Saving money on contracts with the Forrester / Gartner duopoly is not simple

icon-budget-cuts-105w.jpgA common client inquiry we receive is in the context of someone negotiating with Gartner. Our clients want to know why in the midst of a terrible economic downturn, when vendors are cutting budgets left and right, that Gartner does not exhibit greater flexibility (i.e., cut prices) when it comes to contract negotiations. The short answer is that due to its end-user advisory market dominance – we estimate that Gartner has ~70% of the end user contracts – it does not have to be flexible. 

However, this issue is a little more complex than slapping a “monopolist” tag on folks over on Top Gallant Road. The reality is that there is an effective duopoly with tacit partner Forrester which gives them both the flexibility to be inflexible with it comes to negotiations. The last time this market saw pricing and packaging that in anyway favored the buyer was the mid-90’s when Giga and later META used significantly lower prices and “all you can eat” research seats to take market share from Gartner and Forrester. Alas, today there are no such firms that can play that role to counter Gartner and Forrester. As a consequence, the Big Two’s CEOs habitually inform Wall Street that they are maintaining their pricing and discounting discipline.

However, it is possible to reduce spending – notice we did not say “save money” – with the Forrester / Gartner duopoly without damaging the ability to access analysts for influencing purposes. However, it is not as simple as trying to wrangle a better discount from the sales rep. Rather it takes:

  • Knowledge about the firms’ business models
  • Knowledge about the firms’ research methodology and analyst culture
  • Knowledge about the true business value of […]

As we head into Hype Cycle refresh time, pick up a copy of “Mastering the Hype Cycle”

Gartner typically refreshes most Hype Cycles in June and July every year. From a timing point-of-view that means the analysts are starting to think about what they want to change in the Hype Cycle in April. Then in May and June they move into their serious work on their Hype Cycles in order to get them through Editorial by the end of June. Working backward that means that AR programs need to start now to think about how they want to influence the Hype Cycle. 

A valuable resource for AR programs that want to influence the Hype Cycle is the book Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time (Harvard Business Press, $19.77 + S&H on Amazon) by Hype Cycle creator Jackie Fenn and colleague Mark Raskino. While written for the enterprise client, there are many valuable insights in the book for vendor AR professionals.  Click here for SageCircle’s review of the book.

Related posts:

SageCircle Technique:

  • Add influencing the Hype Cycle to your annual AR Strategic & Tactical Plan
  • Carefully review the list of Hype Cycles to identify relevant targets (while there are 96 Hype Cycles as of July 6, 2008, this task will likely not require a lot of time and effort)
  • Identify which of your company’s leading-edge […]

Know when your analysts are likely on Twitter with Tweetstats

icon-social-media-blue.jpgOne of the great things about social media and Twitter in particular is that they give you permission to interact with analysts outside of the normal channels. This can be a powerful tool for staying top-of-mind because as former Gartner and AMD analyst Jonathan Yarmis tweeted: “vendors who interact with me on twitter get me multiple times/DAY, everyone else multiple times/month or year”. 

While you can tweet an analyst in an asynchronous fashion, it is even more powerful if you exchange tweets in real time. A great tool to understanding a person’s pattern for when they usually tweet is Tweetstats.

Tweetstats is a free tool that is simple to use because all you have to do is enter someone’s Twitter handle and hit [enter]. After a couple of minutes it returns a number of graphs that analyze the person’s twittering by date and time. Within this context it is the Tweet Density that you should look at because it shows when the person tweets by hour and day of week. Here are two examples:

Example A:
 Tweetstats - Tweet Density - example A

Example B: […]

AR belongs in Marketing – a dead idea

Analyst Relations PlanningPublic policy wonk and Fortune Magazine columnist Matt Miller’s new book The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity got us at SageCircle thinking “Hmm, are there dead ideas holding back analyst relations?” Of course there are! This is one in an occasional series of posts that will address the dead ideas that impact AR programs and their ability to delivery strategic value to their companies. These posts are meant to be provocative and not necessarily definitive in their new ideas and suggestions.

