“Prime the Feedback Loop” VP of Marketing’s excellent advice about Gartner

rocket-for-startups.jpgThis advice is just as useful for large vendors as startups

In Gartner for startups Michael Waclawiczek, VP of Marketing at expressor software, has joined the conversation started by Talend’s Yves de Montcheuil and Gartner’s Andy Bitterer (see Vendor complains in a very public blog post about Gartner’s Data Integration Magic Quadrant)  about startups ability to be included on Magic Quadrants.

Dr. Waclawiczek’s observations and advice are dead on and well worth reading. While directed at startups, his main points are applicable to large vendors as well. A quick summary:

  • For any vendor selling to high-end/large customers, dealing with Gartner is a given. Even if you decide to ignore them, your customers won’t.
  • At some point, you have to realize that the MQ is designed to meet the needs of Gartner customers – big companies looking for information, insights and backside-cover for big-ticket IT purchases.
  • My advice to fellow startups? Give up hope of making a real impact in “your” MQ, for now at least. But don’t give up entirely.
  • Work the Gartner system the best you can. Pull every lever you can reach.
  • Set your sights on […]

Killer questions to ask PR agencies to see if they are AR pretenders or contenders

icon-the-press-110w.jpgThere are many drawbacks to using PR agencies to conduct analyst relations – not the least that most analysts hate dealing with agency staff.  Sometimes, however, communications and IT vendors have no choice but to farm out some analyst-related activities. To minimize the chance of agency staff causing problems with the analysts, vendors need to carefully evaluate whether or not a PR agency is actually competent in analyst relations before hiring them.

A technique SageCircle has developed is asking a series of questions in the form of scenarios about AR situations. The responses to the scenarios can then be graded for compliance with AR best practices and insights as to how the analysts work. As always, it is important to weight the questions because some will be more important than others. In addition, it is critical that a standard evaluation framework be established so that responses from different agencies will be graded consistently.

The killer questions should not just be asked of the agency’s senior executive that is trying to win the business, but also the staff that will actually be doing the work.  Reluctance by the agency to introduce you to the staff should raise red flags about the breadth and depth of AR expertise in the firm.

The first killer question to ask the PR agency rainmaker and staff is […]

The initial analyst briefing for a startup (Startup Saturday)

rocket-for-startups.jpgAs part of our Startup Saturday series we have suggested that AR should be a significant investment for emerging companies and how analysts can play a role in building market awareness.  We offered techniques for introducing yourself to an analyst – so let’s be practical about the presentation you use for your first briefing.

The most important thing about the first briefing is to keep it short and focused.  Carefully evaluate your three key messages and leave EVERYTHING else out of the presentation.  If you bore the analyst with 40 slides with 93 builds of technology (aka death by PowerPoint) you will never get a second briefing.

Your goal for this first briefing should be to […]

Why AR is more important than PR for a Startup [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgResearch by SageCircle, H&K (in multiple Technology Influencer Studies conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates), Lighthouse AR and other AR advisory groups has consistently shown that the most significant influence on purchases is peer recommendation and personal contacts.  Second is industry analyst opinion, which leads all other influence including advertising and PR.  For a startup attempting to break into an existing market or carve out a new market space this is critical information.

For a startup, traditional PR is certainly important and should not be ignored, but allocation of resources to AR can provide a higher ROI.  Press is very transient and even an outstanding article or mention does not have staying power over the long run if it gets buried in the clutter of a Google search.  Analyst reports have a much longer shelf life and may be referred to months after they are published as a relevant research note is more likely to surface during a research search on the analyst firm website.  Good research consumers will then contact the analyst firm for an update or discuss the report during an inquiry.

Industry analysts also convey information at industry events, act as sources for reporters, and can even have influence on Wall Street.  It is therefore critical that they are […]

Introducing yourself to an analyst for the first time [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgStartups are often in the position of introducing themselves to industry analysts as they start or expand their AR outreach. In addition to the initial outreach, startups find themselves introducing themselves to new analysts because the analyst landscape is very dynamic.  Analysts change firms, but more importantly change coverages and areas of research.  This means that your analyst lists need to be updated regularly and there is a significant chance you will need to interact with new analysts at some point.  Startups lack the name recognition that larger communications and IT vendors can leverage, but the process of meeting new analysts applies to all vendors.

How you handle meeting new analysts is somewhat dependent on the level of experience of the analyst as well as your product or services maturity.  Novice analysts are far more likely to […]