nick_hayesPlease join us for what promises to be a lively discussion about what’s wrong with marketing and how an influencer program can fix it. On May 20th, we are hosting a reception and presentation on influencer marketing at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

Check out the details below. We’ve reserved complimentary tickets so email me (barbara.french@influencer50.com) or any of us, to get onto the guest list.

“Marketing Is Broken, but Influencers Can Fix It”

Purchasing decisions made within organizations have changed over the past decade, but marketing hasn’t. Today, networks or “ecosystems” of influencers shape enterprise purchase decisions. Hayes draws from work with clients such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Orange Business Services to show how to identify the diverse individuals who influence decision-makers in a market, how they influence, and how to engage them.

Date: May 20, 2009
Reception: 5:30 PM
Presentation, Q&A: 6:00PM
Where: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 (directions & parking)
 Phone: +1 (415) 597-6700

Popularity: 2%

Barbara on April 27th, 2009

May marks the 1-year anniversary of the release of Charlene Li’s and Josh Bernoff’s book, Groundswell.  Several industry analysts have released books since then. I figure it’s a good time to shout out to some recent analyst authors and talk a little about why writing books can be such an important activity for market influencers and influencer relations professionals alike.

For IT industry analysts and other types of influencers, writing a book serves several purposes. Books can help create broad industry acceptance of ideas. They also elevate the status of the author as a bona fide expert, and serve as a powerful marketing tool. As a result, influencer relations programs take “author status” into account when profiling opinion-leaders. Publishing a book adds weight to the influencer’s market reach and authority.

 

cbaroudiCarol Baroudi, Jeffrey Hill, Arnold Reinhold, Jhana Senxian: “Green IT For Dummies” explores how businesses can save money and energy and reduce environmental waste by becoming a leader in green technology.  Carol has other “Dummies” titles to her credit, including SOA for Dummies which she co-wrote with Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor & associates.

 

jblossomJohn Blossom: Developed through a collaborative expert wiki, “Content Nation: Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future” describes how social media changes the way businesses market products & services, influences how people interact with the government, and dictates how we communicate with one another on a personal level.

 

 

gschulzGreg Schulz: “The Green and Virtual Data Center” covers technologies and techniques for data centers trying to maximize resources such as power, cooling, floor space, storage, server performance, and network capacity. It shows how to make server and storage virtualization energy efficient and still be able to support a diversity of high-performance applications without degrading application quality of service or service level commitments. 

 

 

csharmaChetan Sharma: “Wireless Broadband: Conflict and Convergence” (IEEE Series on Digital & Mobile Communication) explains the business, regulatory, and technology issues of the future market for wireless services. It covers broadband and the information society; drivers of broadband consumption; global wireless market analysis; broadband IP core networks; convergence; and contention and conflict. 

 

 

jfenn1Jackie Fenn, Mark Raskino: Companies rush to adopt the innovation, often with a heavy investment—and then, when the promised bounty doesn’t appear as quickly as anticipated, there’s an equivalent rush to bail out. ”Mastering the Hype Cycle” lays out a disciplined, benefits-led approach to innovation adoption, drawing on company examples and Gartner’s STREET framework (Scope, Track, Rank, Evaluate, Evangelize, Transfer).

 

 

Did I miss one?  Feel free to post additions & comment on these titles. All valid influencers and all types of influencers are welcome.

Popularity: 2%

earth_day_graphics_13Someday, every ICT industry influencer on the planet will include aspects of green or ‘environmentally responsible’ within their area of tech expertise.  And someday, every influencer relations program will embrace these ideas.  Someday.

Today, it seems appropriate to mark Earth Day with a shout out to some of the pioneers. Here’s a small sampling of some notable industry and competitive analysts doing their level best to influence decisions about Green IT.

John Gartner, a contributing analyst at the newly formed Pike Research: “As the grid continues to age, power gets more expensive, and the headroom above peak loading get smaller, so utilities will need consumers’ active participation — or at least permission to automate power reductions — more often. Having consumers willingly participate in demand response programs and shifting consumption to off peak hours is much cheaper (and publicly acceptable) than building more power plants.”

