Gartner’s Cool Vendor annual research note set [Startup Saturday]

Often startups with interesting new technologies feel like there are no IT analysts that want to cover them. For example, they are usually excluded from signature deliverables like Forrester Waves and Gartner Magic Quadrants since they often don’t fit neatly into an existing market. Rather than give up, startups should consider targeting Gartner’s annual “Cool Vendors” research note series.

The “Cool Vendors” series was launched in 2004 with 17 market categories. By 2007, the Gartnerians had expanded that to 36 markets with well over 130 vendors covered. Googling “gartner cool vendors” (without quotes) will return nearly 100k hits. If you are not a Gartner client, some of those hits will have research notes available for download for free because a company listed in the research note decided to get reprint rights for marketing purposes. You will also see many, many press releases by the vendors listed in a “Cool Vendors” research note.

The series is typically released in March, which means work on the notes likely starts in January. So now is the time to start planning a campaign to get included in one of those notes.

SageCircle Technique: If you are a Gartner client (or your PR firm or VC backers if they have a seat, even if you cannot participate directly in the inquiry), schedule a client inquiry with an appropriate analyst. The analysts could be someone you normally brief. Or, you could try GVP and Chief Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer who co-wrote the series overview research note in 2007 and might know what markets are being targeted in 2008. Ask the analyst if there is going to be a Cool Vendor note covering your market and what you can do to maximize your chance of being included.  If the answer is promising then put together a formal campaign that combines briefings, client inquiries, customer stories (even beta customers) and maybe even an analyst consulting day to provide the analyst(s) with the information and insights needed to make including your company as a “Cool Vendor” a simple decision.

If you do not have access to a Gartner Advisor seat, then create a legitimate reason to brief the appropriate Gartner analyst (not Daryl Plummer this time). Then during the briefing, inquire about the Cool Vendor series. Again, if the answer is promising, work to schedule a series of highly targeted briefings to demonstrate your worthiness for inclusion.

Bottom Line: The business value of being included in the Cool Vendors series goes from implied validation to marketing to public relations to lead generation. While there is no guarantee that you can get included on a Cool Vendors research note, the value is such that not even trying seems a missed opportunity.

Question: Has your company been included in a Cool Vendors research note? What, if any, value did you realize from the placement?

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