Spoon feed analysts public information

This should not have been a surprise to me, but I was shocked when I first started dealing with analysts as an analyst relations (AR) professional with the number of analysts who never bothered to check my company’s public information. Yeah, it was OK that they never read the marketing content on the website. But they also never perused the quarterly financial statements even when they were basing part of their analysis on the financial strength of my employer and very visibility stating the “facts.” Here is an example. 

A Gartner analyst sent me a courtesy review copy of slides for an upcoming Symposium presentation. One the statements on the “Challenges and Strengths” slide was that the margins for a particular business were a “challenge.” Huh? This particular division had consistently improved its margins – year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter – for ten straight quarters. What was going on? That was when the light bulb went “Click!” for me. The analyst had not read the quarterly statements. So I put together a simple table that extracted a few relevant financial facts for the business group going back four years. It showed the challenges the business had early on, but then it illustrated the consistent, never wavering progress for 2.5 years. After reviewing the simple table consisting of public information, the analyst moved margins from “Challenge” to “Strength.”

That was a win for AR, but it outraged me that a former colleague was making public speeches about a company without bothering to check the facts. Yes, perhaps this was a bit naïve of me. Once I took a few deep breaths and calmed down, I set about spoon feeding this analyst and the other Gartner analysts in the same research area the basics about this particular business group’s financials. Every quarter I would add to the aforementioned Continue reading

Why analyst relations matter – Analysts do not have time to do all-inclusive research

(After an interesting Twitter-based conversation with Illuminata’s Gordon Haff and former IDC analyst Ida-Rose Sylvester over the use of the word comprehensive, we have decided to use the word all-inclusive instead. )

One aspect of the analyst industry that is not widely known by technology buyers (aka end users, usually IT managers) and vendors is that industry analysts do not have the resources (e.g., time and travel budget) to conduct and publish comprehensive all-inclusive research about a market.  Advisory analysts gather most of their data from client inquiry and vendor briefings.  The major firms do not conduct product evaluations, lab tests against specifications, or quality of service investigations.

 This point was highlighted by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang in Starting the Forrester Wave: White Label Social Networks and Community Platforms about some research he is working on:

 “…I made a call for the vendor product catalog in this market, (and via email and twitter) that document is a detailed index of over 40 vendors in the space, (aprox 50% of the market) and will be available to Forrester clients…”

 “…Due to the rigorous methodology … The Wave will only include several vendors.”

There are two key points here, one is that the vendor catalog is only a subset of the market and, two, the Wave will be a further subset of the vendor catalog the analyst assembled.

For vendors in this market these points should send a shiver down their spines. If they Continue reading

AR’s turn – How industry analysts can come to briefings better prepared

After we published Research consumer’s turn – How industry analysts can be better prepared for inquiries we received several suggestions about how we should give AR managers’ their turn. In this case, the AR managers wanted to give the analysts a few friendly tips to the analysts about how the analysts can come to briefings better prepared.

In private conversations, AR professionals are more than happy to critique the analysts’ level of preparedness for a briefing. However, the AR pros are loath to actually say something to the analyst for fear of hurting the relationship or courting retaliation. We think that these fears are unfounded as most analysts would appreciate reasonable suggestions for how they can improve what they do. AR pros can leave suggestions via comments to this post (anonymously if you like) or by sending SageCircle an e-mail (info [at] sagecircle dot com). We will aggregate e-mailed suggestions and add them to this post.

To get the ball rolling here are few ideas that should only take an analyst a few minutes to do immediately prior to a briefing:

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

icon-the-press-110w.jpgThis oft-attributed quote to Mark Twain might sum up how the Motorola AR teams feels about a quote by an analyst in Motorola CMO out: Tried to save Razr, got cut saying that the entire AR team has left Motorola. “Wow!” I thought, “That is absolutely amazing!” Just to double check, I dropped the Motorola AR folks an e-mail. The response was quick and no, the AR team was still there. I’m sure the analyst is now thinking “Oops!” More importantly, I hope the reporter is a little red faced as well.   Continue reading

IDC on the CEOs 2008 Agenda

IDC eXchange blog graphic on the CEO’s agenda for 2008A little bit of a different twist on the IT analyst firm “agenda” series. This one from IDC’s Frank Gens in the eXchange blog looks at the CEO’s agenda not the CIO’s.

CEOs’ Agenda for 2008: ‘Selling’ Joins ‘Innovation’ and ‘Customer Care’ at the Top

Click above to go to the IDC blog entry. Click on the graphic to expand the image.

Will the analysts drive down IT spending? Not if you talk to them.

In Saturday’s New York Times Business Day section there was a reassuring article by Steve Lohr called Belt-Tightening, but No Collapse, Is Forecast in Technology Spending. Reassuring because the IT executives and industry analysts interviewed all indicated that there was less likelihood that IT spending was going to be slashed like during the 2001 recession. Whew, it looks like the IT market will dodge the bullet this time! However this relief could be short lived if the IT analysts turn negative and start counseling their IT buyer clients to be conservative and cut spending.

What could turn the IT analysts negative on spending? The analysts could flip their opinion if all they hear are the concerns and fears of budget cuts from nervous IT executives. As explained Continue reading

Do you have a favorite piece of analyst research?

Have you read a piece of analyst research — research note, blog, podcast or whatever — recently that really made you go “hmmm”? It could be something that directly impacted your plans, how you are working on a task or it was so good that you shared it with colleagues. Drop me an e-mail with your nominations and the research will be highlighted. carter (at) sagecircle dot com
 
Question: What makes for outstanding research?

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