Do I place my bets on AR-Sales partnering or adopting social media?

icon-dollar-euro.jpgQuestion: If I had to choose between starting an AR-Sales partnership or launching a social media initiative, which way should I go? If I did both, but with limited resources, how should I divide my efforts?

 During the happy hour after the first session of our STRATEGIC ISSUES advanced AR seminar, one of the attendees asked these great questions. Both Dave and Carter answered immediately and in unison:

     “AR-Sales!”

Why? Even a simple AR-Sales partnership pilot will give the AR team an opportunity to gather real world examples of the analysts impacting sales opportunities. These types of hard sales numbers, even in anecdotal form, are powerful tools for illustrating the strategic value of AR. In addition, a pilot project can […]

What are the pluses and minuses of former analysts taking on vendor AR roles? [Practitioner Question]

question-mark-graphic.jpgComment/Question: Re: your point below about jobs for senior analysts, here’s an idea for a blog entry – the pluses and minuses of former analysts taking on vendor analyst relations roles. That ought to stimulate some discussion on the comments section.

Rob Curran, wicked smart AR professional at Waggener Edstrom, sent along that comment after this week’s newsletter where we wrote in light of the recent spate of layoffs at analyst firms: 

Do you know of a job appropriate for a senior analyst? – Now is the time to grab talent. The job could be at a firm you know is hiring or maybe your company has a position open in product management, strategy or market research. If so, notify the analysts you know that are “in transit” between positions. Not just former Forrester analysts, but the others as well.”

It looked like Rob noticed we did not include analyst relations (AR) as a possible job for former analysts. Hopefully that was a simple oversight on my part (this is Carter, a former Gartner analyst, writing) and not a Freudian slip. Obviously there can be real value to having a former analyst in the AR role. On the other hand, I have seen some former analysts really botch the job of AR.

This is a topic that really does […]

Role of social media in uncovering the Gartner and AMR analyst layoffs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe last few days have been interesting regarding the layoffs at Gartner and AMR. Laying off workers (about 1% of analysts for Gartner so far), canceling unprofitable events (such as Spring Symposium), and so on are so typical for any company in this economic environment. In fact, more layoffs or other services cancelations would not be atypical. 

However, what makes this situation more interesting is the role social media played in bringing the layoffs to the attention of stakeholders in the analyst ecosystem. In the past the analyst firms were able to get away with keeping layoffs under the radar screen because any one client, end user or vendor, would only discover “missing” analysts that they personally interacted with on a regular basis. This process of discovering missing analysts would also occur over days or weeks because few clients have frequent contacts with multiple analysts. When layoffs occurred under the radar nobody got the big picture about all the departures and put the pieces together.

Well, that approach ended on Friday. SageCircle became the hub for information about reports of layoffs and then fed that back to the AR community via Twitter, Facebook and our blog. Our raising the issue then got us more data points via Twitter and email. Very quickly we were able to ascertain that the departures were not just the usual turnover in the employee base, but job actions by AMR and Gartner affecting a number of analysts.

Certainly, Twitter and other social media have been used in other breaking news instances, including natural disasters or terrorist related. However, most members in the analyst ecosystem have been laggards when it comes to adopting social media. This might be the first case of Twitter, Facebook and an AR blog being used to […]

Making Data Collection for Measurement Practical [AR Practitioner Question]

AR Metrics & MeasurementQuestion:  How do you make data collection easier for AR measurement programs?

This question gets to the heart of the measurement challenge-if it is too difficult to do, it will not get done.  Making data collection practical involves selecting the right mix of metrics, leveraging outside resources, and automating many tasks.

[This post focuses on the data collection aspects of an effective measurement program.  Therefore, the following related topics will not be addressed 1) picking and prioritizing the right metrics, 2) distinguishing between operational and performance metrics, and 3) using metrics to track performance against pre-defined goals.  For discussion of these topics, please see Online SageContentTM Library series “Metrics and Program Measurement.”]

