• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Netscout continues unwise Gartner suit

    Netscout continues unwise Gartner suit

    Netscout and Gartner have scheduled their trial for next July. The case stands little chance of improving Netscout’s value. It does, however, risk harming the reputation of both analyst firms and analyst relations professionals. Over the last weeks, pressure has mounted on Netscout’s lawyers. Netscout claims Gartner’s Magic Quadrant harmed its enterprise sales and that the truth of Gartner’s statements […]

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Is this how the Quadrant lost its Magic?

    Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is the most influential non-financial business research document. In the late 1980s, it was a quick and dirty stalking horse to provoke discussions. Today it is an extensive and yet highly limited process, based on the quantification of opinions which are highly qualitative. The early evolution of the MQ tells us a lot about the challenge of industry […]

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    Saying farewell to David Bradshaw

    A funeral and celebration for David Bradshaw (shown left in this 2000 Ovum awayday photo, arm raised, with me and other colleagues) is to take place at West Norwood Crematorium, London SE27 at 2.45pm on Tuesday 23rd August and after at the Amba Hotel above London’s Charing Cross Station, on the Strand. David considered that that Ovum in that incarnation was […]

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw 1953-2016

    David Bradshaw, one of the colleagues I worked with during my time as an analyst at Ovum, died on August 11. He led Cloud research in Europe for IDC, whose statement is below. David played a unique role at Ovum, bridging its telecoms and IT groups in the late 1990s by looking at computer-telecoms integration areas like CRM, which I […]

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    AR managers are failing with consulting firms

    Reflecting the paradoxical position of many clients, Kea’s Analyst Attitude Survey also goes to a wide range of consultants who play similar roles to analysts and are often employed by analyst firms. The responses to the current survey show that consultants are generally much less happy with their relationships with AR teams than analysts are. The paradox is that as […]

Where do social media metrics fit into an AR measurement program? [Practitioner Question]

AR Metrics & MeasurementQuestion: Are social media like blogs and Twitter something we should be measuring or is it too early yet? Where does social media fit in a measurement scheme?

icon-social-media-blue.jpg If your analysts are using social media, then including those sorts of metrics in a measurement program is really not optional. In this case we are putting social media on par with published research, press quotes, and activity counts as something worthy of measuring. While a 140-character tweet does not have the impact of a Gartner Magic Quadrant, it can provide useful information that should be added to the data mix.

Social media has elements of both operational metrics and performance metrics. Some example uses include:

  • Operational
    • Unfiltered opinions feed into plans and briefings
    • Activity insights feed into interaction calendars
    • Tweets and blog comments by AR to an analyst fulfill top-of-mind touches requirements
  • Performance
    • Tonality tracks analyst opinion movement
    • Mentions of company, products, and competitors with opinion can track changes in perception

Social media metrics complement other sources of data. For example, social media can complement Spoken Word Audits because social media-based conversations between analysts and end users are often personal, unfiltered, and Continue reading

Want lots of analyst mentions in research, the press and social media? Simple, just screw up.

AR Metrics & MeasurementToo 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 Continue reading

AR Performance Metrics – July AR Coffee Talk

icon-coffee-talks.jpgThere are two types of AR metrics – operational and performance. Operational metrics are useful for the AR team only. Proving the value of AR requires data on the performance of the AR program rather than simple counts of analyst mentions or briefings held.

Join us to chat about what make good performance metrics that demonstrate the strategic value of AR.

August 4 at 8 AM Pacific – Free – Click here to register

August 13 at 10 AM Pacific – Free – Click here to register

AR Coffee Talks

Networking and chatting with peers is a great way to expand your knowledgebase. Unfortunately, we do not always have the time to Continue reading

The Top 5: AR Metrics Mistakes

AR Metrics & MeasurementOrganizations that use the Balanced Scorecard to report the effectiveness of their interactions with influencers often make their lives more difficult and the Scorecard less useful by picking the wrong items to measure. This Top 5 looks at issues surrounding the selection of metrics to put into the Balanced Scorecard.

