DestinationCRM cites me along with Carter Lusher, William Hopkins and other IT analyst watchers in a March 2010 article focusing on recession-driven consolidation in the industry analyst business.
It’s in the hardcopy version - so purchase / registration required.
If you’ve been following my blogs or are a client, you’re familiar with my position on alternatives to the tech industry analysts for research and advisory.Â With this post, I’m bringing these conversations about alternatives to the industry analysts online. This post introduces some basic ideas and examples.
My position is simple: well-respected alternatives are out there; more sources are popping up all the time; only a fool ignores the good ones. Likewise, only a fool rushes in. The supply ofÂ ersatz research is bountiful as ever. Caveat emptor.
Today, I see very few cases where the alternatives completely displace the industry analysts. Typically, they coexist as vital resources. Often, they’re served up side-by-side in an integrated information portal available to employees. The alternatives tend to be most useful in 3 scenarios:
- Supporting specific decisions in real time
- Delving into topics that don’t attract dedicated industry analyst coverage
- Helping professionals develop broader, deeper or more inclusive perspectives
So where’s the good stuff? That depends on whether you want data-driven intelligence to help you buy and implement tech, or build and sell it. To start, here’s a short list of examples.
Associations: Long a sales and marketing channel for the tech industry analysts, many associations now offer their own research services to members and the public. Â Some groups permit members to conduct custom research and encourage well documented case studies and best practices. Others leverage member-supported research for advocacy and thought leadership. Classic examples include theÂ Consumer Electronics Association, IEEE, NASCIO and Socitm.
Academics: The ongoing disconnect between business and academia, at least here in the U.S., baffles many including me. The mutual disrespect might have been appropriate in years past. It is not today. Here’s the bite: some of the most successful companies in the world know this and fund research. Â Classic examples in this category include MIT Sloan School of Management, Stanford University and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Consultants: Management consultants have produced insightful research for decades. This group has the greatest overlap with the industry analysts who advise tech buyers. Classic examples include Booz Allen Hamilton,Â Deloitte and Â PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Smaller associations, universities, and consultancies can produce equally valuable data-driven insight. Plus, there are several other categories. Media and government agencies jump to mind.
Data-driven insight is available from many reputable sources. IT professionals look to them for information, validation and advice. As a result, tech providers need to see them for what they are: influencers.
Here’s a way to raise the bar on influencer marketing and influencer relations efforts around Enterprise 2.0 software: map your influencers to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Enterprise 2.0 ROI, a model penned by Hutch Carpenter.
Hutch, an exec with Spigit, coopts Maslow’s classic hierarchy of human needs for a 7-layer pyramid of Enterprise 2.0 benefits. Cost savings is at the bottom, employee satisfaction is at the middle, and organizational agility at the top. He describes associated proof points and challenges of finding proof points for each.
Think about the pyramid from an influencer marketing and influencer relations point of view. You’ll come to the same conclusion that I did: you need different influencers for each step in this pyramid.
For example, people who have authority on the cost savings benefits of Enterprise 2.0 are not likely to have expertise on the upper steps of the pyramid. Simply put, validating cost of ownership is one thing. Advising on which software is best able to help boost innovation or marshal resources is another.
Here’s a simple way to use the model for evaluating your influencer programs:
- Look at the pyramid through the eyes of your customer decision-makers. How do your targeted influencers map to this pyramid? Do you know where your influencers fit?
- Look at the pyramid through the eyes of your salesforce. Do you have all 7 steps covered? Do you know your competitors’ preferred influencers for each step?
- Look at the pyramid through the eyes of product marketing. Where does your competitive differentiation sit? Do you have a concentration of influencers on that step?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the pyramid shape itself applies to the field of influencers. There’s no shortage of experts on any aspect of Enterprise 2.0. Do look for different kinds of influencers — analysts, peers, consultants, partners, etc. — to round out your coverage.
Hat tip to Zoli Erdos’ and Ben Kepes’ Cloud Avenue.
I’m pleased to invite you to the open house celebration for LectureMaker, Silicon Valley’s first high-definition streaming video studio. This special event takes place Wednesday, March 24th from 5:30pm to 8:00 pm in Sunnyvale. If you’re interested in creating, posting, or live streaming hi-def video content at affordable costs, you owe it to yourself to attend this grand opening party. Among the perks for attending: you can make your own greenscreen videos and greenscreen portrait photos during the celebration! Free! How cool is that?
Ron Fredericks, founder and videographer, has built an advanced high-def video studio worthy of Silicon Valley. He is pricing LectureMaker services to fit the budgets of startups, authors, consultants, analysts, marketing and PR agencies, and corporate marketing departments.
Join me Wednesday evening to tour the studio, make your own hi-def video clips, and get greenscreen portraits you can use with any background to spruce up your social media profiles. You can witness the ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Sunnyvale, and enjoy live music, drinks and food. Perhaps wander through an astonishing collection of movie sets and props.
Register at Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/610591295
Again, the details:
Host: Ron Fredericks, LectureMaker
When: Weds, March 24, 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Where: 830 Stewart Drive, Sunnyvale CA, 94085
What: Ribbon cutting ceremony with Sunnyvaleâ€™s Mayor
- Live music by Jimmy and the Waverunners
- Food, beer, wine, and soft drinks
- Make your own videos during the celebration
- More info: http://www.lecturemaker.com/2010/03/grand-opening/
You’ll see the creative video, audio and photo possibilities that are now easily within your reach. Even if you’re a solo practitioner like me.
See you there!
Advanced registration is required.Â If you’re involved in analyst relations, at an agency or vendor, you can register for the meeting. Likewise, if you’re between AR-focused jobs, you can register.Â You’ll also get complimentary access to the full-day IDC conference.
Request your invitation via an email toÂ Peggy O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org. More at IIAR blog.
Big thanks to IDC, the analyst relations practice at H&K, and the IIAR for their generosity in arranging the private luncheon and the free access to the Directions 2010 conference.
Hyatt Regency - attached to Santa Clara Convention Center
March 10, 2010
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
12:15PM - 12:30 PM
Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Research, IDC, will provide an overview and highlight the details of IDC’s end user IT research strategy. His presentation will include an update on IDC’s Insights organization, IDC’s MarketScape assessment tool, and the ground breaking IDC Insights Community.
12:30 PM - 1:05 PM
Joshua Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Hill & Knowlton’s global tech practice lead, will present key findings from H&K’s 2009 tech decision maker’s study, the latest insights on the impact of AR on IR and corporate valuation, and the evolving role of AR professionals as they take on Influencer Relations roles in the new social media era.
1:05 PM - 1:15 PM
Peggy O’Neill, Board Member IIAR, will provide a brief update of IIAR initiatives and discuss the benefits of IIAR membership.