One of the more controversial analysts in the analyst ecosystem and blogsphere is Rob Enderle. For instance, some of the more colorful posts are “Why Rob Enderle is a moron” and “Rob Enderle: Putting the ‘Anal’ in ‘Analyst'”. This animosity is due to the fact that he gets the most press quotes of any IT industry analyst – more than most firms – and that Rob takes strong stands on industry issues that ruffle a lot of feathers. The high profile in the press is a deliberate and smart marketing strategy on Rob’s part, but sometimes it obscures the fact that he is smart and insightful.
When I first got to my previous employer, I frankly had a similarly low opinion of Rob. Like many AR professionals, this opinion was not based on any personal interaction with him, but just a visceral reaction to the quotes he was giving in the press in general and about my employer specifically. What un-informed hogwash! However, I quickly discovered that nobody at the company was briefing Rob at the strategic or even the product levels. Hmm, I wonder what would happen if Corporate AR actually gave him real information? Well, not surprising, once we started giving Rob regular briefings his quotes and published research became more on target. It did not mean that we always liked what he said, but it more often we were saying “I can’t believe Rob said that! But, you know, unfortunately he has a point.”
After awhile, my team became a client of Rob’s because we figured he would provide a unique and unvarnished point-of-view on many of the issues we were facing as a corporate-centric AR team. As time went on, we started using him as an advisor on sensitive, non-disclosure issues and he always came up with valuable advice. Through our introductions, Rob also became an advisor to our messaging and PR teams, where again he came through with interesting insights especially how the press would react to an upcoming announcement.
Rob is also an appropriate analyst for startups to turn to. He covers emerging technologies and has a good feel for how startups need to think about their products. In addition, his frequent interactions with the press gives him insights into which reporters and publications might be receptive to a call from a startup.
Rob’s business model encourages controversial discussion. No doubt, SageCircle is going to get flamed by many in the analyst ecosystem for the temerity of complimenting Rob, but we call it based on research and experience, not gut reaction.
Bottom Line: The moral of the story is that AR teams need to reevaluate their opinions of Rob (and similar controversial analysts) based on personal interactions and not just perceptions. If Rob is getting quoted about your company, AR should evaluate briefing Rob on company strategy, on corporate issues, earnings, and ability to execute. Do this even if you do not think his core research covers your markets. Communications and IT vendors AR teams should also consider contracting with Rob as an advisor that can provide useful “ah ha”s about how other analysts and the press will react to company announcements.
Question: AR teams – Have you changed your opinion Rob Enderle after direct interactions? If yes, why? If no, why?
Periodically, SageCircle will profile outstanding analysts. Initially, the analysts will be ones that Dave Eckert and Carter Lusher worked with during our years in AR, but we encourage you to submit worthy analysts for a profile. We also hope to better refine our criteria for an outstanding analyst and you suggestions are encouraged. Analyst Spotlights are published at least on the 1st of every month. Past spotlights include:
Outstanding Analyst: Has detailed knowledge of the products and technologies in their defined market space, but also understands how that market space relates to the rest of IT. Has broad knowledge of both the IT vendor’s products and strategies as well as the range of client needs. Provides honest and fair perspectives in reports and speeches. Goes beyond what is expected when providing services to all clients.
Are you uncertain about how to react to controversial or non-traditional analysts that do not fit neatly into your analyst list framework? SageCircle can help. Our strategists can:
- Provide background research on the analyst and his or her role in the market
- Peel the onion, uncovering the underlying issues and not let surface impressions cloud judgment
- Suggest approaches for dealing with the analyst
- Critique plans and briefings to ensure they are fine tuned for this specific analyst instead of using generic briefing content
SageCircle strategists understand your opportunities, challenges and priorities because we have been AR practitioners and executives as well as industry analysts and AR researchers. SageCircle emphasizes the use of phone-based inquiry through its Advisory Service, which is your lifeline when you need timely access to an AR and analyst expert to exploit an opportunity or mitigate a problem. Advisory is available through an annual “all you can eat” contract or blocks of two or five hours “by the drink.” Click here to learn more about our advisory services.
To learn more contact us at info [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.