Hey AR Teams - Do Your Analyst Opinion Measures Lack Context?!?

Posted April 27, 2010 by Thomas Ryan

AR measurement and analyst perception measurement are key topics within the vendor community these days; however many AR programs are missing focus on the most critical aspect of analyst perception – CONTEXT!

Let’s back up and step outside the world of AR for just a moment and look at the big picture. Global markets are increasing in complexity. Markets are poised for revolution; driven by globalization, consumerization, and competition within an economic paradigm of uncertain monetary policies, government interventions, and vulnerable financial markets against a backdrop of rapidly emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and elsewhere. The behavior of one component in complex, interconnected markets can affect many others via a domino effect…think the recent near-collapse of the global economy precipitated by a hiccup in the U.S. housing market.

Complexity increases the criticality of looking at markets as systems versus a collection of discrete products or solutions offered by a discrete set of vendors. And the critical underpinning of a systems view is understanding CONTEXT!!

Market insight must go beyond individual products or solutions. It must address the full context of market trends, market influences, decision drivers, the competitive landscape (including emerging startups and small-cap firms), the overall economic climate and economic drivers, etc. Companies MUST have an ACCURATE vision of this dynamic and increasingly complex environment to increase the probability that their product/solution strategies, implementation/support strategies, marketing strategies, and sales strategies will be successful – in terms of both top-line and bottom-line impact AND ALSO in terms of customer experience and customer satisfaction.

The Analyst Community:
The analyst community comprises a known set of accessible individuals who spend every waking minute working to gain their own insights and understandings regarding these very same factors. Note that this does NOT encompass all analysts, but only identifiable key analysts. Each of these individuals meets with hundreds of real-world customers and investigates dozens of real-world challenges and solutions each year. And because of their “presumed neutrality” they gain access to companies implementing solutions from a wide spectrum of vendors. Analysts (even more than consultants – who tend to work with only 2-4 clients during a year) as a group have the single best overall access to CONTEXT.

So, what does this mean to AR?
To truly add value, your AR function must look beyond merely an outreach campaign designed to influence analyst perceptions. While important, outreach is only one aspect of an AR program’s potential value. Again, CONTEXT MATTERS!!! AR must develop strategies for tapping into, capturing, and communicating analyst perceptions of context throughout the company.

This means:

  • • Contact with analysts (via Inquiry) must have “context capture” as at least one of your pre-Inquiry objectives
  • • Studies that seek to capture analyst opinions must go beyond the traditional “are you satisfied with our outreach” or “are you satisfied with our responsiveness” type of questions. Again, these questions are important, but they wholly fail to capture the exponential value of more probing, more broadly constructed questions designed to capture the analysts’ perceptions (and the analysts’ perceptions of the market’s perceptions) regarding your company’s strategies, alignment with market conditions and trends, competitive positioning, etc
  • • Studies that seek to capture analyst perceptions of context, by definition, cannot be multi-client studies; but must be tuned and focused to capture the context of your company within your markets
  • • Context study results are commonly shared throughout an organization, including specific briefings with product management, corporate communications, marketing, and in many cases, the executive council
  • • While focused on industry analysts (and hence, driven and managed from AR), studies that seek to understand context are increasingly funded out of the general marketing budget
  • • Typical marketing interns, junior marketing employees, or agency staff personnel are wholly unqualified to conduct analyst interviews or to synthesize data and provide direction at this level. Senior resources with deep industry, business, and technology experience are required to probe, to understand, and to place IN CONTEXT analyst responses
  • • AR service organizations that collect data from canned surveys designed to cover multiple markets, that ask simple questions, and/or provide stack rankings, are providing little value for your investment

Make no mistake, Context is Critical!! Ensure your AR outreach and measurement activities include context as a key component. Make sure the resources you use carry the requisite experience and systems-oriented perspective to develop context models to share within your company.

For additional discussion, please contact Rob Kolokousis of ASG at 408-737-2320 or rob@go2asg.com.

Post a Comment