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 resources so it is important to be able to focus on the right community. Unfortunately it can be disastrous if a company arbitrarily ignores potential influencers so AR and PR need to collaborate on definitions so that a relevant commentator does not fall between the cracks.
This will become moot for those companies that set up “influencer relations” departments that take a unified view of the Fog of Influence. Until then, let’s see if the members of the analyst ecosystem can develop a definition of analyst that will all parties be more effective and efficient.
Potential elements of a definition:
Business model – Does the individual (or his/her firm) sell subscription market research, consulting services, retainer-based advisory, or white papers? Other business model elements?
Publishing model – Does the individual (or his/her firm) publish commentary only via blog, white papers, market research databases, other or some combination?
Visibility – Does the individual (or his/her firm) get quoted in the press, linked to by blogs, speak at firm events or speak at industry events or some combination?