Companies that have made analyst firm acquisitions over Continue reading

Why nobody tries to audit the accuracy of analyst predictions and recommendations

question-mark-graphic.jpgOccasionally we get asked – almost always from someone in the vendor community – why nobody audits the analyst research. For instance, here is an email from when I was the Director of AR for a major vendor: “Does anyone in the AR community ever take analysts to task for the accuracy of their predictions? There would seem to be a huge ‘debunking’ potential here – auditing the accuracy or otherwise of their claims.” 

When the response by one of my AR colleagues was “Answer to your question is Naaah, we don’t take ‘em to task, though it would be enjoyable,” the original correspondent asked:

“I’m surprised that no-one in the industry takes them to task. Given the large fees charged for reports and prognostications it would be a real service for an independent agency to review the material 12, 24 and 36 months down the road and measure accuracy. This seems like serious low-hanging watermelon for someone with knowledge of the AR field to do as an independent and charge $$$ for their reports (hint: could even be done evenings and weekends and bring in some nice fees in addition to the day job :-)”

Because I just had a similar conversation with someone from Europe a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would go ahead and put my email answer to my then colleague into this post.

“If it was that easy and somebody (e.g., vendors or end users) would be willing to pay good dollars, don’t you think that there would be many firms offering such a service?

The task is actually incredibly difficult, expensive to do, fraught with copyright issues, and nobody is willing to pay for such a service.

Sure the vendors would all love to have someone ‘expose’ the analysts, but they don’t Continue reading

Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area is not unusual

The clump of departures of social media analysts – Brian Haven, Peter Kim and Charlene Li (from Forrester), and Rachel Happe (from IDC) – is not at all unusual and follows typical patterns.

There are several reasons why analysts leave a firm: just want a change or new professional challenge, recruited by another company, desire to start own firm, the current employer has grown too large and its culture has changed and a few others. In this current sitaution, there are two primary reasons why the analysts are leaving: lured by startups and hanging out their own shingle.

From late 1997 to early 2000 a number of analysts covering ecommerce/ebusiness got lured away from the firms by Dot Com startups. For example, in one week Gartner lost four of five analysts covering ecommerce. Yes, they were lured away by various startups dangling stock options, but these analysts were also annoyed at the money Gartner was investing in Jupiter Communications (ancestor of JupiterResearch) rather than beefing up Gartner’s own ecommerce/ebusiness research team.

Another common reason for analysts in a hot research area to leave a firm is to Continue reading

Forrester analyst comments on Gartner research

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile single practitioner analysts or analysts at boutiques will occasionally comment on the research done at the major firms (often in a snide tone), it is rare for an analyst at a major firm to acknowledge something from a major competitor. Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang (Twitter handle, poster child for tech analysts using social media) does just that in Understanding Gartner’s “Generation Virtual”. Jeremiah – fairly, in a professional tone – highlights the research and points out where he agrees or disagrees with Gartner’s conclusions. My only quibble is that rather than focusing on just the Gartner research, Jeremiah might have also contrasted the Gartnerian model with Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder.

Bottom Line: One way for major analyst firms to cut through the clutter of the competing voices on the Web could be to Continue reading

Forrester acquires JupiterResearch – will the analysts stay or walk?

logo-forrester.gifForrester Research acquired JupiterResearch for $23 million in cash plus assumed liabilities. JupiterResearch joins Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Client Group. Click here to read the press release and click here to read a blog post by analyst Josh Bernoff.

The key question for any analyst firm merger & acquisition (M&A) activity is whether the acquired analysts – the core intellectual property value – stay with their new employer or leave. For example, in the case of Gartner’s acquisition of META more than 50% of the analysts left voluntarily or through buyouts within a few months.

