There are few bona fide analysts of the analysts. Outsell has figured prominently in this small group for many years. What gives Outsell its chops? The company has published a landmark report on the industry analyst business for many years. The report has become a valuable resource for those in the analyst business as well as those who partner with analyst firms, purchase content from the analyst firms or manage influencer relations with the top analyst firms.
The 2012 edition of “Watching the IT Watchers” was released a few months ago. The report, authored by Perry Gartner, covers top analyst firms by revenue, highlights notable contenders and analyzes the business of the industry analysts at large, including key trends, drivers, threats and opportunities.
Give me a shout if you’ve read the report. I’ll be digging into it over the next few weeks.
If you work in influencer relations in Silicon Valley, you want to be at the Churchill Club this Monday March 1st for an evening event featuring John Byrne, Richard Edelman, Paul Bergevin, Peter Diamandis and Frank Shaw.
The event comes on the heels of the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global opinion leaders study mentioned in my last post.Â The Trust Barometer is freely available. Bring your toughest questions or just show up for a great evening of discussion, debate and networking.
I’ll be particularly interested to see how this year’s discussion compares with the 2008 event (my comments).
See you there!
What the Public Believes: New Trends in Corporate Reputation Management
Corporations are in the combat zone, struggling to build back trust among all of their stakeholders in the midst of the global economic crisis. Faced with an overall meltdown in confidence, how is corporate leadershipâ€”including marketing, PR, investor relations and public affairsâ€”to respond? How should companies retool their communication strategies and address the right stakeholders with the right issues and strike the right tone? This panel of thought leaders speaks out on the most current trends and strategies for managing corporate reputation and sharpening stakeholder engagement.
Individual Churchill Club event tickets run $58 - $90, and normally it’s a cash bar. Reg, more info.
Hashtag will be #churchillclub.
“The biggest mistake we see people make is confusing influence with follower count. Having a large number of followers is worthless if those followers are not engaged and paying attention to you.”
You can’t do influencer relations without a good set of tools for identifying influencers and measuring and tracking their influence. Here’s a new tool for your consideration: Edelman’s TweetLevel, by Jonny Bentwood. TweetLevel calculates an “importance” rating of 0-100 for anyone with a Twitter handle. And, it’s free to use.
Most of the big agencies provide their clients with pricey dashboards and services for monitoring company reputation, PR programs and more. So it’s refreshing to see this Twitter discovery and ranking tool out in the public domain offered free of charge.
The total “importance” score is based on measurements in 4 areas: influence, popularity, engagement and trust. The underlying data comes from a combination of respected 3rd party influence/activity ranking sources, such as TwInfluence, and original Edelman calculations.
TweetLevel saves you time and gives you repeatable results, which we all need. From there, it’s up to you. It can’t tell you who the influencer is engaged with or whether the Twitter exchanges are positive, negative or neutral.
How would you use it today? A couple of ways to consider even now, during beta:
Human relationships tend to be complicated, and relationships with influencers are no exception. Yet, you need to know where you stand with an influencer and to share that insight with others in your organization. That’s why so many of us strive to describe influencer relationships in terms that are simple, meaningful and broadly applicable.
There are many different systems for scoring relationship strength and, if you’re like me, you’re likely to develop a custom system rather than adopt something off-the-shelf.
Some systems are based on the old media mentions scoring. These score influencer relationships the same way that one scores media mentions: positive, negative, neutral or unknown. Usually there’s an “inactive” choice thrown into the mix.
Other systems go to into greater depth, all the way up to using 10-point scales for various attributes that average out to an overall “strength”. Typical attributes include knowledge, information exchange, willingness to engage, willingness to recommend, frequency of contact and more.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. What matters is that you capture useful information in a professional, consistent and repeatable way and that you act on it.
Whatever method you use, consider adopting these 3 tenets:
1. Keep it as simple as possible.
2. Apply it as honestly as possible.
3. Respect the time and privacy of your influencers as much as possible.
Scott Brinker blogged about propinquity and Twitter last week. I’d never heard the word propinquity before. However, propinquity seems to be a label for a familiar concept — the notion that physical promixity promotes relationships. My parents harped about that while I was a teen. Happily, Scott takes a different tack. He suggests that social media applications such as Twitter may wear down the effects of physical promixity in relationship dynamics. I wonder what kind of effect they will have on relationships with influencers. And how we will measure it.
