Barbara on February 11th, 2011

I’m pleased to introduce my new directory of analysts, here at analystdirectory.barbarafrench.net.
This is both a new home and a new version of the Tekrati Directory of Analyst Firms. Let me tell you about it.

From 2000 to noon today, the analyst firms directory was part of Tekrati and I was its managing editor. Tekrati was the online guide to the IT and telecommunications industry analysts. It included 3 directories & OPML, 2 news services & a dozen RSS feeds, a strategic consulting business, and my tips, insights and commentary on the analyst business. By 2011, Tekrati had profiled some 650 analyst firms, published over 12,000 news posts, and hosted 150K to 250K unique visitors each year.

As of today, the analyst directory is a personal curation project and part of my personal blog.

It remains a freely available information resource for anyone — technology buyers, analyst relations professionals, marketers, journalists, analysts, recruiters — looking for experts on the tech and telecoms markets.

Gradually, this new directory will include organizations that employ analysts and produce industry research, regardless of whether they are “analyst firms”. Many industry organizations and corporations produce research on a par with the analyst houses. I’ll be adding them to this directory going forward, so that it becomes a better resource for influencer relations and influencer marketing programs.

Another change: As the directory is now part of my WordPress blog, comments are turned on! Feel free to post comments to any firm listing. That includes factual corrections and informed opinions. I will delete comments that are unprofessional or otherwise downright snarky.

As always: There’s no need to register to browse. There’s no charge for listings. There’s no option to upgrade listings. And, all listings are at my discretion.

Popularity: 84%

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!

Popularity: 43%

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 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.

Popularity: 16%

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%

IDC logoJay Andersen was in touch to remind me that IDC, Hill & Knowlton and the IIAR will host a luncheon meeting for analyst relations professionals at next week’s IDC Directions 2010 in San Jose, Calif.

Advanced registration is required. 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. You’ll also get complimentary access to the full-day IDC conference.

Request your invitation via an email to Peggy O’Neill at peggy.oneill@analystrelations.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.

Details
Hyatt Regency - attached to Santa Clara Convention Center
Cypress Room
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.

Popularity: 10%

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. 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:
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 leadership—including marketing, PR, investor relations and public affairs—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.

Cost
Individual Churchill Club event tickets run $58 - $90, and normally it’s a cash bar. Reg, more info.

Twitter
Hashtag will be #churchillclub.

Popularity: 15%

Barbara on February 5th, 2010

Ok, I’ve been heads down on projects all week. However, here are a few tidbits worth noting from the influencer relations world.

Philippe Winthrop, one of my favorite enterprise mobility analysts leaves Strategy Analytics today. You can continue following his adventures at his Enterprise Mobility blog.

Jon Collins, MD and CEO of Freeform Dynamics, is raising funds for Water Aid by running in the Brighton Marathon. More at his Nothing to Declare blog and at JustGiving.

And, if you sometimes doublecheck links to see whether you’re reading about Jon Collins or Jonathan Collins, well, you’re not alone. Just sayin’.

The 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer has raised all sorts of discussion with its findings like this: Trust in social media and mainstream media has dropped like boat anchors, while trust in CEOs has risen. Tech is the most trusted sector. Trust in financial analysts remains high despite their failure to predict/reveal risks big enough to sink nations. Freely available.

Expect to see this latest Edelman Trust Barometer cited as heavily as usual in analyst relations circles. Once again, it puts industry analyst reports (Gartner et al) and business magazine articles as the top most credible, most trusted source of information about companies.

Social media took another big hit this week with findings from a Pew Internet & American Life study on social media and mobile internet use among teens. Blogging has declined sharply among teens and adults under 30. From the summary, “As the tools and technology embedded in social networking websites change, and use of the sites continues to grow, youth may be exchanging ‘macro-blogging’ for micro-blogging with status updates.” Freely available.

Davos is a crucible of influence and influencer relations. My favorite quote this year is from Larry Summers, U.S. presidential advisor: the U.S. is experiencing “a statistical recovery and a human recession” (hat tip WSJ).

Popularity: 8%

Barbara on February 5th, 2010

One of the original CRM/SFA industry journalists-turned-advocates, Ginger Cooper recently took on a new role as Director of Business Development for Green Mobile Tech.  The company specializes in matching client companies with the best mobile solutions for their needs.

In her words, “For end-user companies needing to purchase mobile hardware, we help them define their requirements and present them with the top options matching their needs and price point. We also resell some of the mobile software solutions with which we’re particularly impressed.” They’ll also step in on support issues, price negotiations and the lesser known down ‘n’ dirty on products. Clients include small to enterprise-class companies in retail and other industries, and software companies looking for the mobile technologies that will make their software hum.

Personally, I find Green Mobile Tech a little light on the “green”. However, I do see it as a good example of a shift underway among tech decision influencers. Jason Busch described this shift a few weeks ago. His take is that some of the dedicated “best in breed” influencers — e.g. analysts, systems integrators — are loosing ground as decision advisors. The issue is that they are too specialized, and too often lacking hands-on experience.

Take a good look at Green Mobile Tech. A well-rounded tech influencer list ought to include companies like it in addition to dedicated analysts, journalists, consultants and sourcing advisors.

Popularity: 6%