Archive | January, 2010

JOB OPENING European PR & Analyst Relations Manager

This is a fantastic opportunity for a confident, motivated and enthusiastic team player with strong verbal and written communications skills.

Candidates should have a passion for technology and a passion for marketing and brand; delivering results, and conquering big challenges. The ability to think creatively and strategically with the ability to thrive in a dynamic environment is a must.

In this role, you will identify and engage directly with industry analysts and other specialists to educate and influence them, as well as to shape messaging for current products and the value proposition of the next generation of products and services.

In addition you will manage on a day to day basis the European PR agency to ensure that each region benefits from the corporate brand messaging as well as from local PR opportunities appropriate to each region. To be successful, you will have extensive knowledge of analyst & PR disciplines and processes and experience working with all levels of executives, customers and analysts. You will have significant experience in analyst relations, PR, or Brand in an IT environment with a successful track record. Strong technical knowledge and/or background in a technology environment is important as is experience of working in a pan-European role. Languages are essential and ideally you will speak a combination of Spanish, French, and English.

Please send your details to resourcing@reesmarx.com

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[GUEST POST] Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value

Carol Rozwell from Gartner (blog, twitter, bio) kindly allowed us to reproduce here her post on Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value. It neatly complement her peer Linda Rowan from IDC’s Briefing tips and best practices.

Last week, I was treated to a number of interesting vendor briefings, the most engaging of which was conducted in Second Life. But despite having the opportunity to view some innovative product offerings, I also had to contend with some frustrating vendor practices. In the spirit of helping vendors maximize the short time they have for a briefing with an analyst, I offer my list of five worst practices I wish vendors would curtail:

1. Don’t tell me about the market I cover. It’s important to understand how a vendor positions their product in a market, but taking 10 minutes of a 30 minute briefing to tell me about a market segment I’ve covered for years is a waste of precious time. It takes time away from what I really need to see – the product.

2. When I ask a question, please answer it – there and then! If I ask a question about sales revenue or product design, I do so because I want to hear the answer – right then. It’s incredibly frustrating to have the vendor say “we’ll get to that later in the presentation.” You should know that analysts have short attention spans. So if you gave me a slide deck, I’ll go off looking for the answer myself and ignore what you are saying about what you thought was more important than answering my query.

3. If you are going to make me log into a web meeting, use the interactive nature of the tool – don’t just present PowerPoint slides. We try our best to keep the briefing appointment once it’s been confirmed. But is sometimes means that I will have to take the call from a location other than my well-appointed office. Logging into a web conference may be inconvenient and it always wastes time. So if you are only going to show slides, save us both the headache.

4. Don’t read slides to me – do the demo. I’ve done lots of briefings; I can figure the rest out. Factual information about location, personal, revenue, etc is important. Unfortunately, too many vendors feel compelled to read every line on every slide before progressing to what I really want to see – the demo. Provide the info, but make the demo the centerpiece of the briefing.

5. If you ask me what I want to hear about, don’t ignore me and talk about something else. It is refreshing to have a vendor ask what information would be of most interest to me in my research. But once I’ve told you, don’t ignore me! If I told you I know enough about strategy and would prefer to hear about recent wins, cover that topic.

There, I feel better now. And if you are a vendor who will be briefing me in the future, I hope you appreciate these constructive suggestions.

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[Guest Post] Identifying influencers by apparent importance vs real trust

Analyst relations professionals are dealing with more types of analysts and analyst-like influencers every day. How do you know who’s important among these new faces? Some insights from a pharma influencer relations study can give you fresh perspectives on identifying, differentiating and prioritizing your AR targets.

This post is reprinted from my personal blog Sway, where I discuss analyst relations and broad-based influencer relations. You may know me best as founder and managing editor of Tekrati, Inc.

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Solid research is the only way to cut through the chatter about identifying and prioritizing influencers for word-of-mouth marketing and other forms of influencer marketing. Mike Gotta (Burton Group / Gartner ) yesterday pointed out a just such a study, from the pharma industry. I like this study because it focuses on finding the hidden opinion leaders who drive the first wave of word-of-mouth product referrals.

