Do your analysis before deciding to use social media like blogs or wikis

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBarbara French left an interesting question on SageCircle announces the Analyst Relations Wiki*, a tool to help AR teams be more efficient and effective. Basically, she asked why use a wiki instead of deploying more efficient PDF search technology on the existing PDFs?

We picked the wiki technology, because it became the logical choice after we did an analysis of the situation using the POST framework from Forrester’s Groundswell research: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology. This same analysis process is valuable to AR teams for their own decision making.  Here is an overly simplified summary of our extensive analysis in making our choice:

  • People – AR managers are strapped for time. They have different levels of experience and as a consequence need access to different levels of information. They also have different levels of on-line sophistication.
  • Objectives – Save AR managers time and make them more effective by […]

Examples of analysts using blogs for research purposes

icon-social-media-blue.jpgAs we pointed out, analysts are increasingly using blogs as research development platforms so monitoring analyst blogs is a good way for analyst relations (AR) to get insights into analysts’ work-in-progress. With this information in hand, AR teams can then decide whether to join the conversation online or reach out to the analysts for a briefing or inquiry.

 Because relatively few AR teams are monitoring analyst blogs, those AR professionals that use this technique can achieve a competitive advantage by getting in early on developing ideas when they can have the most impact.

 Here are two recent examples of analysts using […]

Context, advice, reputation and time: How analysts can thrive in the social media age

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBecause vendor executives still wonder why enterprise IT managers still use the analysts (they need to read Why technology buyers use the IT industry analysts) and hope that they influence will diminish (they should check out Influence is not a zero-sum game so analyst influence is not necessarily diminished by the rise of bloggers), we continue to look for ways to clearly articulate why those vendor executives are indulgencing in wishful thinking. Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine and creator of the Long Tail theory, had an interesting post about human-powered search and the long tail that is a nifty approach to the issue of why pay for something when so much information is available for free on the Internet, blogosphere and other forms of social media.

Chris started with something from Economics 101: “Every abundance creates a new scarcity.” He then went on to illustrate with these examples:

  • An abundance of information can create a scarcity of context
  • An abundance of choice can create a scarcity of advice
  • An abundance of content can create a scarcity of time
  • An abundance of people competing for your attention can create a scarcity of reputational ways to choose among them

Each of these scarcities apply to the typical IT manger and executive in spades. Few IT managers that I have spoke with in the last 18 months are ignoring the relevant blogs, but want a source for context and “reality checks.” The vast majority of IT managers look at information in the blog, media and so on, but want someone to turn to for advice. Nobody in these days of lean staffing, has the time to read all the relevant blogs and talk to all the relevant vendors, so they need a resource that can help […]

Announcing a new “Page” – Analyst Tips for AR

There are many interesting blog posts by industry analysts providing tips to the analyst relations (AR) community on how best to interact with the analyst. This is very useful information for AR professionals, both to improve their AR execution, but also to get insights into their analysts.

For awhile, SageCircle has kept a running list of links to these suggestions in a blog post originally published in early February and then updated periodically. The problem is that this particular post is not easy to find unless you knew to look for it. Starting today we have elevated this information into a “Page” called Analyst Tips for AR. A Page is a non-dated post and always shows up in the “Pages” box, which we have at the top of the left navigation bar. A feature of this Page will be a list of updates. This should make it easier for SageCircle readers to keep up with the tips and tricks that the analysts are offering.

In today’s rather large update we have added 14 34 suggestions from three nine analysts. However, because we got a bit behind in updating the list, there are going to be new links added throughout […]

Published research is only the tip of the iceberg

By Carter Lusher, Strategist

One of the worst things that can happen to a vendor sales representative or a vendor executive is being blindsided by a piece of information that they did not know existed – but should have known. It makes them look uniformed and out of the loop, and can negatively impact the interaction they are currently conducting. Unfortunately for AR teams, industry analyst commentary is a prime source of “gotcha” moments for their companies’ sales representatives, CEOs, CFOs, and the PR staff.

