So, have you started planning and executing your Fall Symposium campaign yet?

Timeline for informing Fall Symposium contentHmm, let’s see, Gartner’s Fall Symposia series kicks off on October 12 with Europe, Japan and Australia following through mid-November. That is what, five months away? I’m sure that many folks are thinking that there is plenty of time to worry about educating the Gartnerians.

Alas, if that is your impression then you will not like to hear that you are already behind schedule.

In last week’s Coffee Talk, we discussed a timeline (click on image to enlarge) that AR teams should consider following in order to ensure that their information and points-of-view are reflected in Symposium presentations. This timeline sparked many interesting questions and raised some new issues. Here are a few of the questions and our responses:

Question: May seems awfully early to get started, what’s the rush?

Response: Even though the Symposia series does not start until October, now is when Gartner management is making important decisions about the agenda and staffing. By talking to analysts and research managers now, you have the opportunity to contribute ideas that will be legitimately considered for the conference lineup. Even after the agenda has been posted, Gartner is still open to changes if done early enough. Another reason to start this early is that presentations will be locked by mid-August when they are sent to Editorial. Scheduling briefings and inquiries leading up to the Editorial due date can be problematic due to summer holidays, vacation and business travel.   Starting now will make it a tiny bit easier to get on the analysts’ calendars.

Question: Why so many briefings, interactions, etc. Shouldn’t one briefing take care of everything?

Response: To really influence Symposium presentations, AR teams need to provide both breadth and depth of information, references, and insight. AR should adopt the motto “early & often” to remind the team that multiple touches are required.

Question: If we have a big announcement in the September – November timeframe, will analysts honor their NDA that long?

Response: Great question. The answer is “yes,” but you should only do this advanced of a briefing if you know the analyst can be trusted. Industry analysts are brokers of information and would endanger their access if they developed a reputation for not honoring non-disclosure agreements (NDA). In particular, you need to be very explicit about the nature of the NDA and why it is so long in order to get the analysts’ compliance before telling them the confidential information. SageCircle has a SageNote* on best practices for handling NDA situations that you can obtain from us.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Schedule inquiries with your top Gartner analysts to discuss what they know about any presentations they will be giving, panels they will be on, and which of the four Symposia they will be attending
  • Check the Symposium webpage regularly as the agenda has not been posted as of this time and will change regularly for the first month or so
  • Generate a plan and update it periodically
  • Set goals on what you want reflected at Symposium
  • Inventory your available resources: AR bandwidth, customer references, executive and domain expert spokespeople
  • Create Symposium-specific analyst lists (aka Analyst Groups in ARchitect3) that distinguishe between content developers, presenters, and analysts attending for 1-on-1 duty
  • Create a calendar for briefings and inquiries that also tracks company and analyst summer holidays and travel
  • Start scheduling briefings and inquiries

* SageCircle Advisory clients, either Annual or Hour Blocks, can request a copy of SageNoteTM AR141 “Protecting Confidential Information is a Personal Responsibility” and the presentation “Steps to influence the Fall Symposium content.” In addition, clients can sign up for an inquiry to go through this content, how to apply it their situation, and review any plans being developed.

Bottom Line: Gartner’s Fall Symposia series will have thousands of IT decision makers in attendance representing hundreds of billions (dollars, euros, pounds, yen, yuan and more) in IT budgets. By acting early, AR teams can ensure that their companies’ information and message are properly highlighted which will generate a highly qualified leads.

Question: Have you started your Symposium planning yet?

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