David Tebbutt at Freeform Dynamics: “I’m not a tree hugger or a do gooder but it seems to me that we need more than lip service paid to the idea of sustainability.”

Tom Raftery at Greenmonk: gives talks on “Electricity 2.0 - applying the lessons of the Internet to our Energy networks.” He’s posted a slideshare of his latest O’Reilly Emerging Tech talk.

One of the most impressive hires in the analyst community: Stephen Stokes, at AMR Research. Enough said.

Competitive analysis firm Current Analysis: Jason Marchek takes coverage to the next level with a Eco-Sustainability Tracker Advisory Report series, launched just in time for Earth Day. The Advisory Reports are intended to build a timeline that tracks significant green marketing programs/initiatives. In doing so, this will establish some context through which ongoing environmental sustainability initiatives can be more consistently evaluated.

Greentechmedia: offers webcasts and sponsored reports on strategies for success in growing cleantech business.

Please post your own additions & comment on these folks.  All valid influencers and all types of influencers are welcome.

Popularity: 68%

Barbara on April 21st, 2009

ncf2009-wp-header2NewComm Forum 2009 is just around the corner. I agree with Tom Foremski that this is not only the largest gathering of social media experts in the US, it is also a favorite of most of us who have attended over the years.

I recommend it to anyone serious about meeting, hearing, influencing or simply hanging out with the A-listers and the in-the-trenches practitioners setting the most important precedents in social media today. In short, if this is your market or these are your target influencers, you should not miss this event.

Now celebrating its fifth year, New Communications Forum will once again bring together thought leaders and decision makers to discuss the impact of social media and emerging communication tools, technologies, and models on PR and corporate communications, marketing and advertising, media and journalism, business, culture and society.

It takes place April 27th to 29th, at the San Francisco Marriott. It’s produced by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR, pronounced ’snicker’). This time out, it’s co-located with the Inbound Marketing Conference.

Influencer50 is pleased to extend you savings on registration. Use discount code SNCRFRIEND to save $100.

I attend every other year, and this is an off year for me. If you are in town for NewComm Forum and want to get together, ping me here or at Twitter (@bfr3nch) or by email. Our office is over in the Financial District.

Popularity: 1%

Influencers often have a say in the purchase critieria used by decision-makers. Often their influence is direct, such as inputing to a request for bid. Indirect influence is an important factor as well. While the most widely known (or perhaps infamous) example in the tech market is Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, most indirect influences are far from obvious. Influencer relations programs search out and track these influencers, for action or simple monitoring.

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Here’s the kind of thing you want to find: This week, Jon Peddie (JPA) proposes a change in the benchmark criteria for graphics-enabled motherboards. Jon makes the case that today’s consumer wants the most performance per dollar, with the lowest wattage. He’s put the 3 factors together into a simple-looking equation and calls it the PDW mark (performance-dollar-watts).

Will it be adopted overnight? Hard to say.

It’s this sort of low-flying advice that can ripple out across entire markets over time. If you run an influencer relations program, keep track of the shift in thinking as well as the drivers behind the shift. This is vital information for your sales and management teams.

Popularity: 8%

Barbara on April 20th, 2009

burton-logo1The influencer ecosystem for enterprise cloud computing shifted here in the US today with Burton Group formally entering the tech research and advisory fray. The launch moves them directly into the line of influence with all of their clients, because they already cover the primary tech and service areas that make up cloud computing and because they are offering all active clients immediate access to the cloud service for a limited time.

When Burton Group talks about clients, it’s talking about tech decision-makers at Fortune 500 / Global 1000 companies with annual revenues of $12bn and up.

In truth, Burton Group has been influencing enterprise cloud computing decisions under the public radar for some time now. Drue Reeves, who heads cloud computing research, explained, “Cloud computing touches on everything we cover, from security and privacy to SLAs and compliance to data centers and storage.” Clients are ready to talk about where cloud computing makes sense and where it doesn’t in their particular circumstance.