The study identifies two distinct types of opinion leaders among the target physicians:

  • those who are trusted and respected by peers (called sociometric leaders)
  • those physicians who think of themselves as well connected and influential (called self-reported opinion leaders)

The opinion leaders identified by their peers are not the traditional targets pursued by marketers. If anything, they contradict current marketing wisdom about influencers and influentials. They are not overtly well connected, outgoing or high profile in terms of being published or public speakers.

Three nuggets to think about:

The study finds little overlap between the two types of influencers. Physicians fell into one group or the other.

The under-the-radar opinion leaders are quicker to use new product and more likely to influencer others to try it. This finding is based on matching network data with perscription records.

The under-the-radar sociometric opinion leaders are more interested in what their peers are doing, and are more open to word-of-mouth or social influence, than the self-reported opinion leaders.

Both types of opinion leaders play important roles in robust influencer marketing programs. One group is not better than the other; they’re just different kinds of people. The best course of action is to identify and address both types of opinion leaders. That means doing more research and more segmentation.

Useful links:
Hat tip: Mike Gotta
Study: Opinion Leadership and Social Contagion in New Product Diffusion – by Raghuram Iyengar, Christophe Van den Bulte, and Thomas Valente, 2008
Summary of Study: Knowledge@Wharton

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Around Claus Egge in 10 questions

Today I have the privilege to introduce Claus Egge whom I’ve known for quite some time now as he was the lead storage analyst in EMEA for IDC. They’ve let some talents go recently and he’s now working as an independent analyst: check his site here.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Storage, content, hardware, software, cloud, backup, protection, DR, BC. The industry has been to make these disciplines as invisible as possible. IT professionals want to take all this for granted, but with an increased focus on how to make use of the information. It is not so much that there is an awful lot of information, it is about finding out the way to deliver the information and add value. There is plenty of scope to help customers and industry being successful.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    Insight: there is more free information available, so it presents a dilemma: it actually makes it harder to search and digest for industry and customers. But good intelligence is always worth having. Spotting customer behaviour before it changes is cool. Opinion: quantity does not equal quality. Marketing support: The industry needs to be smarter about it’s spending as it attempts to grab the attention of customers and prospects.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Depends: meeting contacts is different from managing data models, so every task has got its place. It is about discipline, looking after customers of course, but also freeing up time to experiment with ideas.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    The best relationships are based on mutual respect and understanding each other’s goals and reality. So back to the question about things to avoid: pretending solutions are already perfect, pretending customers are blissfully happy, pretending competition is beneath contempt. Lots of time has been wasted that way. The best repeatable encounters are the ones you always look forward to and all parties get value from them.
  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
    Currently enjoying the freedom of running my own business. Mostly vendor business but exploring IT professionals too.
  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
    Finding the information a customer is looking for in order to help make smarter decisions.
  7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    Good AR practice balances the need to get in touch and the flow of information by importance. Once events are planned the good ones are a mixture of plenaries about new strategy, one-on-ones with the right execs and not least a chance to socialise. Some companies consistently put on solid gatherings and everybody benefits. Others dither and change their approach frequently. It is not so much that the paranoid may survive as much as not letting paranoia rule.
  8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    Varied: from strategic advice over bespoke data cuts, customer surveys, white papers, speaking at events and workshops.
  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    I’ll volunteer a pub in West London. Great choice of beers as you would expect from me, but also a good restaurant. Its name is The White Horse, it is on Parson’s Green in SW6. Worth travelling across London for and also worth finding if you live abroad on a trip to London.
  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    My challenge is clearly increasing my business. But also about articulating successfully how industry and customers need to work smarter and better together. I am still excited that there are a lot great solutions available to IT customers; let us help more customers exploiting them.
  11. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
    I would like to make a plug for Martin Hingley at ITCandor. Great insight, great integrity and his energy is a source of inspiration. We worked together for many years
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Next IIAR discussion group call on AR measurement and evaluation

Our next monthly discussion group teleconference is next Wednesday, January 20th, on the topic of AR measurement and evaluation.

The call will be lead by Ellie Warner, who recently authored a Best Practice white paper on this topic for the IIAR.

IIAR members who would like to join the call, please contact Hannah Kirkman for dial in details.

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Sourcing and advisory panel at IIAR London Forum in January

The next IIAR London Forum will be on January 28th starting at 3:45 p.m. GMT.

