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

Incorporating Social Media Metrics into Your Measurement Program – A SageCircle Webinar

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSome of today’s new challenges for AR teams are how to determine if there is value to monitoring analyst opinions on blogs, Twitter, and social networks like LinkedIn; how to do the monitoring; and how to use the information gathered to create meaningful metrics. To help analyst relations teams be proactive with the emerging measurement requirements for social media, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on providing the tools and insights needed to efficiently collect, analyze and report social media metrics. 

This webinar is designed to teach you how to measure analyst social media traffic, the various methods for automating your social media monitoring for effective data gathering, and ways to measure both the mentions and the tonality.  We will discuss how to incorporate social media into your balanced scorecard and provide concise reporting to executives.

Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • How do social media metrics fit into the overall AR measurement and reporting program?
  • What are the social media metrics needed for both performance and operational measurements?
  • What are the best practices for collecting social media metrics?
  • What are the approaches for reporting on social media activities and outcomes, either as standalone reports or as part of a broader reporting structure?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists will provide a succinct analysis of Continue reading

Superstars Owyang and Wang joining Altimeter Group is not just about social media

Logo - Altimeter GroupOn August 27, 2009, the Altimeter Group announced (click here for press release) that it was expanding with Deborah Schultz and former Forrester analysts R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang.  They join Charlene Li, former Forrester social media analyst and co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies . Here are some salient points about the announcement that we picked up from Altimeter’s briefing for SageCircle: 

  • This is a true firm, not a loose collection of individuals operating under a marketing umbrella
  • They are Silicon Valley-based partners which will permit creation of a coherent team and methodology
  • Their coverage emphasis will be on “emerging technologies” not social media
  • The focus will be on thought leadership and practical applications
  • Their business model will incorporate many traditional analyst firm elements (e.g., vendor selection, training, consulting, and speeches) with the addition of a hands-on lab and a community platform
  • Regularly published, client-only research is not part of the model

Because of the partners association with social media – as analysts, corporate practitioners, and personal usage – the coverage of this announcement will likely give too much play on that aspect. While an important part of Altimeter’s marketing and initial research coverage, SageCircle thinks that focusing on social media misses other more interesting implications of this announcement:

  1. Altimeter has the potential to be a contender (see Boutique Analyst Firms: Pretenders and Contenders) with serious visibility and influence
  2. Altimeter has the potential to grow a serious technology buyer client base, maybe over 50%, unlike most single practitioners and analyst boutiques that rely on vendors for revenues
  3. A technology buyer client base when combined with its vendor selection services should increase Altimeter’s relevance to vendor analyst relations (AR) and other influencer programs
  4. Altimeter has the potential to systematically cover Continue reading

Forrester adds 20 analysts to Analyst Twitter directory and dozens of contributors to the role-based team blogs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgForrester gives us yet more data that social media is being adopted by the major firms. Twenty additional Forrester analysts were added to Analyst Twitter Directory since the August 14th update. The 58 additions to the Forrester Blog Directory are equally interesting but not as time compressed as we had not updated the directory in some time. Here are some observations.

Research associates are using social media to raise their profiles. Research associates are those folks that do a lot of the grunt work when it comes to analyst research projects. They might get an occasional byline mention, but do not have an entry on the official analyst bio page. We have noticed that some savvy research associates are using blogs and Twitter to start building their personal brands. For instance, the Sourcing & Vendor Management role blog had been dormant all year with zero posts until early July when three new contributors revived the blog. When we started adding the contributors to the Forrester Blog Directory we noticed that none were analysts, rather they were all research associates. In addition, there are some research associates who are also tweeting. We include research associates in the directories because some will be promoted into full analyst status some day.

Not all analysts named as contributing to Forrester blogs are really blogging. We noticed several cases where two or more analysts are on the byline of a particular blog post, but that is the only time that they appear in all the blogs. The blog posts in question were obvious official responses to a Continue reading

Should AR respond to an analyst blog post or dismiss it? The answer is “Yes.”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgNext question? Seriously, this is not an either/or decision but one based on the circumstances of a particular blog post and governed by the communications policy and decision process that the analyst relations (AR) team has put into place.

There are many factors that will go into a decision framework to determine whether and how to respond to an analyst blog. These include visibility of the blog and individual post, relevance of the analyst, relevance of the topic, intensity of the opinion expressed, perceived motivation of the analyst, and so on.

Likewise, there are options for how AR responds to an analyst blog post. In some situations, AR can and should ignore responding to a post. In others, AR should pick up the phone and call the analyst or send an email. In yet other cases, AR should leave a comment on the blog post to correct factual errors. On other occasions, AR will find it useful to engage in a comment-based, asynchronous “conversation” to not just correct errors but to discuss differences of opinion when it comes to the analysis in the post. If the vendor or AR team has an appropriate blog, it can also be a platform for responding to an analyst’s blog post.

The one thing that AR cannot do is ignore analyst blogging and tweeting. AR needs to monitor all forms of Continue reading

A potpourri of observations on social media and the analyst ecosystem

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTime to take a minute to check in with what’s up with the analyst ecosystem and social media.

Atwitter about Twitter – Twitter continues to be a hot topic in general with some negative backlash developing (e.g., Morgan Stanley’s report that teens do not care for Twitter and Nielsen’s research that millions are “Twitter quitters”). So what? It does not matter how many millions of users don’t use Twitter after signing up or how many millions follow some actor or talk show host. What matters for AR teams is whether their most relevant analysts are using Twitter and how it is being used.

Forrester and Gartner Blog Traffic: Nothing to sneeze about – We caused a bit of a buzz when we compared the traffic hits on Jeremiah Owyang’s personal blog to Gartner’s and Forrester’s corporate websites in Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst because Jeremiah’s blog had twice the traffic of the two corporate websites combined. Looking at the firms’ own blog networks shows good traffic to them as the graphic illustrates (click here or graphic to enlarge). Forrester’s team blogs have averaged 65,000 unique visitors per month over the last year. The Gartner Blog Network has grown steadily since its September 2008 launch to 29,000 unique visitors in July.

Forrester Gartner blog networks traffic - small 

Social media metrics, useful but not “special” – As we were working on Continue reading

Don’t discount the business value of analysts’ 350,000+ phone-based inquiries with end-user clients

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn all the buzz about 21st century social media like Twitter and blogs there is this 19th century warhorse that is the analyst firms’ secret weapon – the telephone.

 Yes, the lowly telephone.

A common conversation SageCircle has with vendor executives is their opinion that analyst research is commoditized because so much information is available for free on the Web and in blogs, thus analyst influence must be dropping. It quickly turns out that the executive is almost always referring to the analysts’ published research. Our point in this post is that written research has always been commoditized and thus the written word is not what sells analyst services. What clients really buy is spoken advice – personalized and delivered real time – that cannot be commoditized, digitized, and distributed around the Internet.

Many members of the vendor community do not have a visceral feel for the client value delivered by these ad hoc phone-based inquiries between analysts and end users because they have never participated in one. Often vendor executives approve spending for analyst contracts because they think it is all part of a pay-to-play payola scheme. Because of this attitude they never bother to actually use the inquiry services they buy. 

However, the typical end user client of an advisory firm does not have this negative bias about analyst firms. For the enterprise IT manager, the advisory analyst is a trusted, objective advisor. In many cases, the analyst can actually save the client many times the analyst contract cost by providing timely insights – via a short phone inquiry – about a vendor contract the IT manager is Continue reading

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