ARcade » Digital AR Weblog maintained by Hill+Knowlton Strategies\' global Analyst Relations team. Wed, 30 Nov 2011 02:40:13 +0000 en hourly 1 Speaking at Forrester AR CouncilTel on Digital AR This Thursday Tue, 27 Oct 2009 21:00:10 +0000 Ruth Busbee

Technology purchase decisions are impacted through a variety of communication channels—digital, analysts, media, word of mouth and others—and the influence of those channels is merging. We’re going to be discussing why it’s critical to understand the rapidly evolving influence industry analysts have on sales and reputation through digital channels such as blogs, Twitter, social networking, and vendor web sites.


This Thursday morning (October 29 at 8:30 am PT), I’ll be presenting at the October Forrester AR CouncilTel with my boss, and H&K Global Tech Practice lead Josh Reynolds. What questions do you have about Digital AR that we should address?


Looking forward to your questions. I can be found on Twitter @ruthbusbee.


P.S. If you’re not a member of the Forrester AR Council and would like more information about the group, please email



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Report from Orlando Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:58:03 +0000 Joshua Reynolds The technology influencers landscape changes rapidly, and it’s an increasing challenge to know where to prioritize your time — what trends do you follow, which ones do you use to test the waters, and which ones have the most impact on actual revenue? I just finished up at the Gartner Analyst Relations Forum in Orlando where we discussed these very topics, and I am headed next to Gartner’s Symposium in Cannes Nov 2-3 where they will host a European Analyst Relations Forum meeting. I’ve been presenting H&K’s data and insights into how social media, industry analysts and other communications channels are merging, and the impact on B2B sales.

In the four years we’ve published the study, word of mouth and analyst recommendations have always ranked as two of the top tech sales drivers. Rapidly emerging digital channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the ever-growing blog presence are the modern-day word-of-mouth network. We find that the boundaries between digital channels and traditional spheres of influence are getting harder to delineate. H&K recently conducted a study that measured the impact of social media and third-party influencers on B2B tech sales, and explored how the two channels of influence are merging. Among other findings, 44 percent of US tech decision-makers said that analyst commentary on a blog rated an average of 4.5 out of 5 for influencing their purchase decisions.

This continued collision between traditional and digital channels creates new challenges for tech marketers, PR strategists and AR professionals. The universal take-away from my conversations at the Forum are: everyone is focused on learning how to integrate digital channels into their plans. What I find is that some people (or companies) are in early experimental phases with social media, but very few have defined the roles, processes and metrics to make it work.

The other big takeaway at the Forum: Mark McDonald rocks, but he needs new shoes. Mark heads up Gartner’s CIO Council and presented a sneak peak at very preliminary results from Gartner’s much anticipated CIO Agenda report. An hour with him is like a day with 50 of the world’s most informative CIOs. If you want insights into the psychology and politics of B2B buyer’s mindset heading into 2010, nothing beats an inquiry with Mark or a member of his team. But if you do wind up talking with Mark, be sure to offer any advice you have for a less painful way of breaking in a stylish pair of black Italian dress shoes than hiking the grounds at Disney’s Swan resort.

Up next: H&K shares more insights into digital analyst relations on an upcoming Forrester AR Council call on October 29.

]]> 0 Former Forrester Analysts Join Altimeter Group Thu, 27 Aug 2009 19:11:54 +0000 Jay Andersen Big news today in the world of social media and analyst relations!  After weeks of speculation following their resignations from Forrester, Jeremiah Owyang and Ray Wang are both joining their former colleague Charlene Li at Altimeter Group. Jeremiah is one of the most widely followed and quoted social media analysts with more than 50,000 Twitter followers, and his Web Strategist blog is a must-read for social media and community managers. Enterprise software guru Ray Wang is nearly as active as Jeremiah in the social media sphere, as any of his followers on Twitter can attest. He’s blogged at A Software Insider’s Point of View for years and is a vocal proponent of enterprise software vendors embracing social media.

These moves are not altogether surprising. It is yet another sign of the emergence and growing influence of solo practitioners and small analyst boutiques who are exploiting social media tools (Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, etc.) to their fullest to build relationships and influence.  Social media is already allowing analysts to connect more directly with clients and followers than they ever could behind the iron editorial curtain of the big firms. RedMonk figured this formula out years ago, and more recently ex-Forrester analysts Merv Adrian and Maribel Lopez are gaining traction as independent analysts leveraging social media. This trend is backed up by Hill & Knowlton’s annual Technology Decision Makers research , which shows the growing influence of blogs and consumer-generated online media on generating vendor short lists for technology purchases. An additional study into the growing field of Digital Analyst Relations as a discipline further tracks the increasing convergence of “digital influencers” and traditional industry analysts. Hill & Knowlton expects to see more departures from big research firms as analysts see their former colleagues successfully make the transition to solo practitioner or small consultancies.

What does this mean for AR professionals? Well, if you aren’t currently engaged in digital AR then you had better start following your analysts online now—both to see what they’re saying when not being filtered by the big editorial boards at the large analyst firms¸ and to see which ones might be next to make a move.

