Gartner’s symposium shows three new challenges for analyst relations managers

Gartner’s rapid evolution poses three profound challenges for analyst relations managers, and this blog is changing course to respond to them. Gartner’s role-based research, the rapid rise of user reviews and the consequent impact on marketing communications are all immense shifts.

1. Unlimited impact of role-based research.

We don’t know what the full impact will be of Gartner’s profound turn into role-based views, but it will be massive. Forrester’s turn, which was made with less resource, established it not only as an analyst of marketing technology but as a deep partner providing marketing services. Gartner is using the Corporate Executive Board’s deep insight into a wide range of functional roles to create role-based research teams. That will start to give Gartner’s the impact on other functions that it already has on the CIO. Other analyst firms will surely pick their battles, but have to address that shift and compete to give insight to functional managers.

2. Peer Insights have already overtaken Magic Quadrants.

User review sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra are growing in importance. It’s not unusual to attend a user conference to see the vendor herding people towards Peer Insights terminals. Peer Insights gets more eyeballs each month than Magic Quadrants, even though nowadays is seems like 95% of MQs are free to access because of vendor licensing. In the same way that AR became a logical hub for generating case studies and reference clients, AR can also grow its role by tracking and improving reviews. Many major niche vendors, for example, have still not asked Gartner to add their firm as an option in Peer Insights.

3. AR must drive the amplification of analyst advocacy. 

More than ever, AR needs a driven, supportive and proactive alliance with public relations, marketing communications and above all else sales. A great role model is CCgroup, the London-headquartered lead agency of the GlobalCom PR Network. CCgroup’s AR team recently published a guide to amplification.  It takes a pro-active role in helping its clients to plan a strategy for their commercial relationships with analysts. They help clients to work with analysts to make sure that analysts who advocate similar technology directions get heard more clearly. Everyone can learn from that.

Following these trends needs more resources than this blog can muster by itself. Last week we reported that the Analyst Value Survey and Analyst Firm Awards will be moving to the Analyst Observatory at the University of Edinburgh. My colleagues Stephen Miller and Emily Almond will be working with me (I am one of the volunteer co-directors of the Observatory) to help it extend the reach of the survey. Our friends at Kea Company are helping the Survey to make a smooth transition, and we’ll continue to co-operate.

The future

I’ll be making a second transition myself. Later this month I’ll join the analyst relations team at CCgroup to help develop the firm’s analyst relations work. My former colleague Suzannah Archibald has brought its analyst relations up to a solid level: unlike most agencies, you can confidently say CCgroup has established a stable, programmatic AR practice with the skilful use of ARchitect and Huddle.

Over the next months, we’ll focus more on the three challenges outlined in this post. I’m especially interested in the last two, since they connect with two threads in the PhD thesis I am completing about analyst relations. The rise of customer data allows analyst research to be automated and transformed algorithmically. The rise of freemium analysts has grown the market for the amplification of analyst relations. Even large vendors now that can point to 10% or more of their sales pipeline being added through this amplification, which acts as a powerful advocacy of analysts by the provider.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

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