Archive | Guest posts – AR pros

Guest posts by analyst relations professionals

[Guest Post] Does the consulting approach beat published research?

Simon Levin / Skills Connections (IIAR, 2013)By: Simon Levin, The Skills Connection / IIAR UK Co-Chapter Lead

We saw an interesting blogging spat last week between Stanton Jones of ISG and Lydia Leong at Gartner, with the flames fanned by tweeted comments from Phil Fersht of HfS. The row was centred on some research published recently by Lydia on managed hosting providers, but its ramifications are much wider.

For those who haven’t yet followed the Twitter feeds and blog links, let me try to summarise what’s going on.

Stanton’s charge is that Magic Quadrants serve a purpose by offering insight into vendors and products, but that the high-level nature of the analysis means they are poor primary tools for making choices. He emphasises the lack of nuance possible in a written article, compared with the detailed, customised insight that can be provided via a consulting engagement. And, of course, he is right. Continue Reading →

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[Guest Post] The Secret Sauce and the Secret Sorcerers by Simon Levin

I was sitting in the middle of a noisy intellectual ruckus about the future of research and advisory services some weeks back when an odd thought struck me.

It was at the London IIAR meeting in March, where R “Ray” Wang and his Constellation all-stars were agitating for radical change in the research industry. Ray was talking about new models, new delivery methods, and new value propositions, while some very respected AR practitioners were questioning the value of his approach. Did the world need this kind of shake-up? And, if so, was it really going to change the nature of AR’s dealings with analysts?

I was supposed to be keeping the peace and chairing the meeting. But I kept being distracted by thoughts about whether all this might be relevant to me.

I suspect our clients at The Skills Connection have a narrow view of AR, centered almost entirely on the analysts’ impact on buying decisions.

And this thought made me ponder how much that’s true for AR in general. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] The Wi-Fi isn’t working!

I’m here at an analyst conference, trying to combine a seamless online and offline experience. The presentations are compelling, the panel discussions are lively, and I should be using social media to augment and amplify the information I’m soaking up from my seat in the second-to-back row.

Except that I can’t. Because, as usual, the Wi-Fi isn’t working.

Sure, there’s a Wi-Fi network, and it worked OK for 30 minutes yesterday, but today, the connectivity is pretty much nada. I’m at a central London hotel where the IT infrastructure is clearly not up to the job, especially when 300-plus delegates all try and connect their notebook, tablet and mobile phone to the network. First, the network slows, then it just stops responding. I’m not alone. Over coffee with the chief analyst, he shrugs and says “yeah. I’ve got the same problem!”

This is very frustrating but also unfortunately commonplace. Even the GSMA couldn’t make the free Wi-Fi work at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There were Wi-Fi nodes available, but nobody I met was unable to draw data across them. And no, it’s not always so easy to switch over to good old 3G, especially when you’re incurring data roaming charges. Continue Reading →

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[Guest Post] IIAR UK Forum – Sales and Social Media Debated

Contributor: David Rossiter, Head of Sunesis Analyst Relations and Director, Harvard PR

I was delighted to host the IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) forum yesterday in a very sunny and hot London.

It is always great to see how many AR professionals are willing to come along and meet old friends, make new contacts, learn about best practice and share their own experiences.

Fionnula Fitzsimons gave an absolutely excellent presentation on AR and sales. It was interesting, insightful and practical. Anyone in AR who needs to get their sales teams on board and demonstrate the value that AR can add to the sales cycle should make sure they get a copy of her presentation (downloadable by IIAR members from Huddle).

And then, we had an excellent panel debate on how analysts use social media with Richard Edwards (Ovum), Dale Vile (Freeform Dynamics) and Dean Bubley (Disruptive Analysis). Robert De Souza of IPsoft chaired a lively discussion. Continue Reading →

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[Guest Post] The Use and Abuse of Analysts (poor things)

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 →

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[GUEST POST] It’s the quality of the quantity that counts…..

Today’s post is from Mark Duke (blog, @marcduke, LinkedIn), who is an independent AR consultant. See also this post on AR measurements by @elliewarner.

