Author Archive | Ludovic Leforestier

[JOB OPENING] SENIOR PR/MARKETING MANAGER, UKBROADBAND LTD

2) THE ROLE

GENERAL

The Senior PR/Marketing Manager will be a technosavvy evangelist who drives the company’s service vision and ensures that the messages to the marketplace and press are compelling and consistent. They will be a key member of inter-disciplinary leadership teams to develop strategic, succinct and effective service and marketing initiatives. This is a classic marketing management role in a small high growth technology firm. Responsibilities include marketing communications, public relations, external/industry communications, product marketing, competitive analysis, tactical marketing programmes, events, lead generation and market research.

REPORTS TO: Director of Sales & Marketing

LOCATION: UK

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[JOB OPENING] EMEA PR and AR Manager – NetApp

Job posted on netapp.com: Netapp: PR and AR Manager – EMEA

Job Summary Job Summary:
The AR/PR manager is a key function under Corporate Marketing and the role will ensure that processes and initiatives from Corporate are understood, adopted and tracked across EMEA with the field marketing teams. The role will work closely with country and GEO teams to determine the field needs and work with Corporate Marketing to deliver upon those needs.
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Should the analysts be blogging?

Phil Fersht (ex. AMR) started an interesting conversation on his Outsourcing Blog: Horses for Sources with a post titled  The great analyst firewall: will banning analysts from blogging damage the traditional research business, or help create an entirely new one?

I really like those quotes in particular, the first one depicts the onset of the analyst scene in the noughties (IMHO Phil, it happened a bit before though):The Skills of Star Performers Aren’t Portable

The “rock star” analyst had arrived. People paid good money to spend time with these people, to hear their views, use them as a sounding-board, or just to be associated with them. And their growing corporate stables certainly didn’t refuse the increasing moneys that came rolling in off the back of their growing relationships and influence. The rock stars created buzz and drove the industry, challenging both vendors and customers to innovate and transform business models.

However, like anything else, corporates like to monetize their brands to the max, scale their businesses and drive down their costs. It’s business economics one-on-one, and the big analyst firms are no different.

And its consequence:

We want Bill, not Ben

Having their clients say “I want Bill, not Ben” was (and still is) infuriating to the analyst firms. They want their clients to pay the same for the 28-year old fresh from her MBA, than they did for the rock stars of yesteryear. And they’re currently succeeding, as there aren’t too many alternatives right now.

Now, as a self-confessed “ex-Rockstar” puts it, it doesn’t go without implications for the business model, and maybe this is why Forrester, but also Gartner restricts analysts to blogging on their coverage areas to their corporate site, while Ovum doesn’t even feature their analyst bios on their extranets:

A (now departed for vendor land) fellow ex-analyst at IDC used to say that most of the firms could never figure out how to deal with an analyst transitioning from labor to talent since you pay each of those people in very different ways. Talent drives revenues, but paying people as talent is bad for profit plans.

To me this is quite obvious: the result of analysts work (read when paid by their employers) is intellectual property. And since that IP is not only created during business hours (whatever that means nowadays), it rightly belong to the analyst firms -just like inventions and patents they might come up with. This is purely hypothetical because never has one ever heard of a patent filed by an IT analyst. (DISCLAIMER: yes, provocative statement, but who knows we might learn something cool from the comments of this posts?)

So, just get over it, who gives a damn anyway? BTW, check Josh’s comment in the thread and you’ll see the Forrester blogs debate has no raison d’être. Merv also blogger here about the different policies here, good wrap up with lots of quotes.

More intriguing are firms without a presence at all in the online conversation -I’d say they’re missing out, both on branding, influence, research validation, etc… There’s little evidence to back this up (cf. Gerry‘s comment).

So, where does it lead us? One sub-header gives up a clue to the real issue, and that’s way beyond blogging:

Aren’t analysts supposed to create buzz?

