Over the last 12 years, my colleagues and I have run dozens of webinars and telephone conferences to address the most frequently asked questions of analyst relations managers. This week I’ve been running the numbers, looking to see which topics got the most attention. Several of these topics were used more for than one event and, indeed, looking back even to 2003 I can see that some of the topics are timeless. Five thoughts come to mind. Continue Reading →
Author Archive | Duncan Chapple
CeBIT is four weeks away! What can AR professionals do to make the most of the largest tech event in EMEA? What’s possible even at this short notice?
In Tuesday’s IIAR webinar, we will discusss on how you can attract attention from analysts — and explain what’s not possible. Long-time IIAR members Yvonne Kaupp (LinkedIn, @YveKaupp) from T-Systems, Simon Jones (LinkedIn, @MrNesjo) from OnPR and Duncan Chapple (LinkedIn, @DuncanChapple) from Kea will lead the discussion, linking the conference to the overall plan for your AR programme. Continue Reading →
While the Northern hemisphere is getting chilly, this is the one month when salespeople at firms like Gartner and Forrester really start to sweat. Many vendors sign off their major contracts with analysts firms around now, and it’s a great opportunity for analyst firms and vendors to maximise the value from their contracts.
Despite the huge scale of vendor spending with analysts, many users don’t get the best value from their subscriptions. Gartner has a huge number of account managers and, while some clients don’t like being sold to, the advantage of working with Gartner is that it works harder than most other firms to make sure that seat-holders benefit from what they have bought.
By: Duncan Chapple, Consultancy Director at Loudhouse
This is an independent opinion piece submitted by an IIAR member and AR professional – it does not represent the official views of the IIAR.
Analyst relations (AR) programs have a substantial opportunity for improvement. This month I’ve been reviewing ten years’ worth of data from the Analyst Attitude Survey, which Loudhouse Research and Lighthouse AR co-produce. Around 700 analysts have taken part in the survey and, after around 180 analysts downloaded the summary last week, I’ve also been thinking over comments from them. What I’ve seen is that there’s a real opportunity to work smarter and more strategically. Continue Reading →
Nice post on Ovum by the folks at Loudhouse Blog, reprinted here with their permission. Of course, because it’s a Loudhouse post it’s not the official IIAR position, in case anyone thought otherwise. See also the other Ovum posts on this blog, including the one on our recent IIAR London Forum featuring Ovum’s top management.
Ovum, which has been the leading European-headquartered analyst firm for around twenty years, has been going through a lot of change. That seems to be confusing both the vendor community and analyst relations professionals, who grilled the firm’s management recently. Vendors are questioning Ovum’s relevance now in way we have not seen before. The changes at Ovum are causing these confusions unintentionally but, despite that, the firm remains a key influencer in Europe. Continue Reading →
The IIAR’s UK chapter had a highly interactive discussion on March 14 thanks to the presence of Constellation Research‘s R “Ray” Wang (@rwang0) and three star analysts who’ve joined his firm as vice-presidents and principal analysts: Alea Fairchild (@afairch), Charles Brett (@charlesbrett) and Paul Papadimitriou (@papadimitriou).
The meeting at the IIAR London Forum, organised by Simon Levin in the plush Bell Pottinger, HQ heard a pointed discussion on the development of new value propositions in the analyst industry, reflected by the successful growth of Constellation, which only launched in 2010. Continue Reading →
Yankee’s Group’s summer repositioning and restructuring has, more or less, completed the firm’s evolution from a full-service analyst and consulting firm into a data-driven research and advisory firm focussed on mobility (which the firm defines as advancements that enable fluid access to any content, applications or services from any device, by anyone, from anywhere at anytime). Continue Reading →
The IIAR’s developing discussion on the crisis in AR (reflected by analysts’ declining comfort in recommending solutions) took interesting turn recently. In the the institute’s second conference call on the topic, I was asked to spell out suggestions for how analysts can reverse the falling quality of information sharing by vendors, which is the root cause of analysts’ lowering confidence. These are my four suggestions. Continue Reading →
After more than a decade consulting to analyst relations teams, and some year before as an analyst, I’m seeing a deep, and deepening, crisis in analyst relations. It’s reflected in hard data from surveys of analysts and, in discussions over the last few weeks with AR colleagues in the hub of that crisis (the USA), I’m seeing it confirmed by the experiences and challenges facing AR professionals. Continue Reading →
A while back, Curt Monash (@curtmonash, blog) caught our attention by calling on tech vendors and solution providers to disclose which IT analysts’ white papers posted on their web pages, or otherwise used in marketing, are sponsored. That’s good practice, and one which most AR professionals have supported over the last decade or more.