For this event, we’re delighted to welcome a panel of sourcing and advisory firms, including Alsbridge, Equaterra, and TPI. Forums are open to all IIAR members. A limited number of guest places are available for those who have not previously been to an IIAR event.

For more information, please contact IIAR Secretary Hannah Kirkman at hkirkman (at) analystrelations (dot) org.

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Best practice AR at the Mobile World Congress: panel discussion highlights

Yesterday the IIAR had a great turn-out for its teleconference on best practice analyst relations at the Mobile World Congress this February in Barcelona.

The discussion was exceptional and the featured panelists included:

• AMDOCS, Brian McManus
• CCS Insight, Ben Wood
• Ericsson, Peter Olofsson
• Vodafone, Janine Aitken-Young.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

• Every analyst attending gets hundreds of requests for meet ups. Resources don’t exist for every analyst to meet with every vendor
• MWC is for analyst meetings not analyst briefings. Pre-brief analysts about news and then arrange 15 minute catch up meetings at the MWC
• Logistics are extremely challenging at the MWC. Pre-planning and spokesperson preparation is essential; allow time in between meetings
• Check the time you are allowed into the conference before scheduling breakfast meetings
• Use multiple ways to evaluate AR success at the event
• Be ready to fact check as analysts are writing blogs and reports on tight deadlines
• Don’t plan meet ups with analysts at social events and don’t plan on analysts attending social events unless there’s a big ‘hook’
• 80% of what’s discussed with an analyst at the MWC is forgotten

All in all a very useful discussion and thanks again to the panelists for their participation.

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[Guest post] Blogger relations at SAP

Analyst relations is a world of shifting territory, with convergence arising among blogs, traditional analysts, and even the media. I wrote this post to discuss how one software vendor navigates the blogging aspect of these difficult waters.

This post is reprinted from my blog at ZDNet, which is called IT Project Failures.

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Enterprise software vendors are an important part of the blogging dialog ecosystem, along with technology customers, analysts, system integrators, and public relations firms.

Among enterprise vendors, SAP is an industry leader in working with bloggers, so I thought it would be helpful to start the new year with a post that highlights the company’s Blogger Relations program.

SAP’s blogging outreach efforts are successful for three reasons, which other enterprise vendors should consider when creating their own blogging outreach strategy:

1. Ongoing relationship

SAP runs a formal blogging program that includes regular contact by phone, email, and Twitter; invitations to conferences and special events; and other opportunities to interact with SAP senior management, employees, and customers.

There are two primary contacts for bloggers at SAP, each of whom maintains an open-door policy. When I am working on a post and need a source, this means “one-click” access to virtually any employee in the company.

This convenience and accessibility simplifies gaining detailed information about SAP’s activities and products. The clarity of SAP’s message depends on the particular interviewee, but at least the opportunity for dialog is present.

2. Customized programming

SAP is attentive to the professional interests of bloggers in their program. As a result, each participant receives individual attention regarding his or her specific area of focus. In my case, for example, emphasis tends toward discussion around issues pertaining to projects and the intersection of business and IT. Other bloggers engage SAP in areas such as sustainability or enterprise technology.

This customized programming is especially significant when SAP holds events and arranges meetings with senior executives. Matching bloggers and executives who share specific interests helps keep the discussion relevant to all parties.

3. Mutual expectations

The relationship between SAP and bloggers requires substantial investment of time and effort for both sides. My “covenant” with any vendor is simple and fair: I seek straightforward access to information while the vendor has a right to balanced analysis.

Of course, SAP advances its perspective and I write about IT failures, so natural tensions are present. These tensions are healthy and help ensure that blog posts do not devolve into a glorified press release or a one-sided attack.

To learn more about the history and goals of SAP’s blogging program, I recorded this video with Mike Prosceno, the company’s Vice President of Social Media Relations:

Link to Youtube clip of Mike Prosceno / VP Social Media relations at SAP.

THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS

By demonstrating serious commitment to open up and engage, SAP now participates in conversations that previously eluded the company. This kind of personalization is difficult to achieve, especially for such a large company.

The blogging program actually represents an investment in the rapidly evolving future of corporate communications, which has seen barriers drop in traditional boundaries around media and analyst relations. Blogging offers a particular challenge to corporate communications because it does not fit easily into existing media or analyst definitions.

