Where lies the boundary?

Interesting post by Carter Lusher from Sage Circle lasty week:
Spoon feed analysts public information « SageCircle Blog

Is it AR’s job to do the research for analysts? Or put differently, where’s the boundary between the analysts’ research job and AR’s job of providing information?

What do you think?

Event: IIAR Silicon Valley meeting, September 25

Peggy O’Neill of Hill & Knowlton and Evan Quinn of HP will be hosting an IIAR meeting at HP’s Palo Alto campus in Silicon Valley from 6:00 p.m. onwards on September 25. Note that this a change of location from that originally announced to make the event more accessible to AR professionals in Silicon Valley. The aim of the meeting is twofold: to hold an industry dialog with independent analysts and gauge interest in launching a Silicon Valley chapter of the IIAR.

The meeting kicks off with a panel discussion about ‘Life as an independent analyst in Silicon Valley’, and panel speakers include Rob Enderle, Josh Greenbaum, Charlene Li and Maribel Lopez. AR teams frequently struggle with how much attention to give independent analysts, some of whom have more media influence than buyer influence. The non-compete clauses at some of the major analyst firms limits analyst mobility, resulting in more independent analysts in California particularly. Are these analysts undercutting the influence of the branded firms? What’s the best way to work with them?

After the panel, IIAR board member Ludovic Leforestier of Oracle will lead a discussion about the IIAR and take questions about membership benefits.

If you are interested in coming along, please either contact Peggy directly or drop an email to IIAR secretary Hannah Kirkman at hkirkman at analystrelations dot org by 19 September.

Event: AR 2.0 at IIAR meeting with Josh Bernoff (Forrester), Dale Vile (Freeform Dynamics) & Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis) – Sept 17, London

Over the past few months, I have been debating the issue of how AR pros should use social media tools to enhance their analyst relations. Whilst it is clear that there is indeed a huge momentum of the use of blogs, twitter, wikis, facebook etc, what is unclear is whether it is AR’s job to be involved.

For example, does an analyst really want to be ‘friends’ with you or should the line be clearly drawn between what is an acceptable location for AR and analysts to interact? Indeed who’s job is it to comment or engage with analysts within social media? Is it the role of the senior execs or AR… or PR?

Another issue of course is content. Can AR use social media to influence analysts or at least understand what they are thinking? And what about when things go wrong – whilst it may be quite clear what the escalation path would be if a vendor disagrees with something that is written in a report – what process should we follow if we disagree a blog or a twitter post?

What is clear, is that there is a great deal of confusion about AR’s role within social media.

The next IIAR meeting hopes to address this and are delighted that social media experts Josh Bernoff (Forrester), Dale Vile (Freeform Dynamics) and Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis) will be joining the forum to take part in a moderated Q&A session to address these questions and more.

This panel session will conclude the next IIAR meeting (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) that will be held between 3.45pm and 6.30pm on September 17 at Edelman’s offices in London. The first half of the meeting is only for AR pros with the objective to share best practice and elect new members to the board.

If you would like to attend, please either contact me or the IIAR’s secretary Hannah Kirkman.

Using a briefing request form to capture information for the sales force

I recently came across another blatant example of an analyst firm misusing the process by which analysts are invited to attend a vendor briefing.

I was looking to set up a briefing with IDC’s Energy Insights. Although the analyst had accepted the briefing, the company still wants me to complete this form. According to the group operations manager: “This is a standard company policy when requesting a briefing with our analysts.”

Now although it’s a pain, I don’t usually have a problem filling in vendor briefing request forms.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, these are normally used to capture information that will help:

  1. the firm ensure that all relevant analysts are aware of the request, and
  2. the analysts decide whether or not to accept a meeting.

But it’s a bit annoying when the analyst firm is using the process to capture information that is obviously more relevant for its sales force than the analysts.

For example, alongside the regular stuff (eg what’s the briefing about, who would it be with, tell us about your company), Energy Insights wants to know:

  • Who is the head of marketing for your company? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Who is the head of product marketing for your company? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Who is responsible for your company’s strategic planning? (Name, title, email, and phone)
  • Does your company use market research to assist in strategic planning?
  • Does your company currently have any relationships with other market research firms?
  • Would you be interested in learning more about our services in your market area and the benefits of having a relationship with Energy Insights?

Easy enough information to provide – but does an analyst at Energy Insights really need to know this information in order to qualify a meeting? I’d love to know.

Now if it’s for use by the sales force… well, that makes more sense. I can see why an analyst firm thinks it’s a smart idea to capture all this information. Lovely juicy contact data for the new business machine.

But IDC, why not be honest (and obviously honest) about why you want it. Otherwise, this feels a bit slimy and underhand.

Note
I checked the other IDC companies as well:

IDC itself requires a considerable amount of information but you can see that it would all be useful to the analyst team. It’s roughly in line with the information requested by Gartner. Forrester Research (registration required, but it’s free) and Yankee Group.

However, Manufacturing Insights, Financial Insights, Government Insights, Health Industry Insights and Global Retail Insights – well, they all demand the same information as Energy Insights.

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