Industry analyst relations are a vital part of many client engagements at Schwartz MSL.
Distinct from financial analysts, who impart investment advice, industry analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester and IDC – and dozens more like Yankee, EMA, Frost & Sullivan and Ovum – have a big impact on our clients. In fact, at one time or another, most of our clients enter into paid relationships with one, or more, of these firms. Here’s why:
Analysts influence technology purchasing decisions – Studies suggest that the top industry analyst firms influence between 40 – 60% of commercial technology sales. Whether its research into market size and the competitive landscape or paid advice to inform IT purchasing decisions, suggest strategic partnerships and steer product development, companies spend millions each year on industry analyst firms.
Analyst reports like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports are among the most influential sales tools on the planet. Don’t believe me? Do a Google search on “Leaders Quadrant” and the press release headlines that emerge will reveal how much tech’s biggest names covet being on Gartner’s short list of “upper right” vendors where exceptional “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision” collide.
Analysts can provide valuable feedback and a reality check – You don’t need to be a paying client to secure an introductory industry analyst briefing. In fact, briefing the analyst community – under NDA if necessary – can provide valuable feedback before you go to market with a new product. They’ll let you know if you’re drinking the Kool-Aid, or truly on the verge of a technology breakthrough. Analysts are typically sharp, steeped in your industry and have been briefed by the competition. They have a perspective that is worth hearing. If they are impressed, they can be valuable references and validators for the media down the road. If not, they will often tell you so.
In many cases, the biggest value an analyst firm can provide a start-up is through unvarnished perspective on the competition, the desirability and uniqueness of your vision/product, and often strategic advice on target customers and partners. Perspective on market trends you should be following is another bonus.
Analysts can provide the halo effect of credible, third-party validation – They can be hired to help create content and research on your behalf, they blog, and are frequently quoted in the media. People listen to their opinions. If you have a stand-out product in your market, it makes sense to let this influential community know about it. Analysts can also be a part of the PR mix – by providing references for the media, press release quotes (policies vary) and positive coverage in their research reports. They can also join you on panels at industry events and several firms are known to give out industry awards.
Other things to consider when engaging with industry analysts:
Once briefed, update them regularly – Create a quarterly newsletter geared towards industry analysts covering your company, technology and market sector. Schwartz MSL has created many varieties of analyst newsletter, including video analyst updates. Areas to focus on include recent company news, stand-out media coverage, infographics, ROI-driven customer case studies, executive Q&A’s focused on industry trends and predictions for the future, awards received, and a round-up of industry events you’ll be participating in.
Understand what they’re thinking – Social media provides a window into what analysts are thinking, what topics interest them most, their research agenda, upcoming webinars and events they’ll be participating in. Before briefing or otherwise engaging with an industry analyst you’re trying to influence, it pays to not only review their most recent research but also follow their blog and Twitter feed, and research where they’ve been quoted in press releases or the press. Some analyst sites, like Gartner.com, enable you to set automated alerts on relevant topics and analysts.
Don’t forget the smaller, niche or specialty firms – Gartner, Forrester and IDC are the big firms on the block, but there are numerous specialty firms with influence and deep industry expertise, like Chilmark Research, who are focused solely on the healthcare IT market.
If you have further questions, or want to learn more about industry analyst relations and the programs we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
By guest blogger Joe Palladino, Senior Account Executive
With the International CTIA WIRELESS 2010 show in full swing, the floor is buzzing with new uses for wireless technologies and the need for increased bandwidth. Wireless technology has become a component in virtually every industry, and we can clearly see that CTIA is embracing the many verticals finding its new capabilities, efficiencies and revenue streams. Now we just need the bandwidth to handle it all.
CTIA Chairman Ralph de la Vega, also the president and CEO of AT&T’s mobile division, addressed mobile broadband, next-generation networks and the need to increase wireless bandwidth. In his keynote speech, de la Vega noted that the FCC is working to increase frequency spectrum, but predicted that we’ll outstrip even the capabilities of the new frequencies in short time. Carriers will need to redouble their efforts to get next-generation networks in place to meet increasing needs as virtually every industry moves toward wireless solutions.