He said that clients have been probing into cloud computing within the individual Burton service areas to such an extent that it was a natural choice to add cloud to their all-in-one IT1 service.

IT1 is a popular alternative to traditional service- and seat-based pricing. According to Gary Hein, service director for cloud computing, IT1 accounts for as much as half of Burton Group revenues. IT1 provides enterprise-wide all-you-eat access to all Burton research along with perks such as analyst face time and designated research assistants. IT1 subscribers have exclusive access to enterprise architecture (EA) and ITIL, and now cloud computing.

Cloud computing will be a primary focus at Burton Group Catalyst Conference 2009, from keynotes and dedicated sessions to content woven into tech-specific tracks. In addition, the service is publishing a half dozen reports including new titles on cloud computing and recent titles covering key strategy and decision areas. You can also catch an introductory teleconference on May 20th.

Here’s more of my Q&A with Drue and Gary, followed by the list of analysts adding cloud to their coverage.

Q: What’s the average price for an IT1 subscription?
A: It’s negotiated individually with each enterprise.

Q: Are you increasing the pricing of IT1 now that you’ve added cloud computing?
A: No. This year there are no price increases. Usually, you would expect small increases, not this year. This makes sense when you consider IT1 is driving up our usage rates and contract value.

Q: Where have you cut back on coverage to accommodate this expansion?
A: We have not made cuts in coverage.

Q: Do you expect cloud computing to catch on for the long-term? or is this another tech fad?
A: We do expect it to catch on. It’s not dissipating in any way. We think it will catch on because the issues it addresses (cost and complexity of IT, need for greater agility, etc.) will not go away.

Q: Why are IT professionals becoming so comfortable so quickly with cloud computing?
A: They are already familiar with cloud concepts. And, they have some wins in these areas. That gives them confidence.

Q: What’s the short answer to the difference between IT outsourcing, hosting and cloud computing?
A: The 3 are distinct but the boundaries between them are blurry. Putting it very simply: cloud uses an on-demand business model; outsourcing entails contracting specific resources; hosting entails contracting specific physical resources.

Some people are presenting cloud as all internal or all external. There are lots of different patterns for this, including some use of internal clouds or “private” clouds. It’s also more a case of a steady migration. You might move from internal virtualization to hosted solutions to cloud. Our customers are evolving in hybrid models — such as introducing SaaS then adding EC2 for compute infrastructure.

Q: Are your clients concerned about their staffs or jobs being replaced by the cloud?
A: There’s a little sensitivity. On the whole, though, cloud computing should free up resources from mundane tasks — such as patch management — so they can focus on the more strategic projects. Also, there may be a shift, with jobs moving to cloud providers.

Q: Are you going to cover green clouds?
A: We already do, through the data center strategies services. That rolls up to the cloud coverage. And, we don’t say green. We say energy efficiency.

Cloud computing - Burton influencers

The core analyst team is adding cloud coverage to their ongoing coverage areas:
Drue Reeves: Research Director, virtualization, compute, storage
Bob Blakely: Identity, security
Anne Thomas Manes: Platform, development
Dave Passmore: Networking, service providers
Guy Creese: Collaboration, content
Dan Blum: Security, risk management
Chris Haddad: Platform, development
Marcus Collins: Database, data management
Chris Howard: CxO messaging, business drivers
Gary Hein: Service Director

Popularity: 3%

Barbara on April 16th, 2009

FTCBloggers who are compensated for endorsing products and services could be held liable for any false statements they make, if newly proposed FTC guidelines are adopted. I’m pleased to see some movement beyond voluntary blogger transparency.

I’m a fan of voluntary transparency. It puts peer pressure on bloggers to tell you about sponsorships and other compensation. It has uncovered several unethical promotional campaigns. However, I see shortcomings as well. Voluntary transparency does not hold bloggers’ feet to the fire with regards to the honesty of their statements.

