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 →
NB: This is a cross-post from the Buzz Method blog, where it was originally posted in January 2011. Please note that the views expressed within the article do not necessarily reflect those of the IIAR – they are the opinion of Dominic Pannell, founder of Buzz Method Ltd (@buzzmethod). You can find the interview of Quocirca’s founder here: Around Clive Longbottom from Quocirca in 10 questions.
I just stumbled across an extremely useful document that those prolific chaps at Quocirca published back in 2007 (I seem to recall posting a link at the time). It’s packed with great information and spells out how not to treat members of the analyst community – the report “Use and abuse of analysts” might need updating a little and I would like to see it expanded to include other ‘influencers’ (perhaps I will when I have time), but it should certainly be compulsory reading for anyone entering the world of AR.
All of the guidelines set out in the document are broken either by accident or deliberately every day of the week by ICT companies of all sizes and the communications agencies/consultants they employ. Trust me, it’s a fact. Continue Reading →
Senior Account Executive – Analyst Relations, Silicon Valley office (San Mateo)
Job Duties Summary:
The successful candidate will work primarily with the A&R Edelman InSight Analyst Relations Team to support key named AR clients (including Adobe and HP), in the day-to-day execution of analyst relations programs. Daily responsibilities include developing analyst plans and strategies in support of product launches and events, managing the industry analyst database, fielding incoming inquiries, planning and scheduling industry analyst briefings and tours, reporting activities to client contact on a daily basis, etc. Continue Reading →
Group Manager, Industry Analyst Relations
Virtualization is the technology that is poised to change the way we think about computing. VMware (NYSE: VMW) is the global leader in virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter. Customers of all sizes rely on VMware to reduce capital and operating expenses, ensure business continuity, strengthen security and go green. With 2008 revenues of $1.9 billion, more than 130,000 customers and more than 22,000 partners, VMware is one of the fastest-growing public software companies. VMware’s award-winning technology, market-leading position and culture of excellence provide the more than 6,600 passionate people we employ in 40 locations worldwide with a platform for professional growth and the excitement of being an early-stage innovator.
Waggener Edstrom is looking for a Senior Account Executive to join their Microsoft Windows Client team performing Analyst Relations. This Senior Account Executive will provide AR counsel, day-to-day client management and integration for major products in the Microsoft Windows Client business. As Senior Account Executive, you will be on point for integration and maintaining influential relationships, in addition to collaborating with your peers across the larger Microsoft Windows Client account. Our interactive, supportive environment encourages innovation and offers an opportunity to have a high degree of visibility. Team dynamics support risk taking and new ideas as ways to increase AR results. The position may be located in either Seattle, WA or Portland, Oregon
For details go to: http://jobs.waggeneredstrom.com/jobs/283317-Senior-Account-Executive.aspx
NB This is a cross-post from the Buzz Method blog, where it was originally posted in February 2010 as the third in a series of articles on Analyst Relations basics. Please note that the views expressed within the article do not necessarily reflect those of the IIAR – they are the opinion of Dominic Pannell, founder of Buzz Method Ltd.
This is the third and final post in a series of thought pieces on the role of online channels in influence. The first two articles are here and here. [For more discussion on the role and nature of influence see my blog, Infuse.]
There’s little doubt that online channels are important. I don’t believe that they are the whole story in measuring influence, but they are essential in reaching influencers.
There are two primary uses of online channels in an influencer relations programme:
- Tracking what influencers do: online media don’t help identify influencers (I assert), but they are useful in post-identification analysis. What are influencers blogging on, are they Twittering, what webcasts and podcasts are they involved in, and so on. You can use online tools to track what influencers are doing and saying, even what they’re saying about you.
- Engaging with influencers. If influencers are blogging and Tweeting, then that’s where you need to be too. If they’re on Facebook and LinkedIn then connect to them there. Comment on their blogs, request guest blog posts, follow them on Twitter. Be where they are.
Of course, if influencers are not online, then there’s no point in you trying to find them and interact with them there. Some influencers eschew online channels for communication, because of the time it diverts from other activities. (Seth Godin claims that he’d lose 6 hours per day if he Tweeted.)
I know some markets (web development, for example) where 100% of the influencer community blogs and uses discussion forums. I also know of tech markets where nearly 0% of influencers use online channels: they live in a face-to-face world. Most tech markets, but not all, have a spread of online- and offline-oriented influencers (and many influencers, of course, are both).