By guest blogger Avi Dines, Director, Accounts & Digital Content
I’m sitting 1,300 miles away from VoiceCon Orlando, but feel as connected as ever. The news deluge from the event, including articles, blogs and tweets, along with live TV feeds from conference keynotes provides a good flavor for the conference activities. Keeping track of Schwartz clients as well as other industry players has never been easier. Here is a sampling.
Schwartz client Digium continues to turn heads and impress with its Voice over IP Unified Communications solution Switchvox. ChannelWeb highlights Switchvox SMB 4.5 here. The company also announced the winner of its Extreme Phone Makeover, awarding a new Switchvox Unified Communications system and Polycom® SoundPoint® IP phones, valued up to $10,000, to Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Empirix OneSight also made ChannelWeb’s Top 25 products to see at VoiceCon. The company set the stage for the conference, kicking off with President, Strategic Networks Group, Lisa Pierce's panel on SIP Trunking, and by all accounts it was a lively session discussing the various bugaboos that arise from trying to recreate the consistency of TDM in SIP trunk environments.
Siemens Enterprise Communications has made two announcements at VoiceCon so far. The first is OpenScape UC Server 2010, unified communications (UC) optimized for the data center and virtualized environments. The company also announced a partnership with VMware for virtualized real-time communications deployment. Siemens Enterprise Communications also made a splash with a keynote from Senior Vice President, Voice & Applications Solutions Mark C. Straton, which can be seen – on demand – through VoiceCon TV. Along with informative content about the company and current state of UC, the presentation dazzled with a customer guest, lasers, a video and 3D presentation for attendees.
Kudos to VoiceCon, attendee bloggers and myriad news sources for keeping us up-to-speed with the action on the ground.
By guest blogger Rob Skinner, Senior Media Strategist
Based on the day one buzz, a primary theme at this year’s CTIA WIRELESS 2010 (running today through Thursday, March 25) centers on putting wireless networks to work for more than just voice. For the carriers, this means pushing into device categories beyond handsets, including e-books, net books and tablets.
What’s more interesting to me, however, is extending this theme beyond the consumer. Accenture, for example, is leading a panel on the smarter use of energy, and this year’s show marks the debut of a Telehealth pavilion, where vendors show how wireless can improve patients’ quality of life—arguably far more meaningful areas of the economy than the latest iPhone app or gaming device.
On a personal level, I often ask myself how “wireless” can become synonymous with “sustainability” when my mobile provider sees fit to charge an extra fee for the millisecond bursts that text messages require, even as my family stays well below the allotted minutes on our voice plan each month. Can’t they just count that text as a minute used against our voice plan? What’s so special about it?
But this is the way carriers are set up, to maximize ARPU by any means available. And who can blame them?
Contrast the consumer’s experience with the aims of Schwartz client KORE Telematics, an MVNO that is entirely dedicated to making wireless data connectivity work for many of the applications noted above. As company President and COO Alex Brisbourne eloquently puts it, “We realized in 2003 that application providers simply cannot operate profitably under traditional plan-based pricing, and introduced the industry’s first ‘pay for what you use’ model at that time.”
KORE is now pushing this concept one level further with a new rate model for wireless data that self-adjusts according to the customer’s usage patterns. They call it IntelliRate, and KORE believes that bringing the price point of wireless data services more closely in step with commercial bottom lines allows wireless innovation to move more doggedly toward fostering sustainable businesses. The strategy is sound, and I look forward to seeing how it takes hold in the market.
A recent post in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy's "Running A Hospital" blog focuses on social media policies at Boston-area hospitals.
The story follows reports that one local hospital recently instituted a six-month social media ban (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace - apparently not LinkedIn?) that will remain in effect until a policy is developed for its use and employee monitoring tools are put in place. Other area hospitals also block social media sites, citing HIPAA compliance, patient privacy fears and concerns over workplace productivity.