Our initial impression is that the JupiterResearch acquisition is more of an expansion of Forrester’s services than a consolidation move to eliminate a competitor. This is similar to Forrester’s Giga acquisition, but different from Gartner’s grab of META which was clearly a strategic move to Continue reading

Analyst firms should notify vendors about staff changes

Especially vendors with scheduled briefings, consulting days, or key projects by analysts  who submit their resignations

Analyst relations (AR) professionals are sometimes blindsided in the final preparations for a long scheduled briefing, analyst summit, or analyst consulting day (aka SAS) to discover that the analyst had submitted his or her resignation several weeks before. Worse yet are situations where the vendor has just conducted a briefing only to learn days later that the analyst has just left the firm. Either way it is bad for AR who now has to scramble to change plans and could experience the wrath of executives who perceive that AR just wasted their time by being uninformed.

For a variety of reasons, analyst firms are reluctant to admit that an analyst is leaving the firm. However, these reasons are insufficient for withholding critical information from AR teams who work hard to facilitate the flow of information from the vendor to the analyst firms. It is not appropriate for the firm to arrange a last minute substitution without Continue reading

Sorry ‘Net searchers, you will not find a Forrester Magic Quadrant

We track the search terms people use that leads them to the SageCircle website and blog for SEO purposes. It is interesting the number of times that people search for some variation of Forrester Magic Quadrant. This reinforces our point that “Magic Quadrant” is a brand name that is become a generic description. However, this is very dangerous for vendors as we pointed out in Kleenex, Frisbee, and Magic Quadrant – what do they have in common? AR teams should always be on the lookout for colleagues that are using Magic Quadrant inappropriately and eliminate that usage before it causes you embarrasment in front of an analyst.

Whoa, I think people are going a little overboard on the IIAR “Analyst of the Year” survey

Don’t get me wrong, I think the IIAR “Analyst of the Year” survey was quite fun. We promoted it right here on the blog. But, good grief, folks are going a little overboard in reading into the survey that it signals some major shifts in the analyst industry.

The latest item about the IIAR survey that caused me to chuckle was the press release by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) touting “ESG Named One of World’s Top Ten Global Analyst Firms,” because it was ninth in the firm standing. Hurrah, we’re #9, we’re #9! Remember, only 116 AR professionals participated in the survey. So how many votes did ESG get to make it to ninth? Six or seven? If I saw this in a vendor analyst briefing presentation I would tell them to delete it, because it is the type of silly hype that would be red meat to analysts, like at ESG.

Context, advice, reputation and time: How analysts can thrive in the social media age

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBecause vendor executives still wonder why enterprise IT managers still use the analysts (they need to read Why technology buyers use the IT industry analysts) and hope that they influence will diminish (they should check out Influence is not a zero-sum game so analyst influence is not necessarily diminished by the rise of bloggers), we continue to look for ways to clearly articulate why those vendor executives are indulgencing in wishful thinking. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine and creator of the Long Tail theory, had an interesting post about human-powered search and the long tail that is a nifty approach to the issue of why pay for something when so much information is available for free on the Internet, blogosphere and other forms of social media.

Chris started with something from Economics 101: “Every abundance creates a new scarcity.” He then went on to illustrate with these examples:

  • An abundance of information can create a scarcity of context
  • An abundance of choice can create a scarcity of advice
  • An abundance of content can create a scarcity of time
  • An abundance of people competing for your attention can create a scarcity of reputational ways to choose among them

Each of these scarcities apply to the typical IT manger and executive in spades. Few IT managers that I have spoke with in the last 18 months are ignoring the relevant blogs, but want a source for context and “reality checks.” The vast majority of IT managers look at information in the blog, media and so on, but want someone to turn to for advice. Nobody in these days of lean staffing, has the time to read all the relevant blogs and talk to all the relevant vendors, so they need a resource that can help Continue reading

Analysts who blog versus Bloggers who analyze

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBy Carter Lusher, Strategist

Last week’s Forrester Analyst Relations Council Panel on “Analyst Relations 2.0″ was fun and interesting. There was quite a bit of diversity of opinion on the panel with KCG’s Bill Hopkins playing the self-described anti-blog/anti-Web 2.0 curmudgeon and Dana Gardner from Interarbor Solutions way on the other side playing the pro-social media fan. That left plenty of room in the middle for Jonathan Eunice from Illuminata, Forrester Senior Analyst James Kobielus and me to take a balanced approach. The moderator was Forrester VP Laura Ramos, who I count as a blog skeptic when it comes to blogging by analysts and vendors.

