Archive | AR Best practices

IIAR discussion group: AR best practice for analyst events

IIAR discussion group: AR best practice for analyst events by Ed Gyurko.

The IIAR will hold a discussion group teleconference on the subject of AR best practice at analyst-firm sponsored events like Forrester’s IT Forums,Gartner Symposia and IDC Directions on Thursday 6th May 2010 from 1500 BST to 1600 BST / 10:00am EST to 11:00 am EST. The discussion will cover all levels of participation from simply attending to main sponsorship.

We’ve got a great line up of panelists:

  • Gerry Van Zandt / HP, Worldwide Analyst Relations Manager (@gerryvz, LinkedIn)
  • Kent Cook/ Microsoft, Director Corporate Analyst Relations
  • Bill Reed / St. Cross Group, Managing Director (former IBM manager of industry analyst relations, EMEA) (LinkedIn)
  • Sandeep Thawani / Mahindra Satyam, Head of Marketing and Communications, Europe (LinkedIn)

IIAR members who would like to join should RSVP on huddle or by email or to jcourtenay at analystrelations dotte org.

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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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How far should an NDA go?

Jeff Mann from Gartner (@JeffMann) blogged yesterday about NDA Games.

It’s an interesting subject, in particular with respect to what useage analysts are allowed to make of information disclosed in an NDA briefing, or to spell it out, a briefing during which the information exchanged is disclosed under a “Non Disclosure Agreement”.

Just to go back a little on the basics, and as Jonny (@jonnybentwood) points out, the ability to exchange non-public information (to a certain extent, because publicly traded companies are subject to some rules on equal access to information towards investors and shareholders, so it should not be material infomation to the sense the SEC understands it) is what differentiates a press interview from an analyst briefing. It’s also one of the things that make this relationship much more interesting and insightful if you ask me. Most firms, such as Gartner, have “blanket” NDA’s with large vendors.

The vendor Jeff mentions should not however say a whole briefing is under NDA, but AR people should take great care in flagging (before and after, as I train my spokespersons to do) what’s under NDA and what’s not. Clearly, what happenned there is not best practice.

Except that talking too soon about a new product can kill sales for today’s product. Some vendors are very good about talking about futures and not selling what they have, but clearly that’s a pre-do-crash business model, not one for today’s business environment.

Any thoughts on how to reconcile this with the need to brief analysts on what’s coming so that their research is accurate?

And question to Jeff and other analysts: can you elaborate on “what’s in it for a vendor to brief you on roadmap/futures?” I think I know some of it but I’m interested in the answers…

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Latest IIAR Best Practice Paper – Making the Case for Analyst Relations

By Thomas Ryan (LinkedIn)

Over the past eighteen months, most companies have been seriously affected by the global economic recession. In many cases, budgets across all departments have been trimmed to the bone; but Analyst Relations (AR)  programs seem to have been particularly hard hit. Increasingly, AR teams are asking:

  • What can we do to keep at least the base of our budget intact?
  • How can I defend my AR budget?

or more generally,

  • How do I make the case for AR?

The IIAR’s latest Best Practice Paper, “Making the Case for Analyst Relations,” identifies the four principles for building solid executive-level sponsorship for your AR program.  Each principle is explored in terms of how AR programs today are effectively – and ineffectively – applying the principle’s key elements.  Examples from successful AR programs are provided to illustrate how each principle can be adapted to your organization’s culture, objectives, and expectations. Continue Reading →

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Latest IIAR Best Practices Paper – A New Foundational Approach to Analyst Tiering

By Susan Galer (@smgaler, LinkedIn)

Everyone knows the industry analyst relations landscape has changed with firm consolidations, resultant influencer moves and content proliferation across an explosion of new channels. In a headlong rush to understand and exploit this new world, it’s easy to get reactive and lose focus on what really matters: having the right information to make the right decisions about working in the best way with analysts most relevant to an organization’s business objectives.

The IIAR’s latest Best Practices Paper, “Beyond Best Practices: Industry Analyst Tiering for Business in the Real Word,” sheds some light on a new foundational approach to sort out which analysts matter to a company, and develop a rationale for optimal engagement strategies. As the title suggested, this paper goes beyond traditional best practices to offer a step by step guide for navigating the industry analyst community in the context of real world challenges. It’s designed to help teams get the in-depth knowledge needed for accurate decision-making about who to engage with and why. Included are answers and suggestions for handling difficult situations thereby mapping advice to situations faced every day.

In many ways, analyst tiering is foundational to industry analyst relations program success. Armed with information about who analysts are and how they form opinions, practitioners can figure out how to work together for mutual advantage. When done correctly, analyst tiering positions the industry analyst relations team as trusted advisors, and lays the groundwork for relationship building to achieve organizational success. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on this important topic.

