Barbara on March 23rd, 2011

On March 17, 2011 the Influencer to Advocates panel was held at the BrightTALK offices in San Francisco. Here is the video of the event.

Popularity: 73%

Don’t miss the first Think Influence event of 2011! Our members voted for an event on who is an influencer and how do you attract them. Here it is!

Featuring:

  • Don Bulmer, VP, Influencer Relations, SAP
  • Mike Fauscette, GVP, Software Business Solutions, IDC
  • Guy Kawasaki, Co-Founder of Alltop and author of the newly released book, Enchantment
  • Moderated by Barbara French, co-founder of Think Influence.

Attend the event in person at the BrightTALK offices in San Francisco and pose questions throughout the panel - register at http://go.brighttalk.com/evite.html

Or, attend remote via the live interactive webcast & tweet your questions/comments - register at http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/24993

When: Thursday, March 17
Registration / doors open: 7:15am
Roundtable: 8:00am - 8:45am
Networking Breakfast: 8:45am - 10:00am

“Influencers to Advocates”
Social media has enabled business professionals to quickly grow large spheres of influence in targeted industries. These power users hold the key for marketers trying to gain access to their niche audiences. The question is how to identify who the key B2B influencers are, how to rise above the noise to capture their attention, and how to encourage them to become advocates for your brand. Hear from these influencers themselves as they present live from the BrightTALK San Francisco office sharing what attracts them and learn how you can influence the influencer to become a brand advocate.

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

We wish to thank BrightTALK, graciously co-producing and videocasting this event. Interested in sponsoring? Contact me.

Not yet a member? Join Think Influence on LinkedIn.

Popularity: 71%

Social media has enabled business professionals to quickly grow large spheres of influence in targeted industries. These power users hold the key for marketers trying to gain access to their niche audiences. The question is how to identify who the key B2B influencers are, how do you rise above the noise to capture their attention, and how do you encourage them to become advocates for your brand.

On March 17th, join me for a live streamed event where you’ll hear from Don Bulmer from SAP, Guy Kawasaki from Alltop and Michael Fauscette from IDC as they share what attracts them and learn how you can influence the influencer to become a brand advocate.

thinkinfluence panel

WHEN: March 17, 2011, 8:00-8:45am PDT. Also available for replay.

PARTICIPATE:
Participate from anywhere, by watching the live streamed video webcast and posting questions/comments via Twitter. Or watch the replay. Register at http://www.brighttalk.com/r/kZS

Attend onsite in the panel audience or for a breakfast reception afterwards with the panelists. By invitation only.  Space is limited. Join the Think Influence group on LinkedIn to request an invitation.

PANELISTS:
Don Bulmer, Vice President of Global Communications, SAP AG
Guy Kawasaki, Co-founder, Alltop
Michael Fauscette, Group Vice President, Software Business Solutions, IDC
and moderator Barbara French, President & Managing Editor, Tekrati & Co-founder Think Influence

COST:
Free, however registration is required for the live webcast and replays. Onsite event is by invitation only.

SPONSORSHIPS:
Contact me for info on sponsoring Think Influence events. Contact BrightTALK for sponsoring their Social Media Marketing Summit.

ABOUT
This event is a joint production of Think Influence and BrightTALK. Think Influence is a grassroots community of peers discussing the role of influence in business.

Popularity: 100%

Influencer marketing is progressing from too much hype and trial-by-fire programs to sensible strategies and accepted best practices. There’s no better time than today to re-fresh your thinking about influence — what it is, who has it, what roles it can play in business. I’ll be discussing these topics at next week’s Bay Area Executives Meetup in Mountain View, CA, along with moderator R Ray Wang of Altimeter Group and my co-panelists Michael Brito of Edelman Digital, Ali McCourt of Intuit and Tony Welch of HP. Special thanks to Tatyana Kanzavel for organizing the event and panel!

Register for the Bay Area Executives Meetup: Super Panel on Influence

“The Many Facets Of Influence: How to Outreach, Engage, and Build Trust with Key Stakeholders”

An interactive panel with R Ray Wang, Michael Brito, Barbara French, Ali McCourt & Tony Welch

Tuesday, August 24th
Networking 6:30 - 7:00 PM
Panel 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location: Samovar Conference Hall, Mountain View, Calif.
Event hashtag: #baexec

The panel will provide perspectives on these critical questions about influence:
1.  What is influence? and how do we align it with business value?
2.  The myths vs. realities of influence
3.  Key success factors of influence
4.  Identifying influencers: who and why?