There was a fair amount of angst in the audience, with many AR professionals clearly wishing blogs would just go away, while others were open minded. Very few AR pros in attendence had embraced blogs personally or professionally. Many were clearly overwhelmed because of the sheer number and types of bloggers who could touch their companies.

While fun, there some something unsatisfying about the panel. One attendee e-mailed: “What struck me about the panel was it asked more questions than offering answers.” Hmm, good point. I tried to provide very specific advice (see Steps for AR teams for starting with analyst blogs), but I admit there was a lot of philosophical ramblings during the 100+ minutes of the panel. Upon reflection, I think the problem was that the panel was not asked to focus on a specific issue, rather we were given a topic that provoked entertaining discussion, but was too broad and fuzzy for hard recommendations.

Bowl of Spaghetti

Because “AR 2.0″ was clearly too broad, the organizer and moderator decided to narrow the discussion to “analyst blogs.” However, ever this re-definition of the panel topic was too broad because it encompassed the entire blogosphere. This led to panel discussion, audience questions and comments that touched on traditional analysts and bloggers without distinguishing between the type of influencer. In addition, the discussion occasionally drifted into whether AR teams and their companies should blog and Continue reading

Teradata’s Katherine Knowles talks about her broader focus on third party influencers

TeradataOne of the sharpest thinkers about analyst relations (AR) is Katherine Knowles, long time AR honcho for Teradata. When Teradata was spun off from NCR last fall, Katherine got an interesting new title: Director of Third-Party Influencers. One of the intriguing aspects of this change is how Katherine includes academics into the mix of influencers.

In the seven-minute podcast Third Party Influencers-Analysts, Academics and Consultants, Katherine explains why Teradata combined analysts, academics and consultants into one group. Katherine also describes and provides examples of the resultant synergies.

You can download the podcast from iTunes or stream it from the podcast page.

This move by Teradata is similar to what SAP did when it morphed Continue reading

Homework – Gather Background Information: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 3]

It is critical for AR to thoroughly research a particular Magic Quadrant and its history. Even AR staffs that have been working with Gartner on a MQ for a long time could benefit from doing a little digging into the background of the MQ in order to separate reality from faulty memory and myth.

 SageCircle Technique

Check on past Magic Quadrants - The first task is to obtain past versions of the Magic Quadrants. You can search Gartner’s research database, but frankly you still have to ask. While Gartner analysts published dozens of distinct Magic Quadrants in the traditional Research Note format every year, there are so many publishing platforms at Gartner (e.g., presentations and toolkits) that a MQ can show up in either as an original piece of research or a reprint of something published earlier. Because not all Continue reading

Common Mistakes: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 2]

For a variety of reasons, communications and IT vendor AR and executives make a number of mistakes concerning the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) and how their companies should react to it. Decision makers at IT vendors need to take a step back and carefully consider the appropriate level of effort to put into “moving the dot.”

The first mistake is proceeding without understanding how your prospects and customers/clients value and use the MQ. You should be surveying your customer/clients and prospects about which research firms and reports they use.

The second mistake is assuming that you know what the underlying market-specific criteria and assumptions are for the MQ without talking to the appropriate analysts. Repositioning your “dot” on a Magic Quadrant doesn’t happen just because you have a great product or service. Often the most Continue reading

Don’t Obsess, Don’t Ignore: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 1]

Even with the blogosphere and other forms of social media, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant remains the IT market’s most highly visible piece of commentary. Because the Magic Quadrant impacts billions of dollars of corporate IT purchases, some IT vendor executives put too much emphasis on “moving the dot” which drains resources from the overall AR plan. Other vendors decide to ignore Magic Quadrants, missing an opportunity to leverage an effective marketing channel. Neither approach is 100% appropriate. In this post, we provide background on the Magic Quadrant and suggest that vendors take a middle approach between obsession and indifference.*

