Barbara on August 29th, 2008

One of the US-based industry analyst firms, Enterprise Strategy Group, just announced it’s expanding into China. Announcements like this raise at least 2 interesting questions:

  • Can ESG — a small specialty tech market research firm — gain enough traction in China to make the investment pay off?
  • What does it mean to analyst relations and influencer marketing programs?

The answers depend on what’s going on under the covers.

If ESG’s intent is to export its influence to China, then I’d be skeptical. Competition on the ground for influence opportunities — and research spending — is already fierce.

On the other hand, there’s an undeniable halo effect of operating in China. Local presence in China could be highly beneficial to ESG here in the US and in Europe. ESG could boost its stature and qualify for new business opportunities among its tech vendor clientele.

What does it mean for analyst relations and influencer marketing? It means looking for shifts in decision-maker ecosystems, as established analyst firms move into China. Monitoring decision-makers in China is crucial work. Sales efforts can go off-track by the unexpected involvement of an analyst through local partners and resellers.

Watch for impacts outside of China as well. Monitor decision-makers elsewhere in the world, to understand whether analysts are leveraging their China operations to open new doors.

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Barbara on August 28th, 2008

Labor Day is a good time to reflect on why you insist on thwarting the best marketers in the nation. You do it every time you tune out those repetitive, interrupt-driven mass marketing ads. And, you’re not alone.

You’re a walking case study of why mass marketing doesn’t work as well as it used to.

Seth Godin explained it really well at TED a few years ago: “In a world where we have too many choices, and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.” This is why interrupt-driven mass marketing doesn’t work, while influencer marketing does.

In this talk, Seth characterizes our time as “a century of idea diffusion.” He asserts that people who can spread ideas — regardless of what those ideas are — win.

Even then, to get influencer marketing to work, you need to be remarkable. Hence, Seth’s famous parable about invisible cows and purple cows. “Remarkable is a really cool word. We think it just means ‘neat.’ But it also means worth making a remark about. And that is the essence of where idea diffusion is going.”

I count this TED talk, “Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other marketing delights,” among the influencer marketing classics. See if you agree.

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Barbara on August 23rd, 2008

I’m one of the tech industry’s most well-known experts on the industry analysts — who they are, what they cover, how they deliver, how they compete. So it makes sense for me to start this blog with a little insight on why I’m joining the broader conversation about influencer marketing, and where I’d like to add to it.

I see that industry analysts play an important part in many technology purchase decisions. Yet, I also see signs of significant change in the way that product and service decisions are being made. These changes affect many influencers, not just industry analysts. So, it makes sense to explore the topic from the viewpoint of all influencers.

Here in the “Sway” blog, I’ll be discussing how vendors can achieve greater impact on customer decisions by transitioning to influencer marketing. That can be as simple as remixing traditional elements of marketing programs. Expect to find a particular emphasis on the implications for analyst relations, press relations, blogger relations, partner relations, and industry relations.

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Barbara on August 5th, 2008

Interesting news for industry analyst and market research companies operating in high tech: exevo, a leading Market Research Outsourcing (MRO) firm, announced has invested USD $1 million in instituting a Global Technology Panel comprising dedicated business and consumer panelists. The research panel totals more than 125,000 members, divided between a Business Panel of more than 75,000 opinion leaders and a Consumer Panel of more than 50,000 members.

The investment highlights exëvo’s commitment to strengthening its strategic research portfolio with a full suite of services to its global clientele comprising leading research and consulting firms across the world.

The members of the panel are spread across the globe and include key economies like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Singapore, UK and USA and aid in providing key insights for exëvo’s research studies. The Business Panel comprises over 75,000 opinion leaders, decision makers and purchase influencers with expertise across Hardware, Software, Network and Telecommunication, Data Centers, Security and Systems. The Consumer Panel consists of over 50,000 members who will provide insights on consumer attitude and purchasing patterns for consumer technology products.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Alok Tayal, CEO, exëvo, said, “Continuous investment and innovation are hallmarks of exëvo’s core philosophy. The Global Technology Panel is a key step forward in our commitment to strengthen the company’s outsourcing research capabilities and to support clients with best-in-class research solutions with far greater speed and accuracy.”

The consumer panelists are essentially segmented by gender, age, ethnicity, income and technology use. This panel consists of over 50 profile dimensions and is continually refreshed with new panelists to ensure that exëvo’s clientele are able to get apt feedback from the segment that they target. Panelists are continuously updated about the purpose and focus of various studies and how they enable research firms and service providers to improve their products and services. They are selected telephonically and are profiled prior to their inclusion to maintain authenticity of the panel. The panelists are well ingrained for rapid turnarounds and quality responses and this will enhance the delivery to exëvo’s clients based around the world.

exëvo is one of the world’s leading Market Research Outsourcing (MRO) companies. exëvo provides comprehensive survey programming, data collection, data processing, data analytics and business research services to Market Research and consulting organizations globally. With significant experience and expertise in market research, exëvo conducts research in 90 countries with capabilities in 17 international languages. exëvo is today one of the leading companies with specialization in IT, Financial, Healthcare, Retail, Telecommunications, and Automobile verticals. It is the only MRO to have the three quality certifications — ISO 20252:2006, ISO 27001: 2005 and ISO 9001:2000.

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