A potpourri of observations and comments about the analyst ecosystem and social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis is the Explanation Mark! blog post.

 Analyst leaves Forrester! – The fact that an analyst leaves a prominent firm (in this case Forrester security analyst Natalie Lambert to vendor Citrix) is not news. People change jobs all the time for a variety of reasons. Even in a recession. What is interesting is how open the news has been with the analyst and Forrester tweeting and blogging (e.g., see this post) about it. In the past, analyst firms were loathe to admit that an analyst had walked out the door, only telling clients and others on an individual basis to keep the word from spreading. Luckily that attitude is no longer possible because social media means that the word will get out sooner than later. So kudos to Forrester for being open about the change.

70 new entries in the Analyst Twitter Directory in the last week! – We did two updates to the Analyst Twitter Directory with the result being that the number of analysts in the directory went over 900. You might want to check out the AR Twitter Directory as it has 48 new entries.

Which analysts actually tweet? Pshaw! It doesn’t matter! – After SageCircle tweeted about the Analyst Twitter Directory getting near 900, there was this reply by HCL AR wizard and former Gartnerian @robert_desouza “the correct stat would be how many actually tweet of the 899.” Then HP AR guru @gerryvz tweeted “Yes it would be an interesting project to stack-rank Twanalysts by frequency, insight qual & market influence.” To both twits we say “Pshaw!” That is because ranking all the analysts in the directory by volume or insight is not relevant. What is relevant for AR teams is whether Continue reading

SageCircle AR Podcast for September 1, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Click here to listen to the podcast on your computer or visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 8: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

(00:00) Introduction

(01:01) News – Altimeter Group – Forrester superstars Jeremiah Owyang and R “Ray” Wang join and expand coverage beyond social media

(05:09) If AR does not respond to an analyst

(09:17) Large firms and why they don’t retain superstar analysts

(12:12) Analysts chattering on Twitter and why 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

Why large advisory analyst firms don’t seem to mind losing superstar analysts

By SageCircle with special guest contributor Gerry van Zandt

Update 9/24/09 2:05 pm PT: We are receiving links to interesting related posts that we are now adding to bottom of this post.

The recent departure of Forrester analysts R “Ray” Wang (personal-branded blog, Twitter handle) and Jeremiah Owyang (personal-branded blog, Twitter handle) has prompted the usual commentary and hand-wringing around what these departures mean. Questions we’ve heard center around: a) do the departures signal the demise of traditional analyst firms; and b)  and why analyst firms cannot keep their superstars.

Answers: no; and maybe they don’t want to.

Remember that superstars have always been leaving analyst firms. In the 1980s, George Colony and Tony Friscia left Yankee to form Forrester and AMR, and Dale Kutnick left GartnerGroup to launch META Group. In the 1990s, Gideon Gartner left Gartner to create Giga, and a group of Gartner analysts left and launched Jupiter Communications (while a number of Gartner analysts did join Jupiter, they did not co-found it).  These are just examples where the superstars founded what became good-sized firms with many analysts. There are many more examples where superstars have become successful single practitioners or have intentionally kept their firms at a “boutique” size.

There was a similar burst of twittering (in the old fashioned sense of the word) when social media superstar and Groundswell co-author Charlene Li (blogTwitter handle) and two other social media analysts left Forrester Research in the summer of 2008 (see Bursts of analyst departures in a hot research area are not unusual). So was Forrester doomed? Not at all. It still retained Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff (blog, Twitter handle). It also had a cadre of social media analysts built organically and expanded via the JupiterResearch acquisition, and it had a very promising young analyst who already had high visibility but had not yet achieved superstar status yet – Jeremiah Owyang. Fast forward a year, and Forrester has lost another social media superstar. Oh, woe is them! Not really. The fortunes of large, successful industry analyst firms do not rise or fall based on a single superstar. Forrester still has a large and strong team of analysts covering social media from many different angles. In fact, among the traditional IT and telecommunications analyst firms, Forrester clearly has the best and most prominent social media research coverage. This is partly because it caters to enterprise marketing professionals in both its end-user and vendor client bases, not just the IT department.