It is not uncommon for a SageCircle strategist to hear the following comment from an analyst relations (AR) manager: “Our execs – or even board of directors – have made improving our position on the Magic Quadrant THE (not ‘a’) goal for AR.” While ignoring the Magic Quadrant (MQ) can be perilous to a vendor’s top line, too much emphasis on a MQ can drain scarce AR resources from influencing all the analysts covering your particular market. The downside is that AR won’t be able to develop counterbalancing relationships with analysts in other firms, leaving the vendor dangerously reliant on Gartner and the MQ for positive analyst coverage.

We think it’s time that vendors take Continue reading

Threatening analysts with canceled business if they don’t change draft research is rarely effective, often backfires

I saw this tweet in response to Best practice for responding to analyst draft research:

Good grief, threatening to cancel business or syndicated research contracts if an analyst does not change their opinion is not a smart approach to “influencing the influencers.” In fact, it may even backfire.

First, it does not make business sense for an analyst at a major firm to change research that displeases a vendor, even one that is a client. If an analyst developed a reputation for Continue reading

What is the definition of “analyst”?

Over on Twitter, there is a conversation starting about the definition of “analyst.” This post is to provide a place to gather ideas and see if we can come to consensus. Please leave comments with your thoughts.

There is almost no barrier to entry for someone to call themselves an analyst. All one needs is an opinion, laptop, cell phone, blog/website and (maybe) a business card. There are no state certification boards, no professional associations and no university degrees.

For analyst relations (AR) and public relations (PR) professionals this is not a trivial issue as there are more and more demands on their Continue reading

Social media is a multi-facet opportunity for major industry analyst firms

icon-social-media-blue.jpgMajor analyst firms like AMR Research, Gartner, IDC and Ovum are rightly criticized for being slow out the gate when it comes to addressing and using social media. The one major firm that has done the most to leverage the potential of social media is Forrester, but even Forrester has not been as aggressive as it could be. Here are some ways that major analysts firms should be involved with social media tools:

Research it

Social media should be a topic of research.  We think this is quite obvious, but with the exception of Forrester none of the major firms have done any in-depth, systematic research on the topic. No doubt some of the firms will say that Continue reading

Why it is a really bad idea to cut AR, even in a recession

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgIt is common for tech vendors to cut marketing spend in a recession. Because Industry Analyst Relations (AR) is typically in the marketing department, AR is often asked to shoulder part of the cost cutting burden by cutting spending, freezing hiring, or even cutting head count. As a consequence, AR often cuts back on the total number of interactions it conducts with key analysts. This can be short sighted for a variety of reasons:

  • Analysts interact with many communities on a daily basis – As we pointed out in involving the analysts early and often, analysts do a significant number of touches each and every day with IT buyers, reporters, financial analysts and others. Providing analysts with a continual stream of information about your company, customer stories, and so on ensures that the analysts will properly position you with IT buyers, press, investors, et cetera.
  • Top-of-mind presence is ephemeral – Because the analysts have so many interactions and gather so many data points, it is easy for a vendor to get pushed lower in the analysts’ consciousness unless Continue reading

Does H&K hiring Peggy O’Neill change the agency competitive landscape? Potentially very much.

When H&K’s Josh Reynolds announced at the AR meeting at Gartner US Spring Symposium that he had hired Peggy O’Neill, Oracle’s VP of AR, a lot of us in the industry went “Wow!” Wow because Peggy was leaving one to the top AR jobs to join an agency and wow because H&K had just grabbed a heavy hitter to add to already strong AR story. But does this hire really make a difference in the grand scheme of things? SageCircle believes it does.

Frankly, PR agencies in general do not have a great reputation for best-in-class AR. The analysts dislike the typical agency PR professional doing AR because they are not analyst centric.  Unfortunately most PR staff treat the analysts like reporters. For example, analysts loathe that PR pros spam them with requests outside of their coverage area. Ugh. On the vendor side, AR managers look at PR agencies as necessary evils because Continue reading

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