But since AR is a two-way street, what about the reverse? Shouldn’t IT analysts (and actually, pretty much about everyone, including bloggers) disclose if a specific research area, project, note, blog post, white paper, speech, webcast, etc, is being paid for by a third party?
Today Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC, @pac_consultants) bought Berlin-based analyst and consulting firm Berlecon Research (@nicoledufft). It’s a excellent choice for PAC, and a very natural partner for Berlecon because of the two well-established firms’ long period of cooperation and their similar continental cultures and the consulting-heavy business model which is essential to success in the German market. Continue Reading →
The analyst relations profession has, like the industry analyst industry, been a beneficiary of the difficult times over the last few years. While staff turnover has slowed greatly, AR managers continue to win a substantial salary premium over other marketing and communications managers. Because the compensation packages of AR managers can be complex, it’s been hard to get clear data until this month when the IIAR published its first AR salaries survey.
Online job sites like Simply Hired, which are often used for more junior AR roles, says that its AR vacancies have an average salary of $67,000; around 30% more than public relations. However, even those impressive figures conceal the value that large companies place on the ability of senior AR managers to turn around details. Duncan Chapple (@duncanchapple, LinkedIn), one of the IIAR co-founder who analysed the data, says “Average salaries for AR professionals are between $110,000 and $130,000 a year, with higher salaries for global responsibilities and lower salaries for managers working in PR agencies. While AR people are normally in billion-dollar revenue firms, the turnover of AR staff is extremely low: reflecting the deep expertise needed to get to world-class standard. It’s no wonder that AR specialists are also called on to lead activities like market intelligency, influencer relations and media relations.”
The IIAR surveyed 89 managers in the niche analyst relations community. A full presentation of the results is available to IIAR members at http://bit.ly/2010SalarySurvey
Yesterday I hosted a panel of AR leaders to discuss AR best practices in an IIAR phone call. All of them have amazing insights and experience:
- Larry Bissinger (@LarryBiss, LinkedIn) of HP in Plano, TX leads up HP Enterprise Services Industry Analyst Relations, and previously had a similar role at EDS.
- Wendy Shlensky (@WLS26, LinkedIn) is Industry Analyst Relations at Infosys (topics such as RIM, Packaged Apps [ERP, SCM,CRM], Testing, SOA, Cloud, SAAS, BPO, BI, Europe), Yogini, ice cream lover
- Sushma Rajagopalan (LinkedIn), is Head Global Strategy – L&T Infotech. Since 2007 she has headed Global Strategy, M&A and Marketing
- Rob Petrucelli (@RobboPetro,LinkedIn) is the Global Director of Technology AR at Accenture and is based in NYC. Rob has been with Accenture for 10 years and previously worked in AR at KPMG Consulting and also spent several years at Gartner in the 90s.
Datamonitor’s truck rolled around the Gartner headquarters in Stamford, CT, this morning. The firm’s Ovum’s business is aiming to hire, and the hoarding on the van asked analysts to send their resume in. As Greg has argued, Datamonitor may have to work hard to get Gartner analysts’ attention: and it seems to know it.
(Our thanks go to Steve Keifer for writing this appreciation of Larry De’Ath, who died this time last year. Steve outlines Larry’s views on analyst relations, which were always notable. I first came across Larry in 1999, when he was at Merant, but really got to know him in 2004 after he joined GXS. It’s a pleasure to bring his insight to a wider audience.)
Last April, Larry De’Ath, a good friend and colleague of mine passed away. I had the opportunity to work with Larry for a little over four years during his time at GXS. Larry had a number of things he was extremely passionate about – the RIM Blackberry device; drinking Diet Coke; golf trips to Thailand; Chinese history and culture; and most importantly, his two daughters. But at work his passion was concentrated on analyst relations. Before I met Larry I had never really given much thought to the function of Analyst Relations (AR). To me, it was just one of those things that the Public Relations(PR) team did in addition to their core purposes of issuing news releases, seeking media coverage and shaping public opinions about the firm. But to Larry, AR was the most important aspect of corporate communications.
It is amazing how when you meet someone who is very passionate about a particular hobby, subject or career, how that person’s enthusiasm can shape your opinions as well. Such was the case with AR and Larry. Through my work with Larry, I gained a newfound appreciation for the complexities of AR. And I learned how someone who is highly skilled in the AR trade can generate significantly higher ROI from analyst firms and broader market influence. AR is really about building relationships with people and attempting to influence their thinking on topics relevant to your company. I think one of the keys to Larry’s effectiveness with AR was the fact that he held sales roles earlier in his career. As a result, he had strong relationship building skills and he knew how to sell ideas.
