Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Influence Game

Anyone working in IT knows the power and influence exerted by Gartner, Forrester, IDC and the rest: Industry analysts can create markets, shape buying behavior, and even determine the fate of entire companies. They have a direct and measurable impact on the way organizations and individuals buy and use technology, from ubiquitous consumer products to esoteric emerging technologies.

I'm employed by an enterprise software vendor, and working with the analyst community is a central element of our marketing mix. Analysts are uniquely positioned to provide a highly informed yet objective view of our ideas, strategy and product development plans. But more importantly, they also act as valued advisers and translators for consumers of information technology, aka our customers and prospects. And as a breed, analyst can be delightfully quirky individuals that are fun to know. (They can also be infuriating, pig-headed and far too enamored with themselves, but I digress...)

I've run AR programs for a handful of companies, and recently I inherited the AR brief in my current job. It's been a couple of years since I talked to analysts on a regular basis and it feels like the landscape has changed. If you've got experiences you can share – or resources you'd recommend – please get in touch.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian, I'd first suggest contacting Carter Lusher at Sage Circle (www.sagecircle.com), Stephen England of Knowledge Capital Group (www.knowledgecap.com) and Barbra French of Tekrati (www.tekrati.com). Those three are *the* best sources on all things analyst and influencer relations. I'd be very happy to help as well. You are right, the analyst landscape has changed... while the large firms (Gartner, Forrester, IDC) all wield significant influence there are a number of smaller and boutique firms and individual analysts that are important in specific areas. Plus new media types like bloggers and "tweeters" are increasingly important. As a result, AR professionals must develop focused plans that target the right analyst via the right vehicle with the right information at the right time. The folks above will provide guidance on best practices... and again, I'd be happy to offer up help as well. Good luck!
Rick Brusuelas

Paul Maher said...

Ian,

As we both know the 'Big Boys' have had it too good for too long. The secret? Access.

When you have a walled garden around your IP and charge extortionate amounts for event which rich vendors are expected to show at, life is good. This is a broken model.

The atomization of content via the internet, the demise of the large 'catch-all' tech show on cost basis and the solving of yesterday's 'problems' (which OS? which DB? which hardware?) means more customised analysis is what is needed.

Hence the rise of the small guys. The analyst analyst's may actually be more useful than ever, now there is some choice.

Top Analysts in EMEA for me? MWD, Redmonk and Freeform Dymnamics plus hundereds of bloggers. Be interested in what others think though.

Ian Bruce said...

Thanks for the comments.

Rick, many thanks for the offer of help. I have contacted KCG and Sage and think they both have a lot to offer. I'll add Tehrati to the list. I also agree that new media and the deep specialization this fosters are changing AR.

Paul - good to hear from you! I do think the AR marketplace is getting polarized - giants and minnows.

barbarafrench said...

Ian, Look forward to hearing more on your observations of the analyst landscape.

I think you'll find it has changed more in some practice areas, and less in others. Rick Brusuelas has put it succinctly. And I'm on record here that he far understated his own expertise in the AR trenches. He's as much a go-to guy as any of us.

One great resource right inside Novell is Amie Johnson, on your PR team in Utah. She was a vital contact for me at Burton Group before joining Novell. She has deep working insight into recent analyst success stories, analyst-consultant roles and engagement models, and the analyst competition online and offline for clients, event attendees & sponsors and publicity.

As for me, I look at the analysts plus several other types of influencers. I'm active with my company, Tekrati, and also as a consultant with Influencer50. Plus, I'm a Novell alum.

Look forward to speaking with you sometime soon.