5) Not picking items whose data collection can be out-tasked. Because data collection can be burdensome, managers should pick some items for the Scorecard whose data collection can be out-tasked (e.g., a clipping service for analyst quotes or a consulting firm for AR effectiveness surveys).

4) Picking items to measure that are too granular and thus too difficult to gather. A classic problem is picking metrics that require a significant amount of work to collect, analyze and report. This leads to the Balanced Scorecard being dropped from the regular activity list.

3) Not picking items that dovetail with corporate and departmental goals. A Balanced Scorecard can lose its relevance quickly if Continue reading

Knowing when an analyst is kicking off a research project – one of the paybacks for monitoring social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIntelligence about what an analyst is researching is a huge value of monitoring social media (e.g., Twitter, blogs, or social networking sites like LinkedIn). Here are two examples of analysts announcing projects that showed up in my RSS feed this week: 

Debbie Wilson, Gartner, in her blog post Call for Strategic Sourcing Suite Vendors. “Today I am kicking off the Magic Quadrant for Sourcing Application Suites update process – and calling for vendors that should be considered for inclusion.  (I have not decided on inclusion criteria yet – but definitely plan to cover a wider set of vendors than last year’s report … Anyone I left out?” Debbie also discusses why she is broadening her definition of the market and then lists 37 vendors she has already identified.

Greg Young (Twitter), Gartner, in his post New Magic Quadrant Upcoming: Web Application Firewalls. “The Gartner Senior Research Board gave me approval to research a Magic Quadrant on Web Application Firewalls (WAF). The publishing target is Q4.” Greg then goes on to discuss the evolution of the marketplace that justifies the need for a Magic Quadrant.

There are a number of calls to action for analyst relations (AR) professionals whose markets are covered in these posts.  These include:

  • Set up client inquiries with the analysts to learn more about the research projects
  • Make the decision about whether Continue reading

Spoken word audits are great tools and not hard to do

AR Metrics & MeasurementIT and telecommunications industry analysts often provide research and recommendations through the classic medium of the spoken word, especially during phone-based inquiry. Unfortunately, there is no clipping service that makes it easy for analyst relations programs to determine what analysts are saying during these inquiries. 

SageCircle developed a technique we call a “Spoken Word Audit” (click here for concept definition) that is rather straightforward and does not require significant labor, but does require preparation, dedication, consistency and follow up.

Why should an audit of the analyst’s spoken word be put into place? The audit has a number of purposes:

  • Obtain information to help sales reps rebut negative commentary (click here for a related post)
  • Gather intelligence on how the analysts are positioning the company
  • Measure the effectiveness of the AR program
  • Validate the efficacy of the marketing message
  • Provide an alternative to using only published research and press quotes for tracking analysts

The primary method for doing this type of audit is talking with analysts and posing a set of specific scenarios in order to gauge how well the analyst understands the vendor’s positioning and messaging based on the analysts’ answers. The scenarios should be very specific and incorporate elements that measure the various aspects of the vendor’s message, strategy, and tactics.

By being very specific you can eliminate the skewed results that would be generated by Continue reading

Defining “Spoken Word Audit”

n:  A technique to determine what opinions analysts are giving verbally to their clients and if those verbal opinions differ from published opinions. Spoken Word Audits are considered a critical activity because advisory analysts like Gartner influence in-progress sales opportunities significantly via phone-based inquiries with enterprise clients, typically IT managers. 

Spoken Word Audits consist of talking with analysts and posing a set of specific scenarios in order to gauge how well the analyst understands the vendor’s positioning and messaging based on the analysts’ answers. The scenarios should be very specific and incorporate elements that measure the various aspects of the vendor’s message, strategy and tactics. Spoken Word Audits are conducted periodically with the same analysts and similar scenarios in order to measure how analysts’ opinions are being changed by AR activities.