This month’s issue of The Marketer includes an article which claims that analyst influence is falling. Influencer50’s Duncan Brown has the byline on the article, which unsurprisingly includes no detail to support the claim.
As we commented in October, while this claim is bound to get headlines influencer50 doesn’t seem to have any research that back the claim up. Brown gave me this article, which supposedly appeared in a supplement to the Journal, and refers to a Santa Clara study. Neither the Journal, the journalist, Santa Clara or influencer50 were able to point us to the data themselves. Luckily, we found the data from the Santa Clara study online, and they don’t support the claim at all. In fact, the question wasn’t even asked.
As far as anyone can see, influencer50’s claim has no material basis at all. It may as well be fiction. Our CIO surveys do not show analyst influence to be falling; the percentage of firms subscribing to analysts is fairly stable, and even growing modestly, as Outsell’s data also show. For so long as influence50’s conclusion remains irreproducible, we’ll remain lukewarm about the firm.
P.S. Brown has left a useful comment on this post, to explain that while analyst influence had reduced over the last five years they make this point simply to get people’s attention: while it’s an opening point, it’s not the key one. They key point is than influence is diffuse. And indeed it is. However, we do feel it noteworthy that influencer50 has raised no data to defend its position, even though it is a company ostensibly engaged in primary research. Lighthouse has commissioned research on analyst influence over a number of years, and our data just don’t confirm influencer50’s findings. We’ve seen nothing more than a one percent rise or fall in the percentage of firms using analysts, but we have seen a big rise in the use of these firms by their subscribers: they are using analysts much more than they were, and this translates into more influence across the buying cycle: much more. We also a see a great interest in mediated analyst influence: the media, bloggers, and many other influencers use analyst research more, so analyst influence also determines much of what is said by other influencers. You can read more about that here. We’re also adding a link to bad science.