Space is limited. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door and include gourmet food and wine. Register now to get on the waiting list and (hopefully) get confirmed!

Bring your questions, join the conversation, and engage!

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If you missed today’s fast-paced webinar, here’s the audio replay. However our recorded conversation is just part of the discussion that took place. Check out the real-time reactions and side conversations at Twitter — hashtag #socialanalyst. Thanks to everyone who participated!

As Jeremiah said in his closing comments, we want to continue this conversation. Are you in? Please check back for links to the Twitter transcript. Also, trackback or comment here if you publish on the impact of social technologies on the industry analysts, their advisory clients and their analyst relations communities.

Special gratitude to our pilots at the Hangar – Christine Tan and Julie Viola — and to co-panelists Jeremiah Owyang, Carter Lusher and Jonny Bentwood.

The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry: A Roundtable w/ Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group on Vimeo

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Influencer marketing entails many aspects of public relations. Along these lines, CloudNine PR agency is sharing results of its bespoke study of how 300 IT chiefs in the UK prefer to access news and info about the IT industry. I’m quite surprised by 4 findings in particular: LinkedIn ties with vendor emails as a useful or very useful source for 31%; and Twitter and YouTube are on close to even footing as well for about 20%.

What methods do UK IT chiefs find ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’ for keeping up-to-date on IT industry developments, including general news from vendors? Here’s CloudNine PR’s take:

cloud9prinfluencersurvey2010

  1. Online publications 64%
  2. IT blogs 52%
  3. Trade shows 50%
  4. Printed publications 47%
  5. Vendor Events 44%
  6. IT Analyst blogs 40%
  7. IT analyst events 38%
  8. Vendor emails 31%, LinkedIn 31%
  9. Twitter 20%
  10. YouTube 19%
  11. Facebook 13%
  12. SlideShare 12%

About the study: CloudNine PR commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct the survey. It consisted of a poll of IT decisionmakers, including CIOs, IT directors and IT managers in 300 UK companies. The sample included organisations with 50 to 250 employees, 251 to 1000 employees and over 1000 employees. There was an approximately equal split of companies operating in Financial services; Manufacturing; Retail, Transport and Distribution; and Business and Professional Services.

Popularity: 16%

Barbara on May 11th, 2010

I’m not a fan of the growing schism between Altimeter Group and the rest of the analysts. One of the most visible wedges driving this rift is the idea of “rock star analysts.”

“Rock star analyst” is an old notion with deep roots among financial analysts. Originally, rock star analysts were the ones who made the right call the most often, especially on complex decisions. They made their clients the most money. There was a strong body of proof and formal professional consensus behind the status.

Not so on the tech analyst side of the aisle. What does “rock star analyst” mean to analyst relations people and analysts today? It seems to mean an analyst scores high on RSS readership, Twitter following, social net savvy, citations in the media. In short, celebrity status. Customer satisfaction isn’t a meaningful factor, beyond the PR value of the analyst.

What does celebrity status have to do with accuracy, completeness, timeliness? With giving clients great advice?

Why would a decision maker want to hire a celebrity to help with tech decisions?

It’s time for a reality check. Of the many reasons one might hire an analyst, celebrity status is — at best — just one aspect of the package.

Update, for clarification: I’m criticizing the rising popularity of labeling an analyst a “rock star” due to celebrity status. I see Altimeter Group as an unwitting victim of this craze. Ray Wang and his associates have proven their chops as technology & business experts. Putting them on rockstar pedestals strictly because of their social media popularity is insane. And arguably, it’s a disservice to the entire analyst profession. - BF May 12, 2010.

Popularity: 13%

Barbara on April 10th, 2010

Here’s a great find: Gideon Gartner has started a new blog. Now, if we could just convince him to start a new research and advisory firm!

http://gideongartner.com/

Popularity: 6%

Barbara on March 22nd, 2010

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. 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 of 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.  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 the 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.  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, Deloitte and  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.

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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.

maslows-hierarchy-of-enterprise-20-needs

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Popularity: 34%