• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Some of the firms mentioned by the IIAR’s analyst team awards fall short of excellence. That’s the verdict of several hundred analysts who took our Analyst Attitude Survey, and of the CEO of one of the top analyst firms. Phil Fersht left the comment below on our criticism of the IIAR awards. We thought we’d reprint it together with the […]

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    The 2016 Institute for Industry Analyst Relations’ awards seem to be rewarding firms for the scale of their analyst relations, rather than their quality. In a blog post on July 6th, the IIAR awarded IBM the status of best analyst relations teams, with Cisco, Dell and HP as runners-up. Together with Microsoft, which outsources much of its analyst relations to […]

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

     It’s a common challenge for providers: some new or fast-changing market contains very different solutions. Clients want either apples or oranges, but the analyst research reads more like fruit salad. As new solutions come into old markets, or as analysts try to squeeze hot new solutions into their less-exciting coverage areas, it’s increasingly hard for users of analyst research to make […]

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Because a lot of analysts take part in our Analyst Attitude Surveys, we are able to offer clients what we call a control group. In the language of research, a control group is a group of people who don’t get the treatment that we want to measure the effectiveness of. For example, most firms might be focussed on a top tier […]

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Worldwide, Analyst Relations teams are committed to fostering the best information exchange, experiences and trusted relationships with tightly-targetted global industry analysts and influencers. Sometimes the targeting is too narrow and analysts are treated inhumanly. However, the technology buying process is transforming and so must the benchmarking of analyst relationships. There’s already a long-term transformation of analyst relations. Over one-third of technology […]

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.

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