In April we wrote about whether AR should cater for wider audiences: Step up a geAR or disappeAR!
Two related posts bring further points.
James McGovern wrote that AR should focus on bloggers, and on analysts independence in this post:
Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership: Software Vendors and Analyst Relations...
"Analysts’ claims of impartiality are being eroded in our minds on an almost daily basis. The bigger analyst firms stand accused of engaging only with organisations that buy their services, such as not showing open-source projects next to commercial closed-source offerings in terms of ESB, BPM and Portals thus eroding the perception of even-handedness. Meanwhile, “Analysts-For-Hire” can be commissioned to write collateral on behalf of vendor clients.
In this other comment of his here, one might read a hint of envy?
In the meantime, Duncan Chapple from Lighthouse posted a robust response to Influencers50 on their paper indeed dramatically titled "Analyst influence is diminishing": Is the headline mightier than the humdrum?
We planned to respond but Duncan got there before us. We can't either support Influencers50 research methodology or conclusions. What's more, Influencers50 seem to ignore (deliberately?) the "ripple effect": IT analysts are super-influencers: they are a small target audience (less than a few thousands for a given vendor, from which 50-100 are top tier) who influences other influencers such as media, bloggers, consultants, system integrators, financial analysts, etc... Bearing this in mind, it does seems that maintaining close relationships with top-tier IT analysts might be a good idea. This should probably include other top-tier influencers such as super-bloggers. Second and third tier should be dealt by one:many tactics, maybe such as this one?
Bottom line: tiering the audience is AR best practice. In those diminishinging budgets and need for increased accountability it is a logical choice to concentrate on analysts directly impacting the sales cycle. In addition, firms such as Gartner, IDC and others do in turn influence other key influencers. AR leaders should nevertheless look at ways to scale their programs in a one:many fashion to include other super-influencers, on a case-by case basis.
After harvesting those "low hanging fruits", they should establish a strategy to transform AR into IfR.
UPDATE: a great conversation on IfR or Influencer 2.0 started in the comments threads of this post (see below) and on James'. Our position is that people influence to people. Consulting, advising, blogs, research reports, press articles, speeches, web sites, etc... are different medium with specific attributes. One has to revert to communication studies to frame it ; in the end, only a few things matter:
- trust & reputability
- medium and its characteristics (synchronicity, etc...)
What about bloggers then? Does the read-write web change everything? Can boutiques be heard over Borgs? We're sorry to disagree with Jon, but we don't think he gets the point. It's all about who has to say what. Some bloggers are super-influencers and we also know of dull analysts.
Are there pragmatic guidelines for AR Managers then? Yes, focus on the person, on the research agenda, on the real, original content and first and foremost on one's real influence, to tier your audience, not on the medium. Make sure you end up with a manageable number of Tier 1's which whom you want to have deep and regular conversations, regardless of whether they are bloggers or analysts.
- Step up a geAR or disappeAR!
- Should AR run Influencer Relations? [Analyst Equity]
- ARmadgeddon to AR pros: Get up off your ass [Helzerman]
- Its time for analyst relations to step into the 21st Century... [Monkchips]
- The Changing Influence Game [Deal Architect]
- Analysts determine opinions industry-wide [Analyst Equity]
- The influence of blogs [Infuse by Influencer50]