Consumers and brands suffering unfairly due to false statements have little recourse. This situation favors the powerful and wealthy — who can afford to pay for endorsements and posts — and undermines the value of word of mouth (WOM) influence.

Excerpting from coverage at AdAge:

As part of its review of its advertising guidelines, the FTC is proposing that word-of-mouth marketers and bloggers, as well as people on social-media sites such as Facebook, be held liable for any false statements they make about a product they’re promoting, along with the product’s marketer. This could present a significant issue for marketers, including the likes of Microsoft, Ford and Pepsi, who spend billions on word-of-mouth and social media. PQ Media projects that marketers will spend $3.7 billion on word-of-mouth marketing in 2011.

The current FTC guideline on endorsements and testimonials in advertising was issued in 1980.

Hat tip to Andy Beal, Markeing Pilgrim, for raising the topic.

Popularity: 1%

Barbara on April 8th, 2009

Juniper Networks is updating its consultant relations strategy to better reflect the role these influencers play in customer decision-making. The new consultants program, under the umbrella of its channel partners program, is aimed “at partners who influence a customer’s buying decisions but don’t actually take part in the sale.”

This is an interesting approach to formalizing and updating consultant relations as part of a sales influencer program. For example, Juniper is looking to the consultants to provide neutral business or industry expertise as part of each customer’s decision-maker ecosystem. They bring in the consultant, or the prospect brings in the consultant. Either way, Juniper formally recognizes and supports the consultant during the sales process. This includes a stated emphasis on protecting the objectivity and independent advice of the consultant.

In a recent article in Business24-7.ae, Samer Shaar, a regional managing director for Juniper Networks explained:

“Independent players like Kallis, General Dynamics, Deloitte and Touche do not specialise in IT solution, but focus on the business concept. The system integrator and alliances come after that. Such an approach provides a business ecosystem that is functional and the neutrality of the consultant is also not lost… This is a trend and will become the next wave although it has not yet gone completely mainstream.”

It’s still fairly rare to see a corporate partners program embrace consultants in this way. Normally, the field organization ends up with the responsibilities — from ferreting out consultants in their accounts to putting together information packets and building relations without any special support from corporate.

It looks like a good approach.

Popularity: 2%

Barbara on April 5th, 2009

iabcworldconference2009Don’t miss Nick’s session at the upcoming IABC 2009 World Conference. This year, the IABC expects to host 1,600 communication practitioners from 40 countries for this event. Four days of learning, camaraderie and inspiration right here in San Francisco.

Details on Nick’s session:

T3 / Influencer marketing and the rise of decision maker ecosystems

Date: Tuesday, 9 June
Time: 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Track: Strategy & Counsel

The way large-scale business purchases are made has changed. Company structure, corporate governance, the Internet and numerous other factors have led to the rise of decision-maker ecosystems‚ networks of individuals whose opinions shape the eventual purchase decision. These ecosystems play a major role in the success of every sales force, thus marketers need to consider communication strategies that include them.

What you’ll learn:

  • How and why purchase decision making has changed
  • Types of influencers who make up most decision-maker ecosystems
  • How different influencers impact decision-makers

Register by 1 May to receive the lowest conference rate. Plus, you can discuss the event at the special IABC blog InSession and follow on Twitter using hash tag #IABC09.

Popularity: 4%

Barbara on April 2nd, 2009

Jonny Bentwood was in touch with an invitation for you. He’d like your help in determining the IIAR’s “analyst of the year”. Technically, you’ll help determine more than one analyst of the year. They’ll name one worldwide, one for the Americas and another for EMEA. I suppose with enough votes Asia-Pacific could have an analyst of the year as well. The challenge for Asia-Pacific is not the number or quality of analysts, but in the number of analyst relations practitioners at agencies and tech companies.

There’s info about the survey and last year’s results at the IIAR blog. They’re running the survey itself on SurveyMonkey.

The IIAR, aka Institute of Industry Analyst Relations, is a paid membership association of industry analyst relations professionals and their service providers. It’s based in the UK and has a sister organization in Germany.

Popularity: 2%