• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Webinar: Survey shows new risks for analyst relations

    Webinar: Survey shows new risks for analyst relations

    A first glance at the Analyst Value Survey shows new risks emerging for analyst relations professionals. We’re hosting a webinar on November 30 to hear how leading AR professionals are responding to them, and what the best practice is for your analyst relations program. Three risks stand out massively. First, there a big gap between the firms that vendors think […]

    Vendors’ five key thoughts about analyst firms

    Vendors’ five key thoughts about analyst firms

    Five things stand out from vendors’ responses to a survey we conducted after our Analyst Relations roundtable at the English Speaking Union. Analysts (including analysts who call themselves consultants or advisors) are often thought to have bias, especially if most of their revenue comes from vendors. Sometimes the effort put into staying informed makes analysts seem very process-driven but less […]

    Join us for the Forum in San José on November 17

    Join us for the Forum in San José on November 17

    Should someone you know be at the year’s most important discussion on analyst relations? We’ll be at the free ARchitect User Forum 2016 in San José, CA, on November 17. Professionals from industry leaders will introduce the sessions: Lopez Research, Digital transformation; IBM, AR in large organizations; Cognizant, Managing analyst events;  Capgemini, AR knowledge management; Wipro, Intelligence-driven relationships; and ARinsights, AR […]

    Take the 2016/17 Analyst Value Survey

    Take the 2016/17 Analyst Value Survey

    The Analyst Value Survey is open! Each year several hundred users of analyst research tell us which analyst firms they use, and which are most valuable. In exchange, they get access to our results webinar, where they discover which firms are delivering the most value in key market segments. You can take part too. Go to AnalystValueSurvey.com and click on […]

    Guess Who’s Looking for Top Talent in Analyst Relations?

    Guess Who’s Looking for Top Talent in Analyst Relations?

    Looking for a new direction in your Analyst Relations career? October is a time when new opportunities pop up in the field. From IBM to Google, we gathered the top US Analyst Relations firms with vacancies needing to be filled. If you’d like to learn more about the opportunity and to schedule an interview, contact these firms directly. However, if […]

Gartner’s Hype Cycle – Anticipate and Influence

Tip o’ the hat to Hill & Knowlton Global Technology Practice Director Josh Reynolds (bio, blog) for getting the ball rolling on how to approach the Hype Cycle. I met Josh early summer 2007 at Buck’s of Woodside (famed and quirky Silicon Valley hangout for venture capitalists and digerati) to discuss his ideas for influencing the Hype Cycle. Josh’s ideas were quite provocative and no doubt he can see a bit of their DNA in this piece of SageContentTM. I have not seen how Josh evolved his ideas into best practices, but perhaps he will post them on the H&K ARcade AR blog sometime in the near future.

As we mentioned in Thinking about Gartner’s Hype Cycle, the Hype Cycle is the most read piece of Gartner signature research by its clients, but it is often ignored by the vendor community because it does not directly rate vendors’ products or impact today’s sales opportunities. However, this is shortsighted as the Hype Cycle is influential on future IT strategies and budgets. As a consequence, vendors should be investing time into the Hype Cycle today in order to have an impact two to three years down the road.

There are three broad categories that AR teams have to work on: flattening the curve, speeding progress, and ensuring that their company is considered an exemplar for a particular technology, service, or technique on a Hype Cycle. This post will focus on the first category.

Flattening the Curve – One problem that vendors face when a technology or service is mentioned on one of the Hype Cycles is that the Peak of Inflated Expectations can get so high that there is a backlash.  This can completely derail a promising market before it has a chance to get down to and through the Trough of Disillusionment. In addition, a market can wallow in the Trough for much longer than need be, which of course negatively impacts vendor revenue streams. The answer to both problems is to flatten the curve, i.e., keep the Peak from getting too high and the Trough from getting too low.

In order to flatten the curve, vendors need to step back and look at the Hype Cycle differently. Rather than focus on the five named points (i.e., Trigger, Peak, Trough, Slope and Plateau), AR should be planning to change perception at the mid-points (click on the graphic to enlarge).

The first section then is Basic Education, where the vendor works to trigger the inclusion of its product/service/technique onto the appropriate Hype Cycle.  They must educate the analysts about its potential and where it fits into the market trends. Early on, there is a certain amount of priming the pump to get initial momentum.

Once the analysts understand the basic capabilities of the P/S/T and are starting to be a bit too enthusiastic about it, the campaign switches.  Now we are at the Reality Check phase at about half way up the initial curve. During this phase, AR is working to dampen excessive exuberance by narrowing the application of the P/S/T to a realistic set of applications and playing up the natural growing pains associated with a new P/S/T.

Just past the Peak, AR then switches to the Customer Success Story phase where the goal is to demonstrate real business value of the P/S/T when applied appropriately. The goal during this phase is to show how potential customers can obtain success if they are realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of the P/S/T.

Role of Competitors as Collaborators – There is one resource that probably does not come to mind when you are planning a Hype Cycle campaign – your competitors. Yes, there is natural tension between your company and other vendors that you wish to vanquish over the long run. However, it is in the best interest of all vendors to flatten the curve. This can accomplished through collaborating on how and when to communicate with the analysts. The more vendors that are talking to the analysts at the inflection points outlined above, and providing as many customer success stories as practical, the faster the P/S/T will slide through the Hype Cycle. When it hits the Slope of Enlightenment, then all the vendors can return to the normal competitive behavior.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Plan a Hype Cycle campaign that focuses on key inflection points, not the primary named points
  • Determine if it is realistic to partner with competitors on educating the analysts
  • Build into contracts for early customers, that any discounts require agreeing to be analyst references
  • Use a mix of interactions (e.g., briefings, inquiries, analyst consulting days) in order to maximize the opportunities to educate the analyst and manage expectations
  • Monitor analyst opinion carefully to determine when to move from one phase to the next

Bottom Line: Vendors can benefit if they work to influence the passage of their product, service or technique through the Hype Cycle. The key success factor is to flatten the curve by concentrating on the inflection points.

Question: AR teams – Have you ever tried to partner with a competitor in educating the analysts?


5 Responses

  1. […] much more posted in the coming months as we demonstrate our credentials.Given the attention that Carter and others have given to Hype Cycles in the not too distant past, it seems very appropriate to […]

  2. Interesting post, I haven’t seen this before. Thanks for the resource link – may post something related to this and link back from my site.

    – Richard

  3. […] we head into Hype… on Mastering the Hype Cycle – Hig…As we head into Hype… on Gartner’s Hype Cycle – A…As we head into Hype… on Thinking about Gartner’s…As we head into Hype… […]

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