While policies are important, outright bans send a message that the very workers selected to run the hospital are not to be trusted. They also neglect social media's community building, information sharing and brand enhancing qualities and send a negative message to employees from a newer generation of talent who embrace these tools.
Would such a ban preclude hospital administration from creating a fan page that offers compelling news that builds community, pride and results in increased loyalty and perhaps donations? Take a look at the "Healthy Living With BIDMC" fan page on Facebook, which you can also follow on Twitter.
With its more open social media policy, BI Deaconess comes off as a progressive hospital whose CEO embraces technology, is at the forefront of healthcare thought leadership and is dedicated to transparency.
Back in the 1970’s the owners of Manhattan’s Studio 54 described how they chose their evening’s mix of patrons as “tossing the perfect salad.” In that case the salad consisted of hedonists, disco divas, jet setters, moguls and the occasional lucky resident of an outlying borough. Most were left languishing outside the velvet ropes.
This week's Web Innovators Group gathering at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge was a much more democratic affair. In this case, the salad was tossed with a mix of some 1,000 web and mobile entrepreneurs, VCs, Harvard and M.I.T. B-school students, job seekers, reporters and industry analysts.
Hosted by Venrock’s David Beisel, WebInno provides early-stage startups in the Boston area an opportunity to present to their peers and exchange ideas. The evening was divided into three “Main Dish” DEMO-style presentations in the packed Grand Ballroom. Audience members vote in real time for their favorite presentation via their mobile phones.
Meanwhile, the audience could check out six informal “Side Dish” tabletop presentations in the adjoining suites. The evening also included an interactive session on “Raising Angel Financing 101,” led by James Geshwiler, Managing Director of the CommonAngels.
The dominant theme was collaboration, content and social networking for smart phones like the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry. Here’s a rundown of the main presenters:
TripChill™ – A nifty “mobile travel concierge platform” for the iPhone and other mobile devices from the founders of Skyward Innovations, Inc.. TripChill delivers flight status/gate notifications, and, if your flight is cancelled, offers a range of alternate itineraries. If you are stranded, TripChill delivers local hotel and car service choices within set budget parameters. When you land, TripChill delivers an e-mail welcoming you to your destination, indicating baggage claim logistics and even where you parked your car. Release in beta on the Web in August, coming soon to the iPhone App Store.
Local Motors– The winner of the audience’s popular vote, Local Motors answers the questions: What if…We built the car of your dreams? ... It was green? ...We made it in your town? ...We listened? Founder John B. Rogers, Jr. described his vision of building “really sexy cars that people will want to buy” and clicked on a futuristic vehicle that resembled a snub-nosed Batmobile, complete with De Lorean-style gull-wing doors. Did I mention these are fuel-efficient, “green” vehicles?
Crimson Hexagon –The company name comes from “The Library of Babel,” a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. Based on the work of Harvard Professor Gary King, Crimson Hexagon looks at blogs, Twitter feeds, online communities and identifies, qualifies and quantifies opinions being expressed. It looks especially useful for tracking the success of marketing campaigns, political campaigns and monitoring consumer brands (“buzz tracking”).
CEO Candace Fleming demoed the solution by using Sarah Palin as an example. There in easy-to-read graphs were the peaks of concern about the VP candidates’ “policy knowledge” that tracked directly to her prime time network interviews. Wade Roush at Xconomy recently wrote a good piece on Crimson Hexagon, worth checking out.
The “Side Dish” Presentations ranged from InfoMedMD – a personalized, Health 2.0 medical symptoms checker created by Dr. Joseph Bentivegna – to Pixability, an online service that promises to turn your shaky video footage into a high-quality, Hollywood-style production. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from these companies and am certainly looking forward to the next WebInno meeting in March.
The organization also has started a LinkedIn group, which is worth joining if you haven't already.