It does not have to be that way. AR programs must work to monitor analyst opinions and commentary and provide relevant, near real-time actionable advice to impacted groups. Unfortunately, when it comes to monitoring analyst opinions, too many AR teams only capture published research notes and press quotes. As the graphic illustrates (click to enlarge), these two forms of analyst opinion are only the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of ways (see list below) that analyst opinions get into the marketplace with more being invented on a seemingly regular basis. 

The problems associated proliferating communications platforms are compounded by […]

Analysts who blog versus Bloggers who analyze

icon-social-media-blue.jpgBy Carter Lusher, Strategist

Last week’s Forrester Analyst Relations Council Panel on “Analyst Relations 2.0” was fun and interesting. There was quite a bit of diversity of opinion on the panel with KCG’s Bill Hopkins playing the self-described anti-blog/anti-Web 2.0 curmudgeon and Dana Gardner from Interarbor Solutions way on the other side playing the pro-social media fan. That left plenty of room in the middle for Jonathan Eunice from Illuminata, Forrester Senior Analyst James Kobielus and me to take a balanced approach. The moderator was Forrester VP Laura Ramos, who I count as a blog skeptic when it comes to blogging by analysts and vendors.

There was a fair amount of angst in the audience, with many AR professionals clearly wishing blogs would just go away, while others were open minded. Very few AR pros in attendence had embraced blogs personally or professionally. Many were clearly overwhelmed because of the sheer number and types of bloggers who could touch their companies.

While fun, there some something unsatisfying about the panel. One attendee e-mailed: “What struck me about the panel was it asked more questions than offering answers.” Hmm, good point. I tried to provide very specific advice (see Steps for AR teams for starting with analyst blogs), but I admit there was a lot of philosophical ramblings during the 100+ minutes of the panel. Upon reflection, I think the problem was that the panel was not asked to focus on a specific issue, rather we were given a topic that provoked entertaining discussion, but was too broad and fuzzy for hard recommendations.

Bowl of Spaghetti

Because “AR 2.0” was clearly too broad, the organizer and moderator decided to narrow the discussion to “analyst blogs.” However, ever this re-definition of the panel topic was too broad because it encompassed the entire blogosphere. This led to panel discussion, audience questions and comments that touched on traditional analysts and bloggers without distinguishing between the type of influencer. In addition, the discussion occasionally drifted into whether AR teams and their companies should blog and […]

Steps for AR teams for starting with analyst blogs

icon-social-media-blue.jpg

Welcome members of Forrester’s AR Council. Here are those steps A through F that I rattled off at the beinging of the panel. I also put in links to directories of analysts blogs and Don Bulmer’s blog. If the session ran out before we got to your question or you want more depth, leave your question as a comment and I’ll answer it.

In case you’re wondering what this is post is about, today SageCircle’s Carter Lusher was a member of the “Analyst Relations 2.0” panel at the Forrester Analyst Relations Council (ARC) meeting, which was co-located with Forrester’s IT Forum. The focus of the discussion was on analyst blogs and how AR teams need to think about them. Other members of the panel included analysts  Jonathan Eunice from Illuminata and Dana Gardner from Interarbor Solutions. Besides Carter on the AR services side was KCG’s Bill Hopkins (Tekrati’s Barbara French could not make the meeting so Bill took her place). The whole circus was moderated by Forrester VP Laura Ramos. The panel and audience discussion was quite lively, fun, and raised a number of issues.

 One of the requests by panel organizer Trisha Mirel was that we give the AR managers in attendance a list of practical action items to start incorporating analyst blogs into how they work. Obviously, this is something SageCircle has covered on a number of occasions (see our series of posts on social media). The more important recommendation is that interacting with analysts via their blogs should be part of an overall social media plan incorporated into the strategic AR plan. Getting started is quite simple with a few steps that go from A to F: ask… begin… conduct… develop… educate… forward…

 SageCircle Technique:

  • A = Ask your top analysts about their current or planned blogs, either under personal or firm brands
    A = Ask you customers about where they go for information and advice for product decisions
  • B = Begin to add analyst blogs to your overall AR plan, especially the […]