Yesterday I was reading a thread (here) on the IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) LinkedIn group regarding Analysts’ adoption/use of social media and it got me to thinking.. It was claimed that the CIO did not see social media as an ‘appropriate source’ of analyst information. Maybe it’s because the analysts themselves have conditioned their customers to think that value=word count? As someone who still writes the occasional piece of copy, I can agree that it is much harder to write short than it is to ramble on. How can you possibly distill the core value of a 25 page whitepaper into a tweet of 140 chars? Some analysts firms regularly produce reports in excess of 100-150 pages, where is the value in that? Does the same customer then have to buy consulting hours so the analyst can explain the top 5 points of the report or the key takeaways? Some of you will be screaming, there’s an executive summary, you can read only that! My point is, you can write only that!
Social Media and CIOs
Going back to the social media comment. I have no problem either way if CIOs do or don’t like/use social media (though it is ironic that people who deal all day with technology are often the slowest to adapt), but I do have a problem with the amount of data that some analysts create and try to pass off as value. In my opinion value ≠ word count, and I would even state that is the duty/job of the analysts is to inform their customer of what they need to know in the shortest possible way, whether that is through a tweet, blog, phone call or a one-page whitepaper(you can always ask them which they prefer). CIOs and other customers have plenty of other stuff to do, they pay analysts to distill the information and tell them what they need to know in order to make the best possible decision.
I realize that some CIOs have teams of researchers just waiting to get their hands on your next 500 page report on The Internet of Things (or any other topic), but I dare say their time could be put to better use.
I know there will be people saying that I am just after instant gratification (Generation Me and all that) and that I should be willing to wade through a 150 page report to find out the 3 things that are really important to my business! Isn’t this the tail wagging the dog?
So for those of you who accused me of just ranting, and not providing any tangible ideas on how to improve things, here is my first BIG contribution to the industry (ready for it) …. Introducing the ONE PAGE WHITEPAPER. I suggest that if your analyst can’t distill the message down to a single page, then find one who can.
Maybe the next step will 140 chars Whitepaper that fits in a tweet? Tough, you bet! Impossible, we shall see!
Originally posted on Jonathon’s LinkedIn page.