Tag Archives | ESG

[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 2)

If you read part 1 of my blog post ’20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making’ you will hopefully have learnt a few things. Including the fact that I am not shy when it comes to sharing my thoughts! So here we go with part 2 of my list of don’ts, pitfalls, and worst practices when it comes to working with industry analysts.

  1. Following on from my tip not to focus on just one or two analyst firms, don’t treat the analyst community as a homogeneous ecosystem. Our differences abound. Some firms tend to employ very dry, almost academically analytical people. Others are less analytical, more engaging. So, don’t ignore the importance of defining what you want from a particular analyst interaction. For example, are you looking for an objective, outside critic to give you unvarnished, ugly truth? Are you looking for a reassuring partner? Lots of analysts can play both roles, but you have to help them understand what you need. Once in a while, your most curmudgeonly and cynical critic can also be your most inspiring partner.
  2. On a related note, don’t assume we all do the same things the same way (in terms of either free advice or paid projects). Even within one firm, each analyst will have his or her own style when collaborating with you.
  3. Don’t forget to double check whom from the analyst side and whom from your side will be on a given call. Calls that take place with the wrong people are a waste of everyone’s time. If you plan to have a very technical product-development engineer representing your end, then you’ll probably want a more technical person on the analyst’s end (at ESG, our lab analysts are known for keeping pace with even the nerdiest infrastructure architects and technology evangelists.) But if your goal is to figure out how to translate extremely technical value statements into compelling, plain-English marketing messages, then request an analyst that’s focused in that manner.
  4. It is a really bad idea for you to conduct briefings with us at the last minute. Your lack of prep work sends a poor message to us. But more importantly, if you wait until three weeks before a product launch to get in touch with us, then there will be no time left for us to help you make your launch better! Every message will already be baked on your side, warts and all. That’s not a situation conducive to making us feel engaged with your company and its goals. I recall many occasions when it’s happened to me, and afterward, I found it harder to feel invested in helping those clients craft their launch strategies the next time around—because I knew, yet again, there’d be no time left for them to act on any of my suggestions. Basically, if you don’t want to consider the analyst’s feedback, you might as well just send a deck.
  5. Don’t assume we have set opinions on everything, even on matters involving a single company. We are always morphing and expanding our knowledge of the markets we cover and the clients we serve. Don’t assume influencers cannot be influenced! You have more power of persuasion over us than you might know. We’ll have no issues becoming avid fans of you and your company if it’s warranted.
  6. Which brings me to this point: don’t ignore us. You aren’t the only ones having calls with us. Members of the IT press call us for commentary, too. When journalists are asking us for a quote, your ongoing efforts to ensure your company remains “front-of-mind” in our consciousness will pay off. Basically, just keep in mind that we talk to a lot more people affiliated with your industry than you do—reporters, end-users, channel partners, your direct competitors, major investors, other analysts, and beyond.
  7. On a day-to-day basis in your own role, don’t be just a gatekeeper. In other words, don’t limit yourself to being the forwarder of emails between outside analysts and your company’s in-house subject matter experts. Over the years, I’ve seen AR people overly indulge in “bottlenecking” behavior, presumably because it gave them a feeling of control over the company’s analyst relationships. If you do that, you are not adding value you are actually reducing value for all parties. We are a catalyst for your company’s success. Keeping the relevant analysts “locked in an AR drawer”, away from your marketing and engineering colleagues, isn’t helpful.
  8. Don’t let your company’s marketing-campaign people pitch anyone (i.e., juicy prospects and lucrative customers whose continued business is important) without doing a dry run with an analyst first. We are your brutally honest friend who will tell you about your halitosis and thus save you from embarrassment when it really counts!
  9. It works the other way, too. Don’t forget that people across your industry, not to mention your biggest customers, are regularly telling us far more then they’d ever dare reveal to you directly.
  10. Here we could have something about not using a slide deck with you that features market stats from competing analyst houses… Is that an issue? I’d have thought so but I’m not an analyst…
  11. We have entered a time in which the classic “annual big launch” is fading away. More often, IT vendors—including the company you may represent—are releasing steady drip-drips of enhanced product features and functions throughout the year. This IT industry-wide shift is making it harder for product marketing teams to garner traction and attention for their new and improved solutions.In such a climate, if you treat your analyst community as a check-box item, then you’ll do nothing more than check a box. You can do better than that. We are not all the same—learn that, and work optimally within that reality.These days, it’s more important than ever for you to refine and optimize your analyst interactions. As with any relationship, honesty is the best policy. Candor leads to trust, and trust leads ultimately to success — for you and us.

Mark Peters (LinkedIn, @englishmdp) is a Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), with three decades of IT industry experience – the first two spent in myriad commercial management roles for vendors on each side of the Atlantic the last decade looking in on the vendors and at the market for ESG. ESG is an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight to the global IT community. ESG helps clients achieve business results through a comprehensive portfolio of research and advisory services, consulting, and custom content solutions.

This post first appeared on A3 Communications, reposted with their kind permission.

