Prolific blogster and all-round industry pundit Vinnie Mirchandani asks whether the IIAR's definition of the analyst is outdated. He also begs the question whether my good friend Ray Wang, who has recently left research firm Forrester, will repeat his honor next year. Unless old-school PR executives get with the changing times, somehow I doubt it.
Vinnie goes on to declare "seems like AR (Analyst Relations) folks want to cling to a narrow (and shrinking) definition of market influencers." I didn't even feature in the top 3 services analysts, despite the fact there are 45,000 RSS subscribers to this blog and my calendar is booked solid until well beyond Labor Day with client meetings (but I promised my wife to keep my ego in check, so will not venture further with my little dig here…). I haven't even heard of these "top 3" guys… but they seem to be "influencing" far more than I seem to be. Maybe I need to get myself double-booked next time?
To cut to the chase, our marketing agencies need to broaden their horizons beyond stale analyst models and look at who is really influencing the decision-makers. My firm AMR Research, for example, has a huge subscriber-base of Global 1000 clients and a deep vertical focus, but didn't get a single mention, while none of the sourcing advisors, such as Alsbridge, Equaterra, Everest or TPI get viewed as industry influencers, despite playing pivotal roles in influencing and brokering many of today's outsourcing and services engagements. Meanwhile, some analyst firms which focus predominantly on procuring vendor business - not buyers – get mentioned in these ratings. And none of the industry's top bloggers get so much as a mention. Analysts should be rated on the following criteria:
1) Market visibility (blog traffic, press quotes, research report downloads, speaking gigs, webcasts etc);
2) Vendor-selection influence (number of actual deal-flows influenced, number of user clients);
3) Quality of buyer-focused research (new ideas, unbiased thinking);
4) Respect from vendors;
5) Respect from buyers;
5) Proven industry longevity.
As many of the analyst "rock stars" leave the traditional analyst industry, such as Ray and, even more recently, star social-media analyst Jeremiah Owyang, isn't it time for marketing and PR folks to look further-afield to identify the new industry influencers? With the new era of social-media upon us, and new entities partaking in thought-leadership, isn't it time for new influencers to be recognized: those people actually communicating with – and enlightening – today's decision-makers?