Obviously SageCircle is a big proponent of social media and the potential for positive impact on the analyst ecosystem. However, that view is not shared by all AR professionals. I recently had an interesting conversation with an AR manager who was more than a little irritated with major firm analysts who blog. Are these normal growing pains in the evolution of the AR-analyst relationship or is this a nascent backlash?
A big part of this person’s annoyance was centered on the lack of discipline and rigor in the analysts’ blogging versus normal research publishing. Some points included:
- Commenting on technologies or products outside the analyst’s normal coverage area
- Lack of usual research rigor
- Subverting publishing process
- No vendor review process (an especially sore point)
- Writing only paragraphs instead of pages
- No advanced warning to vendors when a major commentary is being published on a blog
- Undisciplined approach, attitude of fun
These are all reasonable observations because the blogging process today is quite different from the formal methodologies that many firms have established. This is especially true for those analysts who use their blogs as places to work out new ideas (see Because analysts are increasingly using blogs as development platforms, AR has to participate to be part of the conversation).
The AR manager said that the analysts have not thought out the implications of an informal move to blogging. They then asked some rhetorical questions:
- Do analysts want vendors to publicly comment on errors in their blog posts?
- Have the firms thought about the impact on the firm’s brand?
- Do the analysts want to be known as sober analysts backed by solid research versus wild-eyed pundits spouting only opinions with little value add?
- Do analysts want to be treated like bloggers, e.g., provided less or no access to executives and domain experts?
Again, the AR manager has some valid points. Poorly written, poorly fact-checked blog posts could damage both the firms’ and analysts’ credibility. I could see vendor sales teams using an analyst as an advisor on a deal direct prospects to the analyst’s blog posts where both basic factual errors and perceived analytical shortcomings are being debated in public.
- AR managers should communicate their concerns about analyst blogging to the firms, either directly or through SageCircle
- Analyst firms should articulate where blogging fits into the overall deliverables scheme with a clearly defined role
- Analyst firms should systematically survey vendors to determine the attitude toward analyst blogging
- Analyst firms should examine how blogs can incorporate research rigor, without compromising the spirit of blogging
- Analyst firms should notify vendors when a significant piece of commentary is posted
Bottom Line: The annoyance of blogging by some members of the AR community is natural, as with any new trends. Analyst firms can ensure that this annoyance does not escalate into a backlash by working with the vendor community on the firms’ blogging policies and direction.
AR managers – Do you have concerns about blogging analysts? If yes, what are those concerns? If no, why not?
Analyst firms – Do the concerns of this AR executive surprise you? Are you working on ways to incorporate blogging into the formal research methodology?
Are you thinking about experimenting with social media? SageCircle can Help – Social media represents new opportunities and challenges to AR teams. SageCircle can help AR teams by:
- Providing on-site or distance learning sessions to get AR teams up to speed on social media and how it might be adopted
- Acting as a sounding board as you brainstorm how to add social media to the AR tool box
- Advising on how to develop a pilot program to experiment with social media
- Playing the role of analyst in social media experiments and providing critiques of how the experiment went
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.
Call 650-274-8309 or e-mail info (at) sagecircle dot com for more information. Also follow Carter’s commentary www.twitter.com/carterlusher to get a feel for how information is now being transmitted using micro-blogging.
Since 2000, SageCircle has helped analyst relations teams to focus on business value by encouraging innovative thinking that leverages insights and drives revenue.