Serious enterprise bloggers are typically professional experts in some aspect of enterprise software, raising strong parallels with industry analysts. Unlike analysts affiliated with established firms, however, most bloggers are independent and have no contractual relationship with the vendor. At the same time, some industry analysts also write excellent blogs, which further blurs traditional distinctions.

To place these distinctions into broader context, I spoke with Jason Busch, Managing Director of analyst firm, Azul Partners. Jason is also a top enterprise blogger on procurement issues, writing at Spend Matters.

Here’s what Jason told me:

I’ve often found the transparency of bloggers to be a breath of fresh air relative to traditional industry analyst firms.

In general, the better tech bloggers in the enterprise space fully disclose clients, affiliations, advertisers/sponsors, etc. In contrast, traditional analyst revenue waters are often murky; you don’t know who is paying them or how much.

SAP was way ahead of the curve in recognizing the rising role of bloggers and the blurring of analyst/blogger distinctions. It’s probably the most prescient thing they’ve done from a marketing perspective.

My take. SAP understood early on that traditional corporate communications has shifted from a message-based orientation to identifying, building, and nurturing relationships with influencers.

Despite the maturity and excellence of its program, however, SAP now faces competition in blogging relations from other enterprise vendors, some of whom are catching up quickly. To maintain its lead, SAP must continue to innovate and invest in this area.

The growth of enterprise blogging as a recognized form is great news for technology buyers, who rely on independent sources of information when making important technology and business decisions.

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Join the IIAR for a teleconference on AR best practice at Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress 2010 (MWC) is now less than two months away and the clock is ticking. In past years up to 50,000 attendees showed up in Barcelona, all hoping to make the most out of the event. What’s the best strategy for successful AR in this kind of environment?

To answer that question and many more about the show, the IIAR has organised a teleconference panel of experts to discuss best AR practices for MWC and to share personal anecdotes.

When:

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. GMT/10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. ET

Panelists include:

  • Amdocs, Brian McManus, Analyst Relations Director
  • CCS Insight, Ben Wood, Director of Research
  • Ericsson (panellist TBD)
  • Vodafone, Janine Aitken-Young, Senior Industry Analyst Relations Manager

If you would like to join the discussion, please email me for dial-in details at hkirkman (at) analystrelations (dot) org.

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[JOB OPENING] Analyst Relations Manager at RightNow

[THIS JOB IS POSTED ON BEHALF OF RIGHTNOW. THE IIAR CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE CONTENT.]

The Analyst Relations Manager is a key role on RightNow’s Influencer Relations team. Reporting to the Director of Global Influencer Relations, the AR Manager is responsible for maintaining strong, positive relationships with industry analysts and other influencers to drive awareness of and advocacy for RightNow and our solutions. This person works closely with executives, product marketing, product management and the broader marketing team. This is a great opportunity to help build and evolve the analyst relations program at an innovative and growing company.

This position can be located in Bozeman, MT; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; NY,NY; San Mateo, CA; Boulder, CO; Rochester, NY; Washington, DC; and/or Dallas, TX

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Maintain positive relationships with key industry analysts and other influencers
  • Develop and execute analyst communications strategy
  • Quickly respond to inbound analyst requests
  • Increase RightNow’s position  in key analyst rankings such as Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Waves
  • Drive coverage in relevant reports
  • Develop presentations for analyst activities such as briefings and strategy sessions
  • Plan and coordinate analyst sessions including briefings, tours, strategy days, analyst days, and inquires
  • Effectively communicate analyst data and highlights to employees, particularly sales
  • Work with Sales to leverage analysts to create opportunities and drive deals
  • Support public relations and marketing with analyst participation in their programs as required
  • Respond to internal requests for data and information
  • Maintain analyst relations budget and negotiate contracts
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in Analyst Relations in the technology industry with a strong track record of driving results
  • Established relationships with industry analysts
  • Experience with Customer Experience, Customer Service or CRM applications and Cloud Computing preferred
  • Excellent communication, writing, project management and relationship management skills
  • Ability to balance, prioritize and deliver excellent results under tight deadlines with limited resources
  • An enthusiastic team player who is proactive, energetic, efficient, resourceful  and has a dedication to excellent
  • Bachelor’s Degree

To apply, please click here.

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