Kleenex, Frisbee, and Magic Quadrant – what do they have in common?

Have you heard your spokespeople make the following statement when briefing the analysts or presenting to a group of analysts on a teleconference: “… also if I reflect on the way you put us, whether it’s your magic quadrants or …” Probably the executive was using “magic quadrant” as a generic label for analyst research graphics, much like people use Kleenex for facial tissue, Frisbee for a flying disc toy or Xerox for photocopying. 

Using Magic Quadrant as a generic label is dangerous for any vendor’s relationship with the analyst community. Analysts at firms other than Gartner bridle at Gartner’s dominate mindshare in the market. Referring to the Magic Quadrant is adding salt to their wounds. Gartner analysts, on the other hand, are extremely touchy about what they feel is the misuse of their signature research deliverable by the vendor community. So for vendors this is a lose-lose situation.

This situation also applies to other high visibility analyst deliverables like the Forrester Wave and Gartner Hype Cycle.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Brief your executives* on the best practice for referring to analyst research deliverables
  • Monitor what executives say to analysts and diplomatically remind them not use specific research deliverables as a generic term

* Are you having trouble convincing your executives to drop the use of “magic quadrant” or “wave” as a generic term? SageCircle’s Executive Briefing on Spokesperson Best Practices can be a valuable tool in your education campaign about the appropriate approach to take. For SageCircle Annual Advisory Service clients this and other Executive Briefings are standard deliverables that can be used any number of times.

Bottom Line: AR teams should work with their spokespeople to scrub this type of usage from their vocabulary. It is easy enough to use generic labels for analyst research without using something specific to a particular firm.

Question: AR teams – Have you heard your executives use “magic quadrant,” “wave,” or “hype cycle” as a generic term for analyst research? Did you correct them? Did they understand – aka “get” – why this is not a good practice?

0 thoughts on “Kleenex, Frisbee, and Magic Quadrant – what do they have in common?

  • Great point well made. I can only say that it is not about us non-Gartner analysts getting rubbed up the wrong way when the term is used generically. The problem is that such practice tends to betray the lack of understanding of variations in analyst house / deliverable spectrum.

    Getting your product called “MQ” during the briefing: not a problem. Misunderstandings regarding the methodology and the deliverables: not so much…

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