Dead Idea: AR belongs in Marketing

Back Story: In the time before there was a dedicated AR position, industry analysts calling vendors asking for a briefing were often bounced around from one department to another. More often than not, the analyst would end up on the public relations doorstep because what the analyst did sort of sounded like a reporter. Because PR usually reported to Marketing, AR became a de facto marketing function even if it became an independent department.

Problem: Putting AR in Marketing has multiple problems, but a big one is consistency. One of AR’s critical success factors is consistently interacting with analysts because influencing the analysts is a process that takes a long time. AR cannot turn on and turn off interactions and be successful. Unfortunately, Marketing programs in most vendors are the model of inconsistency with resources being changed frequently.  If resources and programs are cut during recessions and restored during good times the damage for AR has been done in terms of:

  • Institutional memory is lost as AR staff gets cut or moves to other companies 
  • Relationships with analysts go stale due to lack of interactions or the inability to work with the same people
  • Sales and revenues are impacted by analysts with outdated or incomplete information providing inappropriate advice to customers and prospects
  • Intelligence dries up about analyst opinions and intentions because analyst contracts get cut reducing inquiry access to analysts

New Idea: Move AR out of Marketing and into Strategy. While there are several different options for a new home for AR (e.g., sales, product management and investor relations) each have their own issues. Strategy on the other hand has a number of advantages […]

Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check – what we are reading

Guy Kawasaki "Reality Check"Guy Kawasaki is a legend in the technology industry, a status earned by being one of the original Macintosh evangelists, an entrepreneur, early adopter of emerging technologies, venture capitalist, thought leader, speaker, blogger, marketing maven, and probably a dozen other things I’m leaving out. Whew.  On top of all that, Guy is also the author of books like “The Art of the Start” and “Rules for Revolutionaries.” Guy has just published a new book that has made it onto SageCircle’s reading list and might be surprisingly useful for analyst relations (AR) professionals as well.

Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition ($18.65 plus S&H, click here to purchase on Amazon) is primarily for technology entrepreneurs. There are sections on topics like starting a small business, raising money, and hiring and firing that are not all that relevant to AR professionals. So what is it about this large book, 474 pages in 94 chapters plus other sundry sections, written for tech startups that should interest AR managers? It’s relevant to AR in those dozens of very short chapters on –

     Selling. Evangelizing. Communicating. Beguiling.

When you think about it, all of these are very important activities for AR even if we don’t think of ourselves as evangelists or sales representatives. As a consequence, Guy’s Reality Check offers some really practical ideas and thought provoking advice on ways AR professionals can think differently about their jobs and develop skill sets unlike their peers. These new skills can provide both career advantages for AR professionals as well as competitive advantages for their […]

AR-Sales partnering – comments from AR managers at the Coffee Talk

icon-dollar-euro.jpgThere was a great turn out at the two February Coffee Talks on the topic of AR and Sales partnering to drive revenues. The best part of the Coffee Talks is when AR managers share their experiences and ask questions. Here are some of the comments from the past two Coffee Talks. 

Comment: Dana Stiffler (AMR analyst, Twitter handle) tracks the value of the deals she is influencing…

SageCircle: Not many analysts are savvy enough to formally track that kind of information like Dana. However, most analysts can give you a top-of-mind feel for the number of deals they are advising technology buyers on in a typical week or month and a rough average of size per deal. Not scientific, but this info can provide useful anecdotal points for AR teams to use with their executive sponsors.

Comment: I had a panel at a sales kickoff where sales folks told their success stories of working with analysts and AR… it was the best way to instantly gain credibility.

SageCircle: Sales reps want to know what techniques work so this type of “customer panel” is incredibility effective. To make it even more effective, AR can follow with tips-and-tricks and lessons learned from these sales reps to be posted on the internal sales portal/blog, included in regular sales newsletters, and during regular sales team conference calls. Repetition is a critical success factor to making sure that the training about the analyst impact on sales deals sticks.

Comment: Most good sales people understand the value of relationships and once you’ve helped them, they “pay you back” by keeping you informed… when they remember.  Best thing is to keep a tickler file and check back with them regularly for a status.

SageCircle: One of the common questions we get when talking about AR-Sales Partnerships is whether the sale reps will give anything back or share credit with AR. The answer is absolutely because smart sales reps will want […]