I picked up on Forrester AR discussion about examples of the quantified business value generated by AR. (see here) for full details. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Help – I have just hit the glass ceiling

Posted originally on Marcduke’s Blog, thanks to Mark for his permission to repost.

I have been having a number of great conversations with members of the AR fraternity about all things AR. Smart people whose work I respect and opinions I value too.

One of the comments that really got me thinking (and now finally blogging) was as follows (paraphrased as this was a conversation I had a while back):

‘The problem I have is that I feel I have hit a glass ceiling with AR, there is only so far I can go with it. Plus in the organisation I work in, its part of the PR framework and I feel there is a limit to what I can do’

Is that really the case??? At an analyst event I put this view to an analyst and got a very interesting response:

‘Yes I deal with some really smart AR people, they really understand how we work and how to make things happen for us, and we likewise help them as well, but some take too short-sighted a view about working with analysts and need to look further than the briefing/messaging process’

In effect it comes down to what you make of AR, I have written in the past about marketing oriented AR and feel that this is the key to breaking the glass ceiling. I for one will always look at ways to push the boundaries!

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[Guest post] V3: It’s All About the Analysts

There is a kind of Google out there in the realm of IT industry analyst firms, a purveyor that turns the successful models of the “Big Three,” Gartner, Forrester and IDC, on their proverbial ears.  This little firm does not market itself very much; it rather eschews the “branded analyst firm” approach where analysts largely become subsumed in the one-to-many brand-first approach, hoping for margins that impress boards and investors.  Rather it aims for some simple values:  It purely focuses on serving its affiliated analysts and helping its affiliated analysts service their clients.  Maybe you have heard of “V3.”

I challenge you to find V3 on the Web:  The URL is actually not www.v3.com but www.valleyviewventures.com – like International Data Corporation goes quite strictly by “IDC” these days, but the URL just hasn’t been changed yet.  You will not be awed by the V3 web site, but that doesn’t matter one iota to Fred Abbott, V3′s founder, who says with utter sincerity, “It’s all about the analysts.” Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Doing a Joint Announcement with Your Competitors

Today’s guest post is from John Simmonds (@johnsimonds) from IBM AR, read more on his blog here.

Recently, I’ve done joint announcements with Oracle, SAP, HP, Tibco, Software AG and HP. As you can imagine, I’ve had varying relationships with each and I’m happy to report that the state of the A/R industry is good and that we can work together.

When I was in PR, it was cat fight supreme with territorialism and turf wars. Most of the announcements I did with these companies didn’t have that element. For the most part, the announcements were about standards, not products. So that went a long way towards working together. Still, if you include IBM, the companies I’ve named here aren’t known for being best buddies.

As and aside, I can say that the executives (who can be the source of most problems) all worked towards the cause of the best briefing possible.

Some things are given, like in a certain area (we just did SOA) the analysts know the exec’s by company and the exec’s know each other so I’m happy to report they acted like grown ups.

TURF WARS

With the typical name calling (from the CEO’s)and belief in your own products, the first issue to overcome is that the announcement is usually about a jointly create product or standard, not us vs. them.  That rule has to be set down first and if you don’t overcome that, you have no chance at building trust, the basis for working together.

DIVIDE THE DUTIES

One company can’t dominate the duties or it is not a joint announcement.   This also forces the companies to work together to approve what the others have created as their part of the announcement.   There are analyst lists, invitations, charts, follow up issues and any number of duties that need to be attended to and dived up.  Once that is done, you must rely on each other and the level of trust inherently rises.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

It’s important that the analyst see this as equal amongst the companies.  One company presenting more than another is a dead give away.  You can’t help Q and A as the analysts will direct the question directly to a company.

LESSONS LEARNED

You either put your differences aside and work together, or you’ll never get anything done.  It’s tough to do when your day job is to hammer the company that you are working with on the announcement.  These are the days of co-opetition though.  You learn to get along or you’ll never make it to announcement day.

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[GUEST POST] Analyst Relations Basics – part three

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.

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

By Barbara French / Tekrati (LinkedIn, @bfr3nch)

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: [email protected]

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