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Gartner is growing, its end-user influence as well

Interesting comment from Carter in his post about Gartner’s earnings Gartner Q4 and full year 2009 earnings – implications for analyst relations and research clients » SageCircle Blog:

AR teams should use Gartner’s growth in enterprise clients as an education tool with stakeholders and executive sponsors. Rather than experiencing shrinking influence in this recession, Gartner has increased its influence because of the business value it offers to enterprise clients and its ability to leverage the largest sales force in the analyst industry.

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[JOB POSTING] Industry Analyst Relations Manager, £50-65k base + bens London or Hampshire

Connections - Recruiting Success!
Industry Analyst Relations Manager, £50-65k base + bens London or Hampshire

Do you drive market trends? Can you utilise Research & Industry data firms to segment business opportunities? Using your pro-active, creative, entrepreneurial spirit you will be developing compelling customised marketing plans to increase our International footprint. We are a recognised Software brand name, Microsoft & Cisco partner experiencing rapid growth.

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Around Allan Behrens in 10 questions

Allan Behrens, TaxalToday, from postcardesque Peaks District, comes the interview from Allan Behrens, ex. Cambashi and now having started his own company called Taxal (blog, twitter). I bet you’ll never figure out where the name comes from but no, he doesn’t advises bankers and MP’s on avoiding the taxman.

1. What are your coverage areas?
We’re focused on the use and enablement of IT in industry and helping IT providers make it a reality. Our focus is on technologies, a sub-set of key business sectors, sales channels, business development and management and execution consulting

2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
Many competent people, some with too little motivation to listen! With the recent spate of acquisitions it appears that the industry is moving closer to a two tiered environment – the very large and very small.

3. What’s your typical day like?
Emails, calls, research, publishing, projects and visits, often interspersed with operational issues and demands for attention from my better half.

4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
Not one regarding actual analysis per se. The most memorable nightmare I had on an analyst visit was when I missed a return flight from Dublin to Manchester; in this case an absolutely critical one scheduled to have me home in time to catch a holiday connection with my long-suffering wife. IBM’s AR team were stars in sorting out the chaos – wife was delighted (nay relieved)! Whew.

5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model?
Our revenues are principally vendor led with significant end-user touch and elements coming from governmental and investor communities. We publish insight and non-confidential research in the press and on our web site.

6. What is your research methodology?
This really depends on the project We are purely project led at this time. We tailor our methods and resource utilisation based on what’s needed to deliver the optimum output.

7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve atttended.
Making sure the analysts actually get the collaterals they’re promised after an event – drives me nuts and costs time. Also being responsive is good practice……

8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
Predominantly presentations, workshops, reports and publications

9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
Hmm tricky. Best food by far is my local pub but I wouldn’t want to name it in case it gets inundated and prices go up! Not too much of an issue as it’s in the Cheshire countryside and far from the madding crowd – friends can always contact me directly for the name.

10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
Next six month, continuing to grow the business (from a standing start late last year) and exceeding my customers expectations! Corny but true. Next 30 minutes, heads down to meet my deadlines (see second response of the first part of this question).

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JOB OPENING European PR & Analyst Relations Manager

This is a fantastic opportunity for a confident, motivated and enthusiastic team player with strong verbal and written communications skills.

Candidates should have a passion for technology and a passion for marketing and brand; delivering results, and conquering big challenges. The ability to think creatively and strategically with the ability to thrive in a dynamic environment is a must.

In this role, you will identify and engage directly with industry analysts and other specialists to educate and influence them, as well as to shape messaging for current products and the value proposition of the next generation of products and services.

In addition you will manage on a day to day basis the European PR agency to ensure that each region benefits from the corporate brand messaging as well as from local PR opportunities appropriate to each region. To be successful, you will have extensive knowledge of analyst & PR disciplines and processes and experience working with all levels of executives, customers and analysts. You will have significant experience in analyst relations, PR, or Brand in an IT environment with a successful track record. Strong technical knowledge and/or background in a technology environment is important as is experience of working in a pan-European role. Languages are essential and ideally you will speak a combination of Spanish, French, and English.