Make sure you know where your influencers are.
Determining the impact of the growth in online channels such as social media is one of the things that taxes most of us. I’m forever seeing new ‘influencer tracker’ services pop up, and in the world of analyst relations there’s continual discussion on whether and how to engage in online options like blogs, podcasts and social networking.
In response to the explosion of online influencer tracker services – there are over 100 nowadays, and counting – Nick Hayes and I wrote a paper* on how we think they are misleading marketers. The paper led to an invitation to post on the IIAR blog, to hopefully spark some discussion – thanks for the invite, Ludovic.
This first post focuses on whether influence as a concept has changed with the use of online channels. The second will look at how influence can be measured using online metrics. And the third will discuss the implications of online channels for AR and Influencer Relations professionals.
There’s an important context to any debate on influence, online or otherwise. It is that ecosystems of influencers are highly fragmented these days. Most decision makers are influenced by the traditional journalists and analysts, but also by consultants, academics, regulators, financiers, sourcing advisors, procurement professionals and other specialists, as well as peer end users.
Much of the influence exerted by this group has been enabled, in large part, by online channels. This has been an ongoing process for a decade. The web and search engines make it easier for anyone to reach the market, and easier for buyers to find what they’re looking for. Blogs and podcasts increase the reach of anyone inclined to use them. Social media is just the next step in this evolution – there’s no social media revolution going on.
But social media has provided a new channel for those people with the potential to influence, making communication between those people frictionless. To reach a group of like-minded adopters of a technology you used to have to organise a meeting in a mutually inconvenient location. Nowadays, you organise an unconference or participate in an online forum. It used to take months to organise an event, now it can take hours.
But has the nature of influence changed? Are decision makers influenced in different ways through online channels? You’d think so, given the hype, but as Nate Elliott at Forrester observed, “the huge majority of users influence each other face to face rather than through social online channels.”
It makes sense to understand the attributes of influence – the ability to discuss and persuade, knowledge and experience, willingness to express an opinion, the authority and gravitas with which to communicate that opinion, the opportunity to convey that opinion to the right audience at the right time. And so on.
Some of these attributes are facilitated by online channels, for sure. Others are removed from online impact completely. There’s no doubt that some of the smaller analyst firms, for example, are benefitting from their online presence, in terms of reaching their potential audience through blogging and other social media technologies. But these channels are not creating expertise or authority – simply the means to communicate them.
Can social media create a new kind of influence, by collative the collective wisdom of a connected crowd? After all, there is safety in numbers in doing what the crowd does. We used to have a version of that in the IT industry – no-one ever got fired for buying IBM. Imagine the power of that kind of statement, communicated instantly over the blogosphere. Or would it be immediately challenged and rejected by real users’ experience?
So, are analysts influencing via online channels? How is influence really conveyed by analysts to decision makers? Has it moved mainly to online or is it still by telephone enquiries and face-to-face advice?
*Free registration required, or email me at duncan.brown(at)influencer50.com. Barbara French also contributed to the paper.
I received KCG’s newsletter recently and they’re organising free analyst relations webinars on the following topics, so I thought I’d share this:
- Top Ten Tough Time Tips
- Measuring your AR Program’s Effect
- Blogs and AR
- AR and Sales
- References – the life blood of AR
- Eight steps to world class AR
- Ranking and rating analyst events
- Analysts, Media and Metrics
Note: the IIAR does not partner or endorses those seminars, they are organised by KCG which is an independent commercial organisation.
Following a long week at Oracle Open World, I attended the West Coast IIAR meeting organised by Peggy O’Neil from H&K and hosted by Evan Quinn from HP, with several of my colleagues and a room full of AR peers.
Carter from SageCircle interviewed me (and Annemiek Hamelink from Wagged) after that exhausting week:
Oracle’s Ludovic Leforestier with a quick update on the Euro IT analyst landscape « SageCircle Blog
What do you think?
Are independent European firms doing well?
Are they influential and “largely untouched”?
The IIAR maintains a job postings page on its web site:
The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations
Posting is free for advertisers, just drop an email to our secretary: hkirkman at analystrelations dot org.
Sage Circle also has a jobs page, mostly for US positions.