SageCircle Technique:

  • Selecting the Right Mix of Metrics. First, to make data collection practical, you must pick metrics that meet measurement program goals (e.g. track what you want to measure) and are easy and cost-effective to generate (e.g. data collection requires moderate/minimal effort). Be clear on what you want to measure and collect only that data so you can encourage AR team participation. However, do not reject metrics that initially appear difficult to collect. New options to out-task and automate may make collection easier than you think.
  • Leveraging Outside Resources (Out-Tasking). Out-tasking is a variation of out-sourcing, but instead of contracting out a significant part of your AR program (which SageCircle rarely recommends) this technique refers to contracting out an activity or task. Out-tasking is especially appropriate for activities that are […]

Q&A with Gartner about the new Gartner Blog Network

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe new Gartner Blog Network is generating some interesting buzz in the analyst ecosystem (see Gartner ups the ante on analyst blogging – maybe 50 new bloggers). To learn more about what Gartner is up with this new initiative, SageCircle interviewed Andrew Spender, Gartner’s VP of Corporate Communications, via email.

SageCircle: Andrew, thank you for participating in this interview.

SageCircle: Why the change in policy?

Andrew Spender: Participating in social media represents an opportunity for Gartner analysts to evolve their means and style of personal interaction with technology users and providers, business leaders, opinion leaders, journalists and many others interested in the business of technology.

SageCircle: Will analyst blogs be considered official Gartner published research? Or will blogs more like Gartner Voice podcasts where it is clearly stated at the beginning that the podcast “does not constitute published Gartner research”?

Blog posts represent the personal opinion of the Gartner analyst. As such, they do not reflect Gartner official published research. They may, where applicable, refer back to published Gartner research.

SageCircle: Will analysts be encouraged to blog or is this just a personal option for individual analysts to decide?

It is up to the individual analyst to […]

Why is it that more analyst blogging is better?

This morning I got an interesting tweet from Forrester analyst John Rymer (bio, Twitter handle): 

            “@carterlusher why is more analysts blogging better?”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgJohn was responding to my reply to a comment (“Good news, Gartner is allowing analysts to blog @carterlusher will be thrilled”) by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, blog, Twitter handle).  This comment pointed out Gartner analyst Gene Phifer’s (bio, blog, Twitter handle) post about how Gartner analysts are now permitted to have a personal-branded blog. I don’t know if I was thrilled, but I did say “Excellent, the more analysts blogging the better.” Thus, John’s question.

Hmm, that is a good question. My initial thought was “well of course it’s better because blogging is good.” It took me about two seconds to discard that answer as glib and dumb. The real answer is […]

Spoon feed analysts public information

This should not have been a surprise to me, but I was shocked when I first started dealing with analysts as an analyst relations (AR) professional with the number of analysts who never bothered to check my company’s public information. Yeah, it was OK that they never read the marketing content on the website. But they also never perused the quarterly financial statements even when they were basing part of their analysis on the financial strength of my employer and very visibility stating the “facts.” Here is an example. 

A Gartner analyst sent me a courtesy review copy of slides for an upcoming Symposium presentation. One the statements on the “Challenges and Strengths” slide was that the margins for a particular business were a “challenge.” Huh? This particular division had consistently improved its margins – year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter – for ten straight quarters. What was going on? That was when the light bulb went “Click!” for me. The analyst had not read the quarterly statements. So I put together a simple table that extracted a few relevant financial facts for the business group going back four years. It showed the challenges the business had early on, but then it illustrated the consistent, never wavering progress for 2.5 years. After reviewing the simple table consisting of public information, the analyst moved margins from “Challenge” to “Strength.”

That was a win for AR, but it outraged me that a former colleague was making public speeches about a company without bothering to check the facts. Yes, perhaps this was a bit naïve of me. Once I took a few deep breaths and calmed down, I set about spoon feeding this analyst and the other Gartner analysts in the same research area the basics about this particular business group’s financials. Every quarter I would add to the aforementioned […]