Caroline Dennington (@Cdennington, LinkedIn) is the Managing Director of Dennington AR and the winner of the IIAR> AR Agency Of The Year 2019. Like Ricarda, she doesn’t have any horror story and also has a liking for the French art de vivre…
- What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?
After an early career for several years in banking, I took a voluntary redundancy and joined a media production company owned by a TV presenter and ex EMI producer which allowed me to enjoy a slightly bonkers 18 months working with celebrities and pop stars, traveling and filming in places such as Arizona, Venice and Bali. Sense eventually prevailed that I had to get a ‘real job’ so I joined a small PR agency, initially to work with the media but quickly realised the importance of the industry analysts, so I helped build and implement an Analyst Relations service for the various IT clients. I eventually went in-house and continued to develop my AR skills from there.
- What are your opinions of the IT Analyst Marketplace and where do you see it going?
The IT Analyst Marketplace has continuously changed over the last 20 years and in many ways, for the better. The calibre of analysts is much stronger these days with many having real world experience. Organisations are also starting to see the value and influence analysts can have on the buyer and the role of the AR Professional, has become increasingly important.
- What’s your typical day like?
My morning always starts with an hour’s walk, come rain or shine, with my faithful furry friend, Tilly. I use this time to plan my day and map out the tasks ahead. Of course, in Analyst Relations there is no such thing as a typical day and when the phone is not ringing, I am usually on an inquiry, hosting a briefing or filling out an RFI. The rest of my time is spent answering emails, chasing down information for analysts or reading some of the latest research. Networking is a huge part of the role and I like to maintain the relationships I have built over the last 20 years as well as engage in new conversations, be that via the phone or social media.
- Now, c’mon, tell me an Analyst horror story?
I know this will sound like a cop-out but I have been very fortunate in my career with the analysts not to have any real horror stories. Yes, there will always be interesting characters along the way and people can have bad days, but I very much believe that if you are kind to people, hopefully, they will be kind back to you.
- How does your company structure its AR team?
Being a boutique agency, I am very fortunate to have a wonderful set of associates who support me when I need a little extra help. They know who they are and I am grateful to them (especially Lyn) every day!
- Tell us about one good experience you have had with an analyst or analyst firm?
I could actually name numerous experiences but a very personal one that comes to mind was when I suffered a bereavement whilst running a major analyst summit. I took a call telling me that my grandmother had sadly passed away about an hour before the event kicked off. A wonderful analyst was with me at the time and could not have been kinder. OK, offering me a gin at 9am was maybe not the best idea (I did not drink it) but he was so kind and I will never forget that.
- Which analyst firm do you miss that’s been acquired or analyst that’s left the industry?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one as there are so many people I miss – some who are still with us and sadly, some who are not. Thankfully, there are a few great analysts who are now independent so still very much in the industry such as Vernon Turner and Puni Rajah (both ex IDC) and then others like Gene Ruth (Gartner) who are now enjoying retirement.
- What’s your favorite niche analyst firm and why?
Another hard question as there are a few who I work with and really admire. To be honest, many firms have their strengths and weaknesses but for me, those that truly want to partner and forge a mutually beneficial relationship, are the ones that get my attention.
- Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
Spending time with my family and playing tennis is high on my list along with anything to do with France – food, wine, etc…. I am the secretary for my local PCC so actively involved in fund raising activities as well as flower arranging. As for sharing food, if it is chocolate, not a chance!
- What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
Ensuring I meet my client’s objectives and addressing analysts research needs are my top priority. Being able to juggle numerous activities is a daily challenge but with a good structure in place, colour coded spreadsheets and lists (lots of them), anything is possible. As for the next 30 minutes, sleep……….
PS: don’t miss tomorrow’s webinar to find out the details of the survey (members only).
IIAR> Best Practice Papers by Caroline
- Who are industry analysts and what do they do?
- Analyst Relations and Industry Analysts – The 7+7+7 Golden Rules of Engagement
Guest IIAR> posts by Caroline
- [GUEST POST] Analyst Relations Best Practices: Seven Tips to Make Your Company a Star at Industry Analyst Events
- [GUEST POST] “This position has now been filled” – IIAR and Job Postings
- IIAR Best Practice Paper: Who are industry analysts and what do they do?
- Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 – Leading in a Digital World
- [GUEST POST] A tale of two sales teams – an analysis of Gartner’s & Forrester’s 2012 financials
- The 451 Group and Tech:Touchstone: A good match of cultures and vision
IIAR> community involvement from Caroline
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