Please send your details to resourcing@reesmarx.com

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[GUEST POST] Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value, by Carol Rozwell / Gartner

Carol Rozwell from Gartner (blog, @CRozwell, bio) kindly allowed us to reproduce here her post on Vendors: suggestions to maximize briefing value. It neatly complement her peer Linda Rowan from IDC’s Briefing tips and best practices.

 

Last week, I was treated to a number of interesting vendor briefings, the most engaging of which was conducted in Second Life. But despite having the opportunity to view some innovative product offerings, I also had to contend with some frustrating vendor practices. In the spirit of helping vendors maximize the short time they have for a briefing with an analyst, I offer my list of five worst practices I wish vendors would curtail:
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Around Claus Egge in 10 questions

Today I have the privilege to introduce Claus Egge whom I’ve known for quite some time now as he was the lead storage analyst in EMEA for IDC. They’ve let some talents go recently and he’s now working as an independent analyst: check his site here.

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Storage, content, hardware, software, cloud, backup, protection, DR, BC. The industry has been to make these disciplines as invisible as possible. IT professionals want to take all this for granted, but with an increased focus on how to make use of the information. It is not so much that there is an awful lot of information, it is about finding out the way to deliver the information and add value. There is plenty of scope to help customers and industry being successful.
  2. What are your opinions of the IT Analysis Marketplace and where do you see it going?
    Insight: there is more free information available, so it presents a dilemma: it actually makes it harder to search and digest for industry and customers. But good intelligence is always worth having. Spotting customer behaviour before it changes is cool. Opinion: quantity does not equal quality. Marketing support: The industry needs to be smarter about it’s spending as it attempts to grab the attention of customers and prospects.
  3. What’s your typical day like?
    Depends: meeting contacts is different from managing data models, so every task has got its place. It is about discipline, looking after customers of course, but also freeing up time to experiment with ideas.
  4. Now, c’mon, tell me an AR horror story?
    The best relationships are based on mutual respect and understanding each other’s goals and reality. So back to the question about things to avoid: pretending solutions are already perfect, pretending customers are blissfully happy, pretending competition is beneath contempt. Lots of time has been wasted that way. The best repeatable encounters are the ones you always look forward to and all parties get value from them.
  5. How do you position your firm? What is your business model? (where are your revenues coming from, mix between users and vendors?)
    Currently enjoying the freedom of running my own business. Mostly vendor business but exploring IT professionals too.
  6. What is your research methodology, in 255 characters or less?  (primary research, F2F or phone, secondary only, etc…)
    Finding the information a customer is looking for in order to help make smarter decisions.
  7. Tell us about one good AR practice you’ve experienced or one good AR event you’ve attended.
    Good AR practice balances the need to get in touch and the flow of information by importance. Once events are planned the good ones are a mixture of plenaries about new strategy, one-on-ones with the right execs and not least a chance to socialise. Some companies consistently put on solid gatherings and everybody benefits. Others dither and change their approach frequently. It is not so much that the paranoid may survive as much as not letting paranoia rule.
  8. What are your offerings and key deliverables?
    Varied: from strategic advice over bespoke data cuts, customer surveys, white papers, speaking at events and workshops.
  9. Any hobbies or favourite restaurant / food that you’d like to share?
    I’ll volunteer a pub in West London. Great choice of beers as you would expect from me, but also a good restaurant. Its name is The White Horse, it is on Parson’s Green in SW6. Worth travelling across London for and also worth finding if you live abroad on a trip to London.
  10. What is your biggest challenges for the upcoming 6 months? And for the next 30 mn?
    My challenge is clearly increasing my business. But also about articulating successfully how industry and customers need to work smarter and better together. I am still excited that there are a lot great solutions available to IT customers; let us help more customers exploiting them.
  11. Is there another analyst (a peer in your firm or with another firm) whose work  you rate highly?
    I would like to make a plug for Martin Hingley at ITCandor. Great insight, great integrity and his energy is a source of inspiration. We worked together for many years
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What are the right staffing levels for AR?