Today, we use several criteria for measuring influence for our Influencer50 clients. Our metrics include factors such as an influencer’s
- market reach
- frequency of impact
- quality of impact
- closeness to decision
“Closeness to decision” is where propinquity comes into play. We include physical proximity and timing in this metric. So, we already think of closeness to a decision as a measure of more than physical distance.
It’s not hard to envision extending “closeness to decision” with new metrics focused on social media, mobile communications, or both.
Several companies already use Twitter as a way to engage with influencers and customer conversations online. Duncan has written about this development in The Influencer, our free newsletter.
One thing is clear. We haven’t gotten our collective heads around the implications of social media in terms of influence. We’re still caught up in early adopter personalities and tactics.
Sometime soon, we’ll need to stop counting social media links and echoes. We need to start agreeing on what counts as distance and what counts as closeness and what counts as influence.
Update, Jan. 19: this event has been canceled.
My colleague Duncan Brown will give the opening presentation at the Influencer Marketing Summit next month in London. His presentation, “Capitalise on influencer marketing to accelerate brand performance and drive sales”, will focus on how to:
- Determine the effectiveness of your influencer marketing by knowing what to measure and when to measure it
- Align influencer marketing with business objectives to drive brand performance, increase business growth, validate marketing cost and optimise return
Marketing Week has put together an impressive speaker line-up for this summit. Brand managers hail from the likes of Cheapflights, BT, Nokia, T-Mobile, and LEGO. Plus, several experts will share insights specific to core disciplines of influencer marketing applied to brand management.
Check it out, and if you are attending, give Duncan a shout.
Charlene Li predicts that ‘Personal CPM’ innovations will figure in the social media/marketing front in 2009. Personal CPM is one of the more interesting outcomes of joining up social media with consumer marketing. The idea is to analyze social behavior to more accurately target consumers. In Charlene’s words,
“Each person’s profile will command a different, personal CPM based on a trilogy of their behavior, influence, and market demand.”
It’s easy to see how this type of metric would have so much appeal in consumer marketing. It could enhance our thinking about upstream segmentation, downstream personalization, and everything in between. Where we have “personas” today, we could be back to addressable “people” tomorrow.
Personal CPM, as Charlene describes it, could also innovate accepted metrics for identifying and comparing influence among consumers.
Don’t pigeonhole personal CPM as just another advertising model.
Personal CPM has implications for influencer identification and engagement as well.
I’ll be attending the NorCal BMA breakfast meet on January 15th, to catch a presentation by John Abraham and Dr. Vince Nowinski of Satmetrix. The topic is practical methods for quantifying WOM, and linking it to customer loyalty and long-term business success. They’ll include recent research on WOM and customer value using the Net Promoter Score as a gauge of customer loyalty and customer referral dynamics.
This is my first foray to a local BMA meeting. Give me a nudge if you’re planning to go.
Forrester Research’s Kevin Lucas raises a good question: what core corporate business value can your analyst relations program deliver? His point is that AR programs shouldn’t commit to delivering sales value unless there’s good reason to do so. As logical as that advice may sound, I don’t agree with it.
Analyst relations programs can be designed to deliver on a wide range of business objectives. There’s no reason to shy away from aligning AR with the customer purchase decision process. In fact, that has been the basis of the analyst business — and analyst relations — since the late 80s.
What you can’t do, is bolt sales performance expectations onto an existing AR program. Objectives are fundamental to how you design, staff, fund and measure an AR program.
A legacy AR program — perhaps focused primarily on what’s said during a conference, or improving where your dot is placed on quadrants — is not going to shorten sales cycles tomorrow because somebody issues an edict today.
The magic wand scenario just doesn’t fly.
That doesn’t mean that an AR program can’t deliver sales value. It means that delivering sales value will take time. It will take intention. It will take planning.
Kevin asks a good question. It’s up to each of us to come up with a good answer.