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Perspective on analysts and blogging/Web 2.0 from KCG

By June 24, 2009 March 27th, 2018 No Comments

Mike Nikolich passed this article along to me and I thought it was worth sharing. It comes from the Knowledge Capital Group’s AR Insider newsletter.

One thing I find interesting is their evaluation that most analysts are not bloggers. I would tend to agree, and would add that most analysts who do blog tend to cover Web 2.0 and blogging as a topic. In other words, Forrester has a GroundSwell blog to which a few of its analysts contribute, but they don’t tend to have blogs on other technologies.

In any case, if you want to read the article click below the “fold.”

 

 

AR Insider: Four Ways that Blogging and other “2-dot-oh ” Channels Affect AR

HopkinsWilliam S. Hopkins

Wow, what a great case study in FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt).   The perfect storm for making AR folks cringe – an unaccountable, uncontrollable, zero barriers to entry channel for virtually anybody to say things (good or bad) about your companies, products and policies.  Wow, scary stuff.

What we hear most often from our clients is not really “what to do?”, but “should I worry about blogging and other social media…

  • As a part of my AR Job”?
  • Because it influences buyers”?
  • Because it offers potential exposure”?
  • Because the effect of blogging on the analysts”?
  • As an additional channel to communicate”?


How about all of the above?  So far, there are no really good ways of measuring the impact of blogs in general, much less from an AR perspective (however, help is on the way – see below).  Because of this, we in AR are vexed by blogs and the ability of blogs to scare us to death.  But wait, there is good news.  Over the last year and a half of observing, researching and analyzing the blog phenomenon, we have identified the four ways that blogs and blogging impact how you do AR.

Real Analysts that Blog (ATBs)
This one is a no-brainer and quite frankly, we here at KCG can’t figure out the drama.  Blogging is another way for the analysts to communicate.  As part of your job, you have always had to figure out which channels your analysts preferred to use to communicate and leverage them.  This one is no different.  Being new, its impact is not well understood, and there are fewer rules set forth from the analyst firms about blogs than other, more traditional channels. But the rule is simple – if your analysts blog, you care.  There you go.  No drama.

Just how likely is it that your analyst blogs?  Well, not very.  As of June 2009, less than 2% of Gartner’s and less than 5% of Forrester’s analysts blog on a regular basis.  Of those over 50% are first time bloggers.  What does this mean? In real terms:

  1. it is VERY unlikely that your analyst blogs,
  2. it is even less likely that they blog regularly,
  3. many analysts “experiment” with blogging and then abandon it.


Seriously, it isn’t that difficult.  There just are not that many analysts that regularly blog and it’s pretty easy to see if they do.  If your key analysts blog then you need to have a plan for what you do.  You’ll need to understand how that impacts what you tell them and then you’ll need to monitor what they are saying, and know what to do when they say something you don’t agree with. Just like any other channel the analysts use to communicate.

Bloggers who become “analysts” (BTA’s)
This one is a lot more nebulous than ATBs and therefore causes AR pros even more headaches.  I was on a panel on “AR 2.0” back in May and we spent most of our time talking about blogging and how it affected AR.  As part of the discussion on bloggers who try to become analysts, I thought one of our clients summed it up best: “I have to ignore a hundred “analysts” a day – what I need to know about bloggers is if I need to ignore them too? ”  Bingo!  She got it!  Because of the unique nature of blogging, it offers anybody with an opinion the ability to share it with anybody who cares to listen.  Presto! Instant analyst.  The hard part is figuring out who is listening. 

Just exactly who perceives a blogger as an expert?  Your executives? Your salespeople, marketers or engineers?  These are not good judges of the importance of bloggers.  You need to focus on their impact on your customers (both recommenders and buyers) and on the media and press.  If they are respected and read by them, THEN they matter.  We launched two new products in January, a “Blog Index” to identify top ATBs and BTAs and then a “Blog Tracker” to measure the tonality (favorable, unfavorable, neutral) of posts on specific vendors and topics.
Once you know the answers to the above questions, then it’s pretty simple.  Bloggers who truly influence your buyers (few and far between) should be owned by AR, bloggers who are regarded more as exposure vehicles should be owned by PR (most) or Marketing (maybe) and ones not useful to help gain influence or exposure – should just be ignored.

People from your company who blog
Yes, this is one you also need to worry about.  The problem is, you can’t really do anything about it. It is becoming apparent that analysts WILL read your blogs.  They WILL look for interesting tidbits in your employee’s blogs and they will use it to their advantage when they can.  It is much easier for them when you do their research for them!

Now, how many of you have control over what gets blogged and who blogs in your organizations?  None.  This goes way above AR to the highest levels of your organization and will have to be dealt with accordingly. You need to be lobbying hard to senior management to have ironclad blogging policies that limit the exposure your colleagues have to say dumb things in print – especially given the analysts.  So, it IS your problem, but to do anything about it, you’ll have to get help from on high.

Blogging and other “2-dot-oh” channels as communications conduits with the analysts
Last and we think, least, is the use of blogging and other “2-dot-oh ” channels to communicate with analysts.  This one is interesting. Despite the hype (and boy is there some out there right now) social media and “2-dot-oh ” really relates more to how you and the analyst want to communicate with each other, not to any real sea-change in how you do AR.

Not many analysts are using these forms of communications right now and we doubt that many will.  We actually think that good old-fashioned Interactive Messaging (IM – that is SO 1999!) is a much better way of secure, real-time communications with analysts.  If it were my call, I wouldn’t use public “2-dot-oh ” channels (Twitter, FaceBook, etc.) with an analyst much, but I sure would try to observe if my competitors were dumb enough to.  Most social media have ways of having “private” conversations, but why bother? There are so many other ways that work just fine – phone, email, IM, etc.

The bottom line?  Have a plan for handle each of the above situations.

  • If an analyst from an established firm blogs about you – know how you’ll handle this additional channel.  
  • If a blogger gets enough exposure to your target markets to become influential to you target buyers – then add them to the appropriate analyst tier.  
  • If an analyst wants to communicate via twitter, etc. – then invest time to learn if it makes sense.
  • Finally, if your own people blog about your company and its products/services then have a clear policy in place to make sure damage is limited.

Want to talk more about how blogs, bloggers, blogging and “2-dot-oh ” channels affect AR?  Give us a call at 512-334-5943 or email us at inquiry@knowledgecap.com. We’ll be happy to chat.  Also, be on the lookout for more articles on the subject to come!

 

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