 

IIAR members can access this paper on our extranet: Industry Analyst Tiering for Business in the Real World

 

 

IIAR Best Practice Paper on tiering

 

Other AR Best Practice posts

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Scheduling made easy?

tetris-blocks[1]Thanks to James, I’ve just discovered Tungle.me, a service to publish your availability.

Scheduling is one of the most time consuming (and least rewarding) tasks AR Managers have to perform in their duty, think of trying to play a 4D Tetris game or being a dating agency for high-speed particules in in LHC. Simply put, executives and IT analysts have a better chance to meet in an airport lounge than in a briefing I’ll arrange.

If all the analysts were on tungle.me, it would be easier to schedule calls as I could triangulate this with my execs calendars.

I hope IDC, Forrester or Gartner will adopt this.

For in person meetings, there are two other web 2.0 tools called dopplr and tripit, which allow you to share where you’ll be with a a selected group of people. Quite practical to see when analysts are attending conferences.

This aspect of declarative authorisation is important for privacy (and safety/security reasons), tungle.me should add this. You can of course mash those ones up with your LinkedIn profile and voila!

If only things were that simple 🙂 But I’m an optimist!

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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] Analyst Relations Basics – part two

NB This is a cross-post from the Buzz Method blog, where it was originally posted in November 2009 as the second 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] Analyst Relations Basics – part one

NB This is a cross-post from the Buzz Method blog, where it was originally posted in November 2009 as the first 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] How should AR pros use online channels to increase influence on their target prospects?

By Duncan Brown / Influencer50 (LinkedIn, @duncanwbrown).

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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Next IIAR discussion group on linking AR with sales

Our next monthly discussion group teleconference is next Monday, February 22nd, on the topic of linking AR with sales.

The call will be lead by Ed Gyurko, who is currently authoring a Best Practice white paper on this topic for the IIAR. Ed will be joined by Allen Valahu from Accenture.

IIAR members who would like to join the call, please contact Hannah Kirkman for dial in details.

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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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[GUEST POST] Measuring online influence

By Duncan Brown / Influencer50 (LinkedIn, @duncanwbrown).

This second post on online influence looks at how one might measure influence using online metrics. It follows on from last week’s post which posed a lot of questions, but few answers. Fair cop.

But first, I think there are a couple of principles of influence to consider:

1. People buy people. Therefore influence measures need to identify individuals. It’s not sufficient to conclude that Gartner (for example) is influential – duh. Vendors need to know (a) who within Gartner is influential, (b) what’s their influence relative to other analyst influencers, and (c) what’s their influence relative to other non-analyst influencers. Influence isn’t distributed equally, either within organisations or throughout the market.

2. Influence is multi-dimensional. Some influencers are subject gurus, some command statutory authority, some are thought leaders and idea planters, some structure the financial elements of procurement, and so on. It’s important to understand why someone is influential, as much as the fact that they are influential.

So. Let’s look at some of the ways influence claims to be measured online:

– Citations – this measures the number of times a source refers back to an originating source. Google PageRank works this way: it rates pages highly if other people link back to it. It’s also how academic research works: a recent paper will refer to previous papers, and the more references a paper gets the more influential it is considered to be. Its strength is its weakness – it will persist in referring back to previously cited sources, even if they become superceded. It also build in something called the Matthew effect, where longevity is favoured over originality.

– Connections – how many outbound links a source has. LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter (following) and other social networks work this way. Count the connections to determine how well connected the person is. It’s also easy to fake, by link swaps, indiscriminate “friending” and so on.

– Subscriptions and readership – Technorati works this way, measuring the number of readers a blog has, and Twitter also publishes this information as followers.

– Noise – references to subjects and/or individual firms. Radian 6, Techrigy, and a bunch of other providers do this, measuring the number of times your firm is mentioned. Some also claim to measure the sentiment of the mention, usually using natural language processing tech.

All of these measures are indicators of online activity, and you can see the usefulness of them, as far as they go. They are, in my view, the equivalent of PR clippings services.

However, none of them measure whether the critical community, decision makers, are remotely influenced by online channels. It’s always necessary to ask: Influence on whom? Do any of these measures accurately assess the impact on real decision makers? In other words, do they measure the likely impact on behaviour of a buyer? Because if they don’t, if they measure a vague notion of industry activity or sentiment, then do they really reflect the ecosystem of influencers that impacts decisions?

More critically, can vendors construct marketing programmes around these measures to improve knowledge, lead generation and useful sales collateral? Because if they can’t, what are these measures useful for?

Tssk – more questions.That last one was rhetorical.

Next week’s post will probably pose more questions about how AR can use online channels to increase influence on their firms’ prospective customers.

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[GUEST POST] What are My Secret AR Weapons?

I, like others am driven to compete, produce the best results….or in other words, Win!

