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.

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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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Social technologies are disrupting traditional business models, and the tech industry analyst business is no exception. Or is it? How is social truly changing the day to day work of the tech watchers? their advisory clients? their relations with tech providers? Tune in tomorrow as I exchange views on this important topic with fellow thought leaders Jeremiah Owyang, Jonny Bentwood and Carter Lusher. You can ask questions and more during the live webinar using the Twitter hashtag #socialanalyst. This virtual event is free. Register now so you can listen and participate tomorrow!

What you need to know:

Special thanks to Jeremiah for organizing and producing this event!

Related posts:

The brainstorm behind this event at Jeremiah’s blog
Personal point of view at Jonny’s blog
More stage-setting at Carter’s blog and here at Sway

Popularity: 17%

Do you have some opinions on how social media is changing the analyst business? Or how it could be changing the analyst game? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Your points may well end up on my July roundtable, ”The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry“,  with Jonny Bentwood of Edelman, Carter Lusher of SageCircle, and our roundtable producer and host, Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group. The Twitter hashtag is #socialanalyst.

We’ll be discussing — and debating — the impact of social on analysts and analyst firms, and resulting changes in the analyst experience for IT decision makers, tech providers and their analyst relations representatives.

Some changes are taking place behind the scenes, in business, research and sales operations. Some changes are clearly visible at events and online through blogs, communities, media sites and Twitter. Other changes are being forced on the analyst business by IT decision makers and tech providers, as social media redefines approaches to decision making and influencer relations.

Social is not just another hammer in the tech toolbox. It’s also a set of behaviors. We expect analysts to adopt these new behaviors. So far, some are, some are not.

As with all Altimeter Group webinars, this one is free to attend and space is limited! Register at your earliest if you’d like to participate in the live conversation.

  • What: The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry: A Roundtable with Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang
  • When: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 from 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT
  • Info, Register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/823666435

Special thanks to Jeremiah for organizing this event!

Editor’s update, June 29th: Post your suggestions on topics & points of view you think we should cover during the roundtable at Jeremiah’s blog.

Popularity: 13%

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.

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Barbara on May 3rd, 2010

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and from all corners of a market. It’s tempting to pigeonhole influencers based on their business cards. That’s why many companies maintain discrete influencer marketing programs and measurement systems for the influential press, analysts, customers, consultants, authors, regulators and so on. The trouble is, that’s no longer how the world works. Consider this tweet today by Jeremiah Owyang:

In the past roles around Press, Media, and Analyst relations were clear. Yet, I write for Forbes, publish research reports, and blog. - @jowyang, May 3, 2010

What traditional influencer silo best suits Jeremiah? None. He’s a mix of many.

Likewise, decision-makers don’t think in terms of business cards. They don’t lay out plans to confer with 10 consultants, 9 investigative reporters, 8 industry analysts and a partridge in a pear tree. They confer with informed people who’ve earned their trust and are available when needed.

How can marketing adopt a more realistic view of influencers? A good place to start is agreeing on a common set of words to describe all types of influencers.

I advise keeping this very simple. For example, here are my 3 tents of influencer marketing:

  • Intent: the motivation of the influencer
  • Content: the scope, depth and currency of the influencer’s knowledge
  • Extent: who the influencer influences plus when, how and how much

I like the 3 tents for many reasons, the top most being its emphasis on describing influencers as human beings. Try it. You can just as easily discuss and prioritize tech analysts, politicians and association opinion leaders.

You can only have this kind of conversation if you can describe all of your influencers with the same basic language.

There are no “right” or “wrong” words for describing influencers. What matters most is finding words that make sense across an entire company, and making those words part of the company culture. This is vital in the era of social media.

Companies still need specialized skills to maintain relations with each type of influencer. Adopting a common language for describing influencers is a giant first step towards mixing and allocating these skills more effectively.

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Whenever you look for the purchase decision influencers in business intelligence (BI) and business analytics, you end up looking at the trade press. And there’s some noteworthy news on that front this week: media giant TechTarget announced that they’ve acquired the BeyeNETWORK properties and network of experts. TechTarget plans to leverage BeyeNETWORK experts to build out their footprint in BI via the new SearchBusinessAnalytics.com destination site.

Regardless how this M&A looks once the dust settles, it will have a definite impact on the influence wielded by the BeyeNETWORK experts.

Many of these experts are solo or small-group professionals with deep subject matter expertise. The group includes analysts, consultants, lecturers and authors. They tend to have closely held relationships with their clients and industry contacts. They influence purchases, implementation, and best practices around enterprise business intelligence, data warehousing and analytics software. They engage with the market, and formulate and promote their own opinions. They can also play important roles in the influencer ecosystem as intermediaries — bringing the viewpoints of more powerful influencers, such as vendors, directly to their own contacts.

If you’re in the BI market, monitor BeyeNETWORK and TechTarget over the next 3 to 6 months to see which experts get more play, which get less, which get lost, and any new experts attracted by the larger combined media site. Keep your focus on the individual influencers, not the BeyeNETWORK brand itself.

For example, some of the BeyeNETWORK experts I recommend putting on your watch list: Merv Adrian, Lou Agosta, Leslie Ament, Steve Dine, Neil Raden, Craig Shiff, James Taylor, and Colin White.

Popularity: 7%

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.

Popularity: 6%