Too often the number of times a vendor is mentioned by analysts is considered a key metric for analyst relations. While a potentially useful part of an overall measurement program, simple counts of mentions or share of voice as the primary metric is totally inadequate. That is because without context, tonality, and relevance, mentions can often be misleading.
One example of how simple counts of mentions are inadequate is what happens to counts and share of voice when a vendor is embroiled in a scandal. During the scandal the vendor’s mentions and share of voice skyrockets, but is this really a good thing?
Another reason why mentions is inadequate is that they do not take into account the analysts spoken word interactions with enterprise technology buyers, which is a key deliverable by advisory analysts like Gartner and Forrester.
As a consequence, simple counts or share of voice metrics should not be given primary weight in an AR measurement program. Rather AR should develop a program that balances performance and operational metrics within the context of the AR strategic and tactical plan. While more work, this approach will do a better job of communicating AR’s contribution to the business to executive sponsors.
- Develop operational measurements that can contribute to improving the AR program
- Stress performance measurements than can demonstrate strategic value to your sponsor and stakeholders
- Put processes in place to uniformly and efficiently collect identified metrics
- Create reports that balance metrics and address the needs of the reader, don’t forget that the team needs to see program progress differently than the sponsor.
Bottom Line: Leading-edge analyst relations programs start with planning and measurement to ensure efficient and effective application of AR resources toward generating quantifiable business value. In addition, a pragmatic plan, coupled with appropriate metrics, is critical to gaining and maintaining active executive sponsorship and support.
You so much get it Carter (pun intended).
You could add also that very often clippings (aka mentions) can be high in volume but neutral in bias, as it’s the case most of the time for IDC or DQ: they report market shares movements or trends, which are invariably picked up by journos (some figures are great to substanciates an article quickly and easily) but by essence they’re either vendor neutral or AR can’t influence them.
This may in some cases cause some teams to defocus from analysts with real influence (I’ll discuss the concept of influence in a post some time this summer on the IIAR blog).
Agree Carter. Share of voice by itself, without measuring the “sentiment” would be useless. Sort of like measuring interactions without relating them to an outcome. We measure share of voice in analyst output, analyst quotes in the press, and then rate by positive, neutral, or negative sentiment. Then we compare our net positive with our top five competitiors. It is part of a five-point metrics process we have in place. It sure helps when budget time and reviews come around. Next stop, comparing analyst influence on win/loss reports (I’ve done this before at another company).
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