Today’s news does raise some questions about Forrester’s social media coverage. The firm took a hit last year when Charlene Li, Peter Kim, and Brian Haven all left within a short span. Jeremiah filled the vacuum and took on the mantle of social media guru, but his departure begs the question who will be the next social media lead? They certainly have a deep bench with Sean Corcoran, Nate Elliot, Emily Riley, Rebecca Jennings and others. We also hope that as a consequence Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell, will publish more research as we’ve always admired his work — going back to the TiVo days! This is particularly important as Forrester has devoted considerable resources to cover this segment, including the Forrester Marketing Forum, and we don’t want to see them lose momentum.

In the interim, now is a good time to renew your contacts with other social media gurus such as Gartner’s Andrew Frank or IDC’s Caroline Dangson—and to check out Charlene and crew online! They could just well turn out to be the next Chasm Group of the Web 2.0 era.

]]> 1 Chatting with Gartner Tue, 05 May 2009 17:58:42 +0000 Jay Andersen Last week our US-based analyst relations team spent a lively hour with Jenni Lehman, Group VP in Gartner Research, when she visited our offices to talk about the firm’s research structure, social media policies, and whom to call when things turn south.

If you haven’t met Jenni, she is responsible for research operations including the functions of Research Methodology, Research Agenda Management, Primary Research, Secondary Research, Global Editing, Research Engagement Scheduling, Research Events Programs, Research Workforce Development and Research Business Operations.  Jenni explained how Gartner has six other GVPs of research who have oversight of markets including Servers & Storage, IT Operations, Business Intelligence, etc. while she is charged with creating the framework for repeatable and high-quality research. Yes, her plate is a full one. And yes Gartner pays close attention to how research is created and developed. I might have coined a new acronym when I asked her how their recently launched CCA (Critical Capabilities Analysis) methodology was going. After explaining what I meant (I guess nobody other than me refers to them as CCA), Jenni let us know that client response has been strong and that more than 20 are planned for 2009. We’re curious to hear if anyone out there has had any experience working on a CCA (there I said it again!). She also confirmed that Hype Cycles are one of the most-often downloaded research documents at

While some have rightly criticized Gartner for being slow to have a blogging and Twitter presence, the firm is now embracing digital. Gartner has established a clear set of guidelines for their analysts to follow including avoid inflammatory subjects, don’t post information and advice for which clients pay Gartner, protect and enhance the value of the Gartner brand, and be personable and have fun. The link for their policy can be found here. As a long-time Gartner client we appreciate the fact that they are respecting our rights and not giving away one of our competitive advantages. Gartner has a number of active Twitterers which can be found here. We are encouraged to see Gartner join the conversation on Twitter and in the blogosphere. Jenni mentioned one interesting side effect of social media; analysts sometimes blog about subject areas outside of their core focus. When they do, they need to be careful that what they post does not contradict what Gartner has officially written on the subject. It might be a good best practice to search across the Gartner blog network to see if analysts you don’t normally follow are writing about your company or market. And finally, Jenni confirmed our suspicion that Gartner tracks blog readership to see which analysts are getting the most hits. A little friendly competition amongst the analyst ranks is alive and well.

And finally we talked about the role of Ombudsman, which Jenni referred to as Gartner’s Switzerland. If a vendor has an issue with published research, including blogs and Twitter posts, they are urged to take it up with the Ombudsman to address the issue. The Ombudsman’s main goal is to be responsive to end-user and vendor issues to maintain the company’s integrity, evaluate research for balance and objectivity, and deliver visibility into Gartner’s research process. It’s a lofty goal and our team has experience with the process. We’d be interested in hearing about anyone else’s experience.

Overall it was a great meeting; as an AR professional with a library research background I found it a fascinating look at what goes on behind the scenes at Gartner research. We’re hoping to meet with other folks responsible for research agenda at other leading industry research firms. Stay tuned!

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Is this the future of analyst relations? Tue, 28 Apr 2009 15:53:35 +0000 Ruth Busbee Digital AR. I’ve heard that term tossed around a lot in the last few months. We’re asked by our clients and colleagues what analysts are using digital communications channels, how they’re using them, and most commonly – what do I need to do, as an AR professional, to understand and utilize these channels? Good analyst relations professionals need to understand the evolving nuances of how relationships can be strengthened as more analysts engage through digital channels.

There’s no doubt that the role of AR manager is changing as social media is becoming more used by industry analysts. Jeremiah Owyang, one of Forrester’s social media analysts blogged last Friday about When Analyst Relations Get Social. He offered several ways AR professionals are changing and summed it up with “What’s the theme here? The role hasn’t changed that much in the traditional sense, but the AR professional isn’t a gatekeeper, instead they facilitate.”

I think good analyst relations managers have always facilitated and not been gatekeepers.  Social media interactions allow another touch point for AR managers and those they manage to connect with analysts on both personal and professional levels. AR managers need to understand how their spokespeople, customers and colleagues are interacting with analysts through digital channels and provide guidance and guidelines to help create or continue a productive relationship.

The basics of smart AR remain the same-inquiry and listening, engaging in dialogue around issues, prioritizing and looking for efficiencies of scale, maintaining meaningful relationships, and being smart about metrics. But now there are digital options for each, and before you dive in, the first step is to find out how your analysts-and your customers-are engaging online.

While I don’t think Digital AR will replace traditional AR – there is a need to evolve AR programs and increase understanding of this communications channel. How are you evolving?

Here at H&K, our AR team has developed a methodology and built best practices around Digital AR. Please contact me if you want to continue this discussion. You can also follow me on Twitter @ruthbusbee!

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