I know that I am not alone in this, and am competing for analysts time and attention, not to mention doing everything I can for the highest rating possible.  So I instinctively know that others are sucking up the remaining analyst time with a message that favors them once my time is up.  So I have to get the time, and make it as meaningful as possible.

I rely on a few tactics that have morphed over the years, but are still true today.

NUMBER 1, IT’S ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP

This takes time, but it is important to know the other person.  I take the time to talk about their children, pets, or at least read their social media which tells me about them as a person.  This can set the tone for a relationship, and you also can find the common ground to have more than just a perfunctory relationship.

What do you get out of it?  Many things like trust (which matters in good or bad times), an answered email, tweet, or any other form of communication.  I talk to analysts and they frankly have email overload and/or avoidance.  That means if they see it from you, there is a decision on whether to look at it (or take the call) or brush it off to the dustpile.

My advice is to take the time to build a relationship by knowing them, then helping them by going out of your way to make the transaction more meaningful.  You will see results from it, like the answer you were looking for.  It’s almost like real estate but instead of location, it’s relationship, relationship, relationship.

NUMBER 2, WHAT IS THEIR BACK CHANNEL

Further on the issue of communicating with the analyst is how to avoid their overload.  There is some method they choose that they rank as the one to answer.  It could be twitter, email (a personal account could be an option here), a text….whatever.  Once you build the relationship, ask them in a crunch, how can I reach you.  Murphy’ law will come into play at some point.   The analyst will be unavailable when you need them (right now) and the back channel is the way.

A word of advice.  If you abuse this, it negates the purpose of having a back channel.

NUMBER 3, IS MY EXECUTIVE THE BEST HE/SHE CAN BE?

At some point, it’s the executive and the analyst and it’s out of your hands.  The can make or break it for you.  Pick the right one for the right briefing.  Tell them how to answer to the analyst base on the relationship you have built and their nuances.

Another issue is how and what you tell.  Sometimes you can state the obvious.  Other times you need to absolutely not answer  a question that will sink your ship.  Having the executive ready to know where the landmines are.   One in A/R must realize that not all are called out to be an effective spokesperson.  Here is a discourse on executives.

If they fall down and you know it, you have to get back to the analyst and sweep up the damage.  Get another executive or knowlegable person to fix the mess.

The best of all worlds is when you get the relationship (here’s that word again) with and executive, and they know how to tell the right story and they build a relationship with analyst also.

Point of interest:  You must also make sure that they know the difference between a press briefing and an analyst briefing.   What is off limits and how far can you push the information limits (NDA may be needed).   I want my execs to tell almost everything including some warts.   This makes the story believable, especially when you are early in the announcement cycle.  This gets you buy in, or if you know a certain analyst is anti-your-message, you’ll know not to go there at announcement time.

Is this a comprehensive list, by no means, mostly because you are dealing with people  so outcomes are not predictable.  Will it work?  Most times as long as you stick to the rules.  Will you have issues or times when everything falls apart?  Yes, and you have to pick yourself up and begin again, it could even lead you to a better relationship.

I graduated from the school of hard knocks, with a PH.D.  If I’d have known this earlier on in my career, it would have avoided many troubling times.  Perhaps that’s how I learned to use these tactics?

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Downfall: Gartner MQ and learnings

Late last week I resurrected a common meme around Hitler’s downfall video but this time applied it to analyst relations.

In the original post, I simply let the parody of the video speak for itself but after reviewing the many comments on the blog and on twitter, I have noticed that quite a few people are commenting about what they can learn from this. Continue Reading →

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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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[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: Knowledge@Wharton

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Next IIAR discussion group call on AR measurement and evaluation

Our next monthly discussion group teleconference is next Wednesday, January 20th, on the topic of AR measurement and evaluation.

The call will be lead by Ellie Warner, who recently authored a Best Practice white paper on this topic for the IIAR.

IIAR members who would like to join the call, please contact Hannah Kirkman for dial in details.

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Best practice AR at the Mobile World Congress: panel discussion highlights

Yesterday the IIAR had a great turn-out for its teleconference on best practice analyst relations at the Mobile World Congress this February in Barcelona.

The discussion was exceptional and the featured panelists included:

• AMDOCS, Brian McManus
• CCS Insight, Ben Wood
• Ericsson, Peter Olofsson
• Vodafone, Janine Aitken-Young.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

• Every analyst attending gets hundreds of requests for meet ups. Resources don’t exist for every analyst to meet with every vendor
• MWC is for analyst meetings not analyst briefings. Pre-brief analysts about news and then arrange 15 minute catch up meetings at the MWC
• Logistics are extremely challenging at the MWC. Pre-planning and spokesperson preparation is essential; allow time in between meetings
• Check the time you are allowed into the conference before scheduling breakfast meetings
• Use multiple ways to evaluate AR success at the event
• Be ready to fact check as analysts are writing blogs and reports on tight deadlines
• Don’t plan meet ups with analysts at social events and don’t plan on analysts attending social events unless there’s a big ‘hook’
• 80% of what’s discussed with an analyst at the MWC is forgotten

All in all a very useful discussion and thanks again to the panelists for their participation.