There’s been an interesting conversation recently on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to, and as the participants kindly gave me their permission to do so I thought I’d post it here for everyone’s benefit.

Gregg LampfIt started with a question from Gregg Lampf (AR + Marketing Director at SafeNet):

Are there any rules of thumb or recommended staffing levels for dedicated AR people in companies?

Marc Duke (independent, blog)  answered “1 in EMEA but it depends on size/scope or role and or if it involves mkt intelligence“.

Robert Eastman, MBA, CIARP Robert Eastman chipped in:

One of the better resources that I have seen on this is the book by William Hopkins (of the Knowledge Capital Group), Influencing the Influencers. You should really read this book to get the full color and context of their model. In short, however, the rule of thumb that this book proposes is one AR person for every 2-3 major business initiatives. It would not surprise me if the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, Sagecircle, Lighthouse Analyst Relations also had some advice or insight here. I would enjoy hearing what you find out. Could you share?

Efrem MallachAR guru Efrem Mallach added some good insight:

Firms tend to get a full-time AR professional when they reach annual revenue of about US$100 million. This is an average. Individual situations vary widely on both sides of this figure depending on the specific company situation. From there up the number grows, again very approximately, as the square root of revenue. A company would have about two FT people in AR at an annual revenue of $400 million or thereabouts, three at $1 billion and so on. This is a straight line on a semi-log graph.
These figures come from looking at a lot of companies in many areas of high-tech, plotting the two figures (annual revenue and analyst relations FT equivalent headcount) on a graph, and fitting a curve to where they cluster. T
hese are broad averages. You have to look at the breadth of a firm’s product line, how it breaks down vis-à-vis typical analyst practices, its geographic scope, who it sells to, its typical price points (they affect how much analysts influence its sales), etc., etc…, to come up with an appropriate number for a given firm. There is usually good business justification for spending more on AR than most firms do.

Ludovic Leforestier I agreed with Efrem:

It’s a decreasing curve that tends to flatten out at 1/$b revenue.
This said, the product mix is important: you need more AR managers for companies having a diverse s/w portfolio with a wide footprint, less for h/w typically.

So the best way to go is actually starting from the goals and the audience:

  • if the goal is to support sales directly, then 1 AR manager cannot follow more than 15 Tier I analysts (and that’s a big task).
  • if the job is more marketing oriented (producing white papers, doing more 1:many events) then this ratio can increase.

Tim O'SullivanTim O’Sullivan (EMEA AR for Deloitte) added:

I agree with Robert – all depends on what is important to the company. I would be loathe to make a recommendation based on revenue in anything except an affordability discussion (can we afford 1 more AR). The thing with revenue if you hire a new AR pro (even if you are a $1BN Revenue company) and they close 10 analyst related deals in a year worth $50M then you can afford it. Ludovic is correct about the product mix but services appears missing from the list – a diverse services based organisation would need a substantial team imo. Map the AR team objectives back to the strategic goals of the company – that shoudl give you a fair idea of what is important and allow you to structure a set of programs to support the corporate goals. Once you have these programs (either topic, geographic or some other structure) then you will have a fair idea through an AR Audit how many analysts you have to cater for and what your tactics are and therefore what the team size should be. Given the imoportance of AR and the different approaches in different companies I would be careful following rules of thumb and reccommend due dilignece and planning as the most prudent way to proceed.

Bob SakakeenyBob Sakakeeny (product manager at CA) gave another point of view:

If the average analyst impacts $2.3 million in revenue per year, with customer facing analysts more and vendor facing analysts less, then analyst relations’ staffing decisions can be disconnected from the company’s current revenues. An opportunity cost analysis helps management understand what they miss out on by not staffing AR rather than trying to figure out how to afford AR. Although AR has a statistically greater influence on customer decision making than PR does, companies still pour money into PR visability rather than AR effectiveness.

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