SageCircle’s “Analyst Hierarchy of Needs” – Part one

SageCircle’s Analyst Hierarchy of NeedsWhy is it that some analysts are content with receiving a newsletter while other analysts always demand access to the vendor’s CEO? In this post we introduce a model that defines a hierarchy of analyst needs.  Application of the Hierarchy can help AR programs prioritize initiatives and focus communication and interaction strategies based on a new understanding of analyst motivations. In addition, the Hierarchy provides an essential component for manager and executive AR training as it explains the need for specific AR strategies and activities.

SageCircle developed the “SageCircle Hierarchy of Analyst Needs” after conducting literally thousands of industry analyst interactions, both surveys and interviews, while doing measurement engagements like the AR effectiveness study, spoken word audits and analyst conference surveys. Through pattern analysis, it became apparent that the analysts had common professional needs and expectations. By drawing parallels between Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and this similar observation about the analysts, we can better understand analyst behavior and AR programs can develop more effective strategies for managing and maintaining relationships.

Levels of the Hierarchy

The levels of the analyst needs pyramid (click on figure to enlarge) are, from lowest to highest,  […]

Why reporters call the wrong analysts

icon-the-press-110w.jpgHow many times have you seen an analyst quote in the press and wondered “well why did the reporter contact that analyst” or “if that reporter had contacted someone familiar with us we would have been more favorably mentioned”?

Reporters use a variety of sources to gain content for their articles and frequently quote analysts to add credibility to their data, observations, or opinions. Sometimes it seems that some publications have a policy that each article contain at least one industry analyst quote. In some cases the analyst is named, while at other times the reference might be “a leading analyst from <firm name>” or “according to <firm name> analysts.

Unlike quotes in your press releases you have little control over these analyst quotes.  Or do you?  If you are working closely with […]

Potential analyst inquiry topics for IT and communications vendors

icon-phone-headset.jpgSageCircle constantly recommends that communications and IT vendors take advantage of their inquiry privileges with analysts and actively work this activity into their interactions plan.  In last Saturday’s post (click here) we encouraged startups to use inquiry and suggested some techniques that are valid for all vendors.

Inquiries are a great way to stay “top of mind” with your key analysts between major events or announcements.  In addition, you can use inquiry to enhance the analyst relationship as long as you avoid idle chit-chat and ask questions of substance. 

Some potential topics that might be appropriate for a vendor inquiry with an analyst might include  […]

Doing unto analysts what they do unto vendors

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn an example of how social media can turn the tables in the analyst ecosystem, Sam Lawrence (bio, Jive blog, Twitter), the esteemed Chief Marketing Officer for Jive Software (enterprise collaboration software), in his personal blog Go Big Always gives Forrester a B and Gartner a C- in Gartner and Forrester’s Report Card (so far). Sam evaluated the firms’ coverage of his market, client service and amount of attention paid by analysts. Well worth the read.

What makes Sam’s post so interesting is that he is in essence commenting about the analysts in a manner similar to what analysts do with vendors, especially in those brief news flashes analysts put out. It is important to note that […]

You could end up buried deep in the “Niche” by insisting on being added to a MQ before you are ready

Niche = “Losers” on the Magic QuadrantGartner’s Magic Quadrant is probably the iconic piece of analyst research. With its visibility and status, it also has enormous influence on vendor sales opportunities, especially when it comes time for IT buyers to draw up the all-important vendor short lists.

Because of this influence on short lists, communications and IT vendor executives sometimes obsess over the “MQ” for their markets and put great pressure on their AR teams to get placement on MQs they are not on. This can actually be a counterproductive move because vendors who really should not be on a MQ will get stuck in the lower left hand corner (click on graphic to enlarge). Even thought this part of the MQ is labeled “Niche,” too many IT buyers translate that label into “Loser.” Getting perceived as a “Loser” can put a vendor’s sales at a disadvantage in trying to get into an opportunity because it is so much more difficult to explain away why you are not a “Loser.” than explaining why your company was not included on a version of a MQ.

Some Gartner analysts publicly admit that this mental relabeling occurs and try to mitigate […]

Startups, when was the last time you did an inquiry? [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgStartups agonize about buying analyst services – influenced by the myth that analysts are pay-to-play – but then underutilize what they bought. As we always say, it is what you do with the contract that gets you the benefit, not the act of writing a check.

One of the biggest crimes is not using that retainer-based analyst service (e.g., Gartner Core Research or Forrester WholeView) that you spent the big bucks to […]

Not responding to analysts can lead to major issues

SageCircle believes strongly in ranking and tiering your analyst list and applying your resources in a reasonable and carefully thought out process.  By determining the relative importance and impact of each analyst you can decide how much of your available resource to allocate.  This allows you to give sufficient resource to the real influencers rather than spreading your energy so thin as to have no impact.

That said, it is important to determine a policy for dealing with tier three analysts other than ignoring them.  Recently an article was published about Motorola where an analyst was quoted as basically saying that they were losing talent and the entire AR had left (see article).

Investigation by SageCircle strategists determined that […]

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

icon-the-press-110w.jpgThis oft-attributed quote to Mark Twain might sum up how the Motorola AR teams feels about a quote by an analyst in Motorola CMO out: Tried to save Razr, got cut saying that the entire AR team has left Motorola. “Wow!” I thought, “That is absolutely amazing!” Just to double check, I dropped the Motorola AR folks an e-mail. The response was quick and no, the AR team was still there. I’m sure the analyst is now thinking “Oops!” More importantly, I hope the reporter is a little red faced as well.   […]