Having had one year to reflect on the lessons I learned from Larry, I decided to put together a Top 10 list of the Best Practices in AR he advocated. My list is below, but I would encourage those of you who knew Larry personally to add your own comments as well.
#1 – Separate the research function from the relationship function
There are two primary functions related to analysts within technology vendors. One function is primarily inbound and research-oriented, focused on reviewing secondary market research for the purposes of competitive analysis, market sizing and SWOT analysis. The other is primarily outbound and relationship-oriented, focused on briefing analysts on new product releases; corporate strategy and customer case studies. Larry believed that although the two functions were closely related and interdependent, there was also a logical segmentation between the two. The process of analyzing the research and supporting inquiries from within the organization can be quite time-consuming, handicapping the ability to perform important outreach activities. Consequently, Larry always recommended a clear division between the responsibilities so as to avoid any competing priorities.
#2 – Centralized management of corporate communications programs
Larry believed in centralized management of AR out of global headquarters. Even regional activities local to Europe, Asia and Latin America, he thought should be coordinated centrally. In fact, Larry advocated that not only PR and AR, but also Investor Relations (IR) should be owned by one group. However, for public companies, Larry recognized that IR functions require a direct reporting relationship to the CFO to be credible. The benefit of centralization was to ensure consistency and mitigate the risk of mistakes. Larry also believed that maintaining relationships with analysts was a key function that should not delegated to an outside firm. Consequently, he frowned upon the use of specialized, external agencies.
#3 – You can never have too many people at an analyst briefing
Larry viewed the role of the AR manager as a facilitator. His job was not to be the expert on every aspect of the company’s products, customers, financials and strategy. Instead, he viewed his role as providing analysts with access to the most knowledgeable subject matter experts for various disciplines. He was not afraid to ask for time commitments from executives to ensure that each and every question an analyst had during a formal briefing could be adequately addressed. Consequently, it was not uncommon for Larry to gather ten or more people in the room for an important briefing with a single Gartner, Forrester or AMR analyst.
#4- Invest strategically in Tier 2 research firms
Many marketing executives are tempted to concentrate all analyst focus on the top 4 firms (Gartner, Forrester, IDC and AMR). However, Larry always sought to diversify his spend. He would reserve a healthy percentage of his budget to fund other analysts he viewed as strategic, even if they did not have the brand name, reputation or reach of the Tier 1s. For example, Larry was a strong advocate of firms such as Yankee Group and Current Analysis. One of the key benefits Larry advocated in working with Tier 2-3 firms was the flexibility they could offer for custom market research, joint public relations and contracted marketing services.
#5 – Demand high-performance from the analyst account teams
Larry took his role very seriously and expected those supporting him to have an equivalent level of commitment. If he believed he was not receiving adequate service Larry would not hesitate to escalate his concerns until the issues were resolved or a new point of contact was assigned. Many vendors are reluctant to complain about poor service from the client managers at the analyst firms for fear of negatively impacting vendor reviews. However, Larry understood the analyst firms well enough to know that their primary concern was client satisfaction.
#6 – Understand what is important to the analyst both professionally and personally
Larry would make a point to understand how analysts were measured and what flexibility they had to work with vendors. He would then focus on ways he could help the analyst meet their targets for research publications or end-user client inquiries. Not only did Larry understand the professional motivations of the analysts he worked with, but he understood their personal ambitions as well. For example, he could tell you whether the analyst was planning to have any kids; whether they were planning to have surgery; or whether they were planning to buy a second home on the beach. Sometimes he would call analysts with no particular reason other than just to say hello.
#7 – Shape the marketing programs budget to benefit AR
Most executives recognize the importance of maintaining good-relationships with a group of key influencers in the purchasing process is known. However, they are also cautious about committing too much budget to AR functions. Larry was always creative in finding ways to supplement the core spend levels he maintained for research and advisory services. One of the strategies I always admired was how he was able to leverage other marketing programs budget to effectively increase the total spend he committed to key firms. For example, Larry would use analysts to judge customer awards programs; facilitate customer advisory councils; and present at executive planning sessions.
#8 – Advocate for the analysts internally within your organization
Larry recognized that the AR professional’s job was not only to advocate for his company with the analysts, but also to advocate for the analysts within his company. Larry would hunt down customer references to ensure that his analysts had adequate end-user engagement. He would proactively engage product managers to obtain pre-briefings for analysts on new product launches. If an analyst was visiting headquarters for an on-site briefing, he would schedule a 1-hour briefing that anyone on the management team could attend. All of these activities helped to increase the visibility of analysts within the company and supported efforts to justify continued investments in the AR programs.