So why don’t firms like Forrester or Gartner keep their superstars? In some cases they can’t because the superstar is itching to start their own Continue reading

So you were left off a Wave or Magic Quadrant – what next?

We don't exist according to ForresterIn January 2009, The Forrester Wave™: Community Platforms, Q1 2009 was published. This happened to be the inaugural publication of a Wave for this particular market. The primary author of this Wave was Jeremiah Owyang (bio, Twitter handle, blog) who conducted an incredibly transparent – for a Forrester or Gartner analyst – process for the creation of this Wave (see list of relevant blog posts at the end of this post). Jeremiah’s use of social media gave vendors in this nascent market plenty of opportunity to know what was going on with this research.

As is with the case with any piece of analyst research covering a new, dynamic, and extremely fragmented market only a fraction of the possible vendors can be fit into the time and space available. In this case, it was nine of more than 100 vendors. Neighborhood America, a social networking platform vendor, was left off the Community Platform Wave and did not take kindly to the exclusion. Neighborhood America created a web page, “Why weren’t we included in the Forrester Wave Report?”, to tell its side of the story. They also put a link on their home page (graphic above) to make sure visitors knew to go to the page. The explanation was reasonably well done (SageCircle would have counseled some additional text to provide context) and did not overtly attack either Forrester or the analyst. The latter part is important because an attack would have looked like sour grapes by a sore loser.

This was a very smart step to do. You can see the Community Platforms Wave graphic on Flickr and the PDF of the research note is easily available for free on the web. As a consequence, Neighborhood America prospects might see the graphic or Wave research and decide to drop them from a pending sales opportunity without further information. While Neighborhood America’s response will not get the breadth of readership that a Forrester research note will, it is a useful exercise.

SageCircle does not know the exact details about why Continue reading

SageCircle AR Podcast for August 4, 2009

SageCircle AR Podcast ArtworkThe AR podcast is a review of the latest news and trends in the analyst ecosystem along with tips and tricks for analyst relations professionals and analyst research consumers. SageCircle strategists Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher co-host this bi-weekly program. You can find all the SageCircle podcasts on our podcast page.

Click here to listen to the podcast on your computer or visit the podcast page to download the MP3 file.  Click here to subscribe to the podcast within iTunes

SCP 6: Table of contents. Numbers in parentheses refer to minutes:seconds when the article starts within the podcast.

(00:00)  Introduction

(01:09)  News

(08:26)  Social media gives savvy analysts like Jeremiah Owyang a much greater reach

(11:32)  Starting AR planning for 2010

(14:24)  The next big thing might just be Continue reading

Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst

An interesting exercise is to compare the relative web traffic between the largest advisory analyst firm (Gartner), the largest IT market research firm (IDC) and a very visible analyst who has his own blog. Using the site comparison feature of Compete here is the graphic showing Forrester analyst extraordinaire and social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang’s (bio, Twitter handle, blog) personal blog Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Gartner.com and IDC.com:

Traffic comparison Gartner.com IDC.com and Jeremiah Owyang blog 

Click here or on the graphic to enlarge. The top blue line is Jeremiah’s blog, the green middle line is Gartner.com and the bottom orange line is IDC.com. There is not a single month in the past year where Web Strategy by Jeremiah did not receive more unique visitors (an average of 136,000 per month) than Gartner.com and IDC.com combined.

Not an apples-to-apples comparison… and that is the point 

Of course, comparing two very different types of websites, a blog vs. corporate sites, is not an apples-to-apples assessment. Rather this illustrates how a savvy analyst can leverage a personally branded blog to obtain unique access to a broader audience than he could even on the regular research website of a $1.2bn but very traditional analyst firm. This is because the analyst blog is easily Continue reading

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