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[Guest post] Blogger relations at SAP by Michael Krigsman

By Michael Krigsman / ZDnet (LinkedIn, @mkrigsman).

 

Analyst relations is a world of shifting territory, with convergence arising among blogs, traditional analysts, and even the media. I wrote this post to discuss how one software vendor navigates the blogging aspect of these difficult waters.

This post is reprinted from my blog at ZDNet, which is called IT Project Failures.

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Enterprise software vendors are an important part of the blogging dialog ecosystem, along with technology customers, analysts, system integrators, and public relations firms.

Among enterprise vendors, SAP is an industry leader in working with bloggers, so I thought it would be helpful to start the new year with a post that highlights the company’s Blogger Relations program.

SAP’s blogging outreach efforts are successful for three reasons, which other enterprise vendors should consider when creating their own blogging outreach strategy:

1. Ongoing relationship

SAP runs a formal blogging program that includes regular contact by phone, email, and Twitter; invitations to conferences and special events; and other opportunities to interact with SAP senior management, employees, and customers.

There are two primary contacts for bloggers at SAP, each of whom maintains an open-door policy. When I am working on a post and need a source, this means “one-click” access to virtually any employee in the company.

This convenience and accessibility simplifies gaining detailed information about SAP’s activities and products. The clarity of SAP’s message depends on the particular interviewee, but at least the opportunity for dialog is present.

2. Customized programming

SAP is attentive to the professional interests of bloggers in their program. As a result, each participant receives individual attention regarding his or her specific area of focus. In my case, for example, emphasis tends toward discussion around issues pertaining to projects and the intersection of business and IT. Other bloggers engage SAP in areas such as sustainability or enterprise technology.

This customized programming is especially significant when SAP holds events and arranges meetings with senior executives. Matching bloggers and executives who share specific interests helps keep the discussion relevant to all parties.

3. Mutual expectations

The relationship between SAP and bloggers requires substantial investment of time and effort for both sides. My “covenant” with any vendor is simple and fair: I seek straightforward access to information while the vendor has a right to balanced analysis.

Of course, SAP advances its perspective and I write about IT failures, so natural tensions are present. These tensions are healthy and help ensure that blog posts do not devolve into a glorified press release or a one-sided attack.

To learn more about the history and goals of SAP’s blogging program, I recorded this video with Mike Prosceno, the company’s Vice President of Social Media Relations:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zHrCZn0uFg]

Link to Youtube clip of Mike Prosceno / VP Social Media relations at SAP.

THE PROJECT FAILURES ANALYSIS

By demonstrating serious commitment to open up and engage, SAP now participates in conversations that previously eluded the company. This kind of personalization is difficult to achieve, especially for such a large company.

The blogging program actually represents an investment in the rapidly evolving future of corporate communications, which has seen barriers drop in traditional boundaries around media and analyst relations. Blogging offers a particular challenge to corporate communications because it does not fit easily into existing media or analyst definitions.

Serious enterprise bloggers are typically professional experts in some aspect of enterprise software, raising strong parallels with industry analysts. Unlike analysts affiliated with established firms, however, most bloggers are independent and have no contractual relationship with the vendor. At the same time, some industry analysts also write excellent blogs, which further blurs traditional distinctions.

To place these distinctions into broader context, I spoke with Jason Busch, Managing Director of analyst firm, Azul Partners. Jason is also a top enterprise blogger on procurement issues, writing at Spend Matters.

Here’s what Jason told me:

I’ve often found the transparency of bloggers to be a breath of fresh air relative to traditional industry analyst firms.

In general, the better tech bloggers in the enterprise space fully disclose clients, affiliations, advertisers/sponsors, etc. In contrast, traditional analyst revenue waters are often murky; you don’t know who is paying them or how much.

SAP was way ahead of the curve in recognizing the rising role of bloggers and the blurring of analyst/blogger distinctions. It’s probably the most prescient thing they’ve done from a marketing perspective.

My take. SAP understood early on that traditional corporate communications has shifted from a message-based orientation to identifying, building, and nurturing relationships with influencers.

Despite the maturity and excellence of its program, however, SAP now faces competition in blogging relations from other enterprise vendors, some of whom are catching up quickly. To maintain its lead, SAP must continue to innovate and invest in this area.

The growth of enterprise blogging as a recognized form is great news for technology buyers, who rely on independent sources of information when making important technology and business decisions.

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