Monday, 24 April 2006

Giving customer goggles to Borg analysts?

David reports a comment from Richard Stiennon on Bitter Andy's blog here:

Analyst Insight: Using customers to win credibility with Gartner?

It assumes that, since Gartner analysts speak to few clients each week, AR professionals have a good chance to influence them by getting clients to call them.

ARmadgeddon's take: this indirect approach is interesting but IT vendors should be careful and not risk the assumption that (all) Gartner analysts would be daft enough not to smell something fishy going on. Covert AR operations often back-fire and vendors should be advising to call specific analysts only if they add value both to the end user with clear and insightful recommendations (only minority of analysts achieve this, even at Gartner).
AR managers should concentrate on providing relevant and unfettered customer references -this being one of the top analyst requests.

3 comments:

bitblue said...

If the assumption was true that Gartner analysts really speak to few clients each week, then the danger is even greater that a pattern would become obvious.

The number of client calls for (pretty much) every IT analyst certainly varies, but few wouldn't be my description.

BTW, I had it occur to me once a few years ago, when I had 5 or 6 companies inquire in rapid succession about a vendor that I had never heard of before. During the call, it became quickly obvious that this was some kind of guerilla advertising. I'd consider this "worst practice" and can only advise against it.

bitblue said...

Almost forgot...

AR managers should concentrate on providing relevant and unfettered customer references -this being one of the top analyst requests.

That's it. Thank you.

Richard Stiennon said...

Here is the question though. How many clients actually call about a purchase decision. When I have talked to frustrated vendors who are not even on an analyst's radar I tell them to find out if any of their customers are also clients of that analyst firm. Often they have dozens of shared clients. Since the analyst is too busy to do outreach, I think it is a great strategy to have customers call directly.

A recent frustration I experienced at my brief stint at a vendor: the analyst firm was actively reccommending that clients *not* buy our product; to wait for the entrenched vendors to catch up. In the mean time the large analyst firm in question purchased the product for their own use! For some reason that was not a good reference customer. :-)

Richard Stiennon
Chief Research Analyst
IT-Harvest