#9 – Get executive face time
Larry believed strongly in providing one-on-one interactions between analysts and the CEO, CFO, CTO and other key executives. This practice was a win-win scenario for the AR group. The analyst valued the privileged access they were being provided to top level management. And the executives enjoyed hearing both positive and negative feedback from the analyst firm. The C-level sponsorship often resulted in much greater level of attention being applied to the issues, risks and challenges identified by the analyst. As a result, Larry could then follow up with the analyst to demonstrate how their feedback was taken seriously.
#10 – Treat vendor evaluations like a multi-million dollar RFP response
Larry placed an incredible amount of energy and focus towards vendor evaluations such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the Forrester Wave. He understood clearly the link between strong performance in analyst rankings and the competitiveness of the sales team in major accounts. Poor placement on the Magic Quadrant or Wave could result in being excluded from RFPs from major clients. Conversely, strong placement in the Leaders category along with advocacy from the leading analyst covering a technology segment, could be a key factor in winning large deals with multi-national customers.
There’s a new resource for IIAR members only: http://iiar.plaxogroups.com. Ludovic Leforestier and Hannah Kirkman are running the new group, which brings together analyst relations professionals on one of the most widely used online networking site.
The Plaxo group has three main advantages. First, it’s an easy way to stay in touch with this blog: postings here also appear on your Plaxo Pulse. Second, the group allows moderated discussion: unlike some LinkedIn groups, you’ll know that items posted to members of the IIAR group will always be relevant and on-point. Third, because Plaxo has the most up-to-date contact details for most professonals, it’s the best way to stay in touch with people in a fast-changing market.
IIAR members are encouraged to come over and join us; non-members should sign up not to share the fun.
The next IIAR London Forum will be on Thursday 26th March, hosted by Weber Shandwick, and we are delighted to welcome John Leigh, new Research and Analysis Director for Datamonitor, as our guest speaker.
John will also be accompanied by David Mitchell, SVP of IT Research for Ovum.
The forum kicks off at 3:45 p.m. and runs until 6:30 p.m., followed by an informal dinner.
Forums are open to IIAR members — members who would like to attend, please RSVP, stating whether you will be coming to the dinner. For further information on the IIAR and to join, visit our website at www.analystrelations.org. We also have a limited number of guest places available for those who have not previously attended a meeting — if you are interested in attending as a guest, please email us.
The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations closes the Analyst of the Year survey at 10:00 p.m. BST on Wednesday April 30. To vote, go to http://snipurl.com/23gv1. In exchange for sharing your opinion, you’ll get a summary of the results next month.
The IIAR is a not-for-profit organization established to raise industry awareness of the value of analyst relations, promote and share best practice in AR, and give opportunities for AR professionals to meet and network with their industry peers. Members can participate in regular events and teleconferences, gain access to a growing online library of AR tools and resources, and contribute and share experiences with other AR professionals through working parties.
To find out more, visit the IIAR website at www.analystrelations.org.
Of course the readership of the blog also reflects the IIAR’s growing audience. 150 people have joined us on Yahoo, 33 on LinkedIn, and even 32 hipsters on Facebook. There are also 18 on the German-language list. To find our more, visit us at analystrelations.org.
We have heard today (from three sources) that IDG, the parent of IDC, intends to buy Silver Lake Partners’ share in Gartner and the holdings of CEO Eugene Hall. As part of the deal Neil Bradford, former head of Forrester Americas, and Anthony Parslow, until recently head of Datamonitor, will replace Gene Hall as co-CEOs. Bradford will direct the US business; Parslow (who serves on IDG’s board) will head Gartner’s troubled operations outside the Americas. This is obviously news that will shape the industry – you have seen it first here!
Generally speaking, this isn’t a surprise.
– Silver Lake was, for a long time, the largest shareholder in Gartner. As the firm’s stock price rose it aimed to cash in its gains. Despite a large share buy-back by Gartner, the value of the shares has now fallen. Silver Lake is looking for opportunities to exit. IDG will pay a 7% premium over the current Gartner stock price.
– IDG has a strategic orientation towards expanding its share of the analyst industry. It narrowly lost out to Gartner in bidding for META Group. It sees the possibility for a roll-up spanning different price points across the value chain. IDC’s end-user Insights businesses could gain from the custom-consulting and mid-market work that Gartner cannot do economically. The businesses could also benefit from common base data, as the Datamonitor companies do.
– Gene Hall has revolutionised Gartner, and taken it to a new level. It’s a good time for him to cash in and move on.
However, we are skeptical of claims that IDG will merge IDC and Gartner. There are two strong brands with different positions. The main opportunity in the closer co-operation is for IDG’s non-IDC services to reuse and promote Gartner research, and to use IDG’s events business to rebuild Gartner’s now-sold vision events business.
To see a copy of IDG’s statement, please click here: