Visitors to the Forrester Research website today will see that the ARM Council in North America, of which we’ve written earlier, has been divided: with a new leadership forum for technology marketers starting up (see the brochure here). There’s also a new brochure in the works for the new Analyst Relations Council, but the meanwhile the old brochure is still online.
While the integrated AR and Marketing Council will remain in Europe, the increased focus that these two councils provide is clearly a step forward in the US. For the AR Council, it certainly encourages more detailed and practical discussions.
For example, April’s meeting of the AR Council will include a discussion about analyst relations tools. The best known [and the best] is ARchitect, which has just upgraded to version 2.5. There are simpler off-the-shelf web applications: Lighthouse’s three-year old AR Intranet and a similar solution which our friends at Waggener Edstrom have just launched. However, I think off-the-shelf CRM solutions are well worth looking at, especially Microsoft’s Business Contact Manager, ACT! and salesforce.
However, tools and techniques are only useful if the strategy is right. I’m convinced that the major productivity gains in AR are not going to some from tools, but from strategy: most effort is wasted because inappropriate analysts are targetted. Doing that faster is still wasteful!