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[GUEST POST] 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making by Mark Peters / ESG (part 1)

Mark Peters / ESG: 20 mistakes analyst relations teams are making

Good news: With improvements, everyone will see better results
I’m going to make an assertion that will seem unnecessarily provocative. After working for a decade as an IT industry analyst—including interacting regularly with analysts from other firms — I am confident in saying that many, indeed perhaps most, analyst relations teams are sub-optimizing their relationships and, by extension, their companies’ relationships with the analysts covering them.

I mainly work with teams that manage industry analyst relations specifically—that is, AR teams. But good chunks of the advice I’m about to share could apply (with some tweaking) to anyone managing relationships between their company and outside influencers such as journalists, investment analysts, or other third-party pundits who need information about features, roadmaps, or strategies.Big companies have full-time AR, PR, and IR teams, but even small startups usually have someone on staff doing similar work, even if it’s just one part of their role. There are a lot of you out there. So here we go.

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The IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018

Fashionably late but always on point and by popular request here’s the IIAR Tragic Quadrant 2018, a representation of how Analyst Relations Professionals (AR Pros) have rated analyst firms in the 2018 survey we ran for the Analyst and Firm of the Year 2018.

For new readers here, the Tragic Quadrant is of course a pun on the infamous GartnerMagic Quadrant’. We do not pretend this as an exhaustive analysis -nor is it a completely serious piece of research (the “Tragic” moniker is there as a reminiscence it should be taken with a pinch of salt). Nonetheless it is based on data and, as opposed to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, there are no magical and secretive weightings. As such, it is a good indication going back several years of the changes afoot in the industry analyst landscape and the judgement analyst relations professionals cast on industry research firms. And it provides actionable insights AR pros can use, something other surveys in this field often lack.

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Trio of analyst departures at Gartner underlines why backup strategy is so important

Gartner icon logo for the IIAR websiteGartner has been forced to delay a Magic Quadrant report for at least six months due to the mass departure of pivotal analysts covering the enterprise data center space. 

The delay followed news that analysts Dave Russell and Pushan Rinnen were leaving to join vendors. The duo were the mainstays of the Gartner team covering data backup. Their counterpart in the EMEA region, Robert Rhame, is also moving on.

Their timing was remarkable: Gartner was due to kick off research for its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions last week. With all three authors choosing to leave Gartner, the firm had no credible option but to delay the start of the report: this is now on ice until 2019. Continue Reading →

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The IIAR Tragic Quadrant for 2017

Two years ago, in 2015, we produced the first IIAR Tragic Quadrant. It was met with much enthusiasm and comment, thus we have decided to repeat the exercise once again this year. Below we present the Tragic Quadrant for 2017. The Tragic Quadrant is compiled from data collected as part of the 2016 IIAR Analyst of the Year Survey, where, annually, we invite analyst relations professionals to rate individual industry analyst and the firms they work for. This year more than 100 different individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.

In producing the Tragic Quadrant what we sought to do was to rank analyst firms according to three criteria. We chose these criteria because this is what the IIAR survey asks respondents to assess:

  • Impact: The Y axis depicts the ‘Impact’ of the industry analyst firm on the purchase decision. This also relates to their perceived credibility and capability to provide an objective opinion.
  • Relevance: The X axis marks their ‘Relevance’ for the purchase decision. This means their capability to cover the market and their specific geographical allocation. It also includes public recognition of their presence in the market (e.g. as an expert).
  • Interaction: The size of the bubble is ‘Interaction’. This relates to issues of communication (e.g. how easy is it to get to them and to talk to them).

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The IIAR “Tragic Quadrant”

Last year, as part of the 2014 IIAR Analyst of The Year Survey, we invited analyst relations professionals to rate their favourite industry analyst individuals and the firms they worked for. More than 60 individual organisations responded to our survey. We were interested to see if we could do further analysis on the data that was collected.

When we set out to do the IIAR Analyst of the Year (with Helen Chantry), we always had envisioned doing a Magic Quadrant of analyst firms. This year the survey provided us with further information which we have been able to breakdown and analyse to provide a more detailed understanding of how analyst relations professionals perceive the relevance, impact and reachability of industry analyst firms. We are not claiming that this is an exhaustive study. Rather it simply opens a new (slightly cheeky – hence the notion of “Tragic Quadrant”) window onto the analyst landscape, where we attempt to rank industry analyst firms by impact, relevance and ease to do business with. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] How AR is Doing: An Ex-AR Practitioner’s View from the Other Side, by Evan Quinn / ESG

This guest post has been authored by Evan Quinn (LinkedIn, @evanquinn, blog) who is a Senior Principal Analyst at ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) covering Data Management, Analytics, Big Data and Cloud Platform-as-a-Service. While at Axicom, Evan was also on the IIAR board .

Speech is free: Evan and ESG are not associated in any ways with the IIAR and the post below contains Evan’s opinions which might not reflect the views of IIAR’s members or ESG.

A couple of years ago I decided it was time to step away from the analyst/influencer relations function for at least awhile.  The researcher/competitive analyst side of me was asking for an outlet, and so I left the AR ranks.  But, ironically, in my current job as an industry analyst I have  the opportunity to see how AR practitioners perform their jobs every business day.  I am here to report that things have changed somewhat in AR, and in some cases not for the better.  But first some background. Continue Reading →

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