Monday, 30 July 2007

A night with Efrem will cost you an arm and a leg

If Barbara French ever needs a new job, I would be first in line to recommend her as a book reviewer. With a biting wit she has launched into Efram Mallach's new book.

Barbara's chief concern has nothing to do with the content - she has his last book and doesn't doubt that this version will be even better than the original. Her problem, and mine as well, has to do with the price tag.

What price are you prepared to pay for a good bit of insight?

I've got a few McKinzie books ($20) and a few AR books ($15) on my desk. Good value I thought. But what incredible stretch of logic made Efrem's publishers think that $500 showed value for money.


Unless this book comes with its own diamond I am at a loss to figure out how it can be worth so much money.

Barbara though does bring some keen insight and has mooted a few reasons why it has been priced like this:

First, the $500 list price is a typo that has been promulgated across the online bookseller sites. Lighthouse AR should sue the Internet and refund any easy marks who actually paid $500 for this book.

Second, the $500 price includes a teleconference or other interactive learning experience with Dr. Mallach. Lighthouse AR should clone Dr. Mallach or at least outsource to a really good impersonator.

Third, the $500 price includes a private sunset cruise around the Boston Harbor with Efrem and a couple of the Celtics. The Summer League games are over, so this is a pleasant possibility. Lighthouse AR should not try to rock the boat.

Thanks Barbara - your blog was a great read.

Now if only I can save $500, maybe I will buy the book - or there again perhaps I will put the money to a summer holiday. What do you think is a better use of money?

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Who's sloppy? AR or analysts?

Having saddled his warhorse and belted on his sharpest words, James went on to replying to our post on whether AR managers should fill in briefing forms. Incidentally, he dropped hints on what information analysts expect from a briefing in his reply:

Thanks for the reminder James, it's always useful.

It is indeed the AR professional's role to make sure the content is tailored to analyst needs and to help shaping it. Some, typically those working for smaller ones, put the content together and brief the analysts themselves. Those employed by larger corporations often don't have the time to do this or cover too many product lines / business areas to do this. In any cases a good briefing is tailored to the analyst's research agenda.

We can't agree more with James that this should result in a two way street. As a side note, it tends to be more to the credit of independent / boutique analysts such as Redmonk, MWD, Freeform and others to always bring great insight into the conversations.

On the other side, what we can't stand is sloppy analysts who don't even bother checking our corporate websites and send you long and redundant questionnaires to fill in. To those, we'll re-iterate that AR Managers are not your personal secretary. Nor do we expect to do the work and still have to buy the end product! Admittedly they're not real analysts, rather market research companies and we're sure that Redmonk would never do this! Dom and Duncan's abounded in the same direction -read their comments on the original post from David. Names? Frost & Sullivan, ARC, PAC, Butler... Any other nominations for the briefing questionnaires hall of shame?
The final word must go to Ian Skerrett for his comment on James' post. The idea of an email address for briefing requests is so 1990's though. What Redmonk should consider is a briefing requests blog :-)

Friday, 13 July 2007

The big fish that ate the fish that ate the fish that...

Not bad for a Friday: according to Reuters, Informa succeeded in taking control of the Datamonibores (themselves having recently acquired Ovum and a little less recently Butler):

Informa wins control of Datamonitor [Yahoo! Finance]

There's been quite a few conversations in the AR world:

Jonny summarised everything here:

Other relevant posts for the sake of completeness:

Check also this old post on Aberdeen, there would be a lot to be said on the similarities:

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Should AR managers fill in briefing forms?

David rants about analysts sending long briefing requests forms here:

Those requests fall in two categories:

1. Some firms like the Borg ask you to do their admin and fill in a form. AR managers need to push back on the principle they're not Gartner's secretaries. Also, the whole Gartner briefing process is painful enough already...

2. Other firms submit a questionaire as a first pass at information gathering. Butler sends so up to 30 pages, Datamonitor, Frost & Sullivan, ARC also do it. AR Managers should push them back to their corporation's web site and let the analyst do their homework. After all, researching is their job, not yours.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Captors and hostages?

There's a great discussion here about whether ARmadgeddon is pro-Gartner. Which is quite surprising given some of our comments on the Gene's strategy to deliberately extract more money from IT vendors for less value (read this or that). For instance, we specifically warned vendors and AR mangers against some potential perverse aspects of the role-based research which seeems to us just a repackaging.

However, it is nevertheless true than most AR managers put Borg analysts in their Tier I list -sometimes more because of their appartenance to the Firm than their true value. Tier II and III analysts (and bloggers) such as Vinnie or James argue that they deliver more value and should receive their fair share of attention.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Should research be priced according to freshness?

Anyone having wandered in a supermarket will have noticed a suspect crowd frantically scarmonging for a bargain in their "almost passed the sell by date" corner.

This allows supermarkets to clear out inventory before it starts smelling really bad.

The value of research also diminishes with its freshness, so why not price it the same way?

Gartner seem to already function this way:

Old and irrelevant predictions cost $95,

New and irrelevant ones are priced $195.

Hype is dearer though, at $495!