Misapplication of IIAR survey gives tactical opportunities to AR managers

One of the most easily available ‘rankings’ of industry analysts mistakenly focusses on a subset of analysts whose most common feature is that IIAR members find them easy to work with. The All The Analyst (ATA) Analyst Web Rankings encourage less experienced AR managers to focus on vendor-funded analysts. As a result, more strategic AR managers will find less competition for the time of the more influential analysts that the ATA methodology overlooks.

According to ATA’s executive summary:-

“News items and blog items mentioning individual analysts from the recent analyst of the year poll conducted by the Institute of Analyst Relations (IIAR) were analyzed throughout 2Q08. The frequency of items published was counted to produce a figure for number of items per day. Items that mentioned the analyst by name but were published by the firm itself were excluded. Only items that appeared online in aggregators such as news or blogs search results were included. [http://technobabble2dot0.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/analyst-of-the-year-results-iiar.pdf]”

The IIAR survey results mentioned list just 23 individual analysts from a total population that, depending of definitions, ranged from four to six thousand. We support the IIAR surveys, but agree with Carter that you shouldn’t get carried away.  It’s unlikely that those 23 are the top 23 for your firm.

However, there’s one more notable aspect to the ATA method explained in the same summary:

“Trend analysis was conducted on search queries entered by users of www.all-the-analysts.com during 2Q08.” 

Longtime readers will remember our initial feeling about the ATA website was that it attracts people who don’t already have paid access to analyst research and, therefore, will have little influence on high value sales.  If you just want to see how frequently analysts’ names are being searched for, use Google Adwords to see the value on their names when used as search keywords; that data’s free and you can segment it by country. You’ll also get a massively large base of data.

We’re confident that ATA will improve their service. Their survey almost certainly contains other information of some use for other purposes. Their survey may not describe their methodology most favourably, and we could have misunderstood them. However, as they present them our estimation is that the ATA Analyst Web Rankings fail to give AR managers a real ranking of analysts’ profile online. Furthermore, because the profile of vendor-funded analysts is higher online than their influence of actual spending, such rankings are always a misleading guide to which analysts should be prioritised.

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