Influence: it all comes down to money

16Nov07

ARmadgeddon has a great post today on the subject of influence and the changing nature of influence and its impact on industry analysts. The post explains that:

“Influence is difficult to define and even more to measure. Because it is far easier to justify budgets and headcounts on analysts directly impacting deals”

If budget will only ever go to people who can directly show the financial-return of their work it holds little hope for the vendor-focused analysts. Fortunately though, this is not the case. As I have mentioned previously, many analyst companies have found their own niche – be it on market intelligence, messaging advice, media commentary etc – and have made good money out of it.

I am still concerned though. Influence is changing rapidly – some well respected analysts no longer even like to think of themselves as an ‘analyst’.

Richard Holway makes the point that:

the problem with being a trusted influencer, however, is how you ‘monetise’ it.

Once again this comes back to money. Some smart people have tried to explain different ways at showing their online influence (see chart on influence ripples) - even I am working on my own approach.

Perhaps the reason why so many people are questioning the whole aspect of influence is because they need to understand their market worth.

For this reason amongst others I am meeting with Jonathan Carson (president of Nielsen Online International) on Monday to hear about what Nielsen are going to do over the next year.

I will share my thoughts with you about this meeting next week.

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5 Responses to “Influence: it all comes down to money”

  1. Thanks for the mention Jonny. The ripples graph is very nice. However, you have cut an important nuance when quoting us: traditional AR focusses on analysts directly influencing deals, largely because it’s easier to justify budget to speak to Gartner rather than tin-cupping marketing to do white-papers. Our position is not that it is the right way, quite the opposite actually. We’ll come back on the ripples and analyst ecosystem in a later post.

  2. Thanks ARonaut – as it happens I think the problem here was that I didn’t make myself clear as I completely agree with you.

    I don’t like the current model even if it is easier and believe it is a very short sighted approach. AR should always pick the right company for the right output regardless of whether they are tier 1 or 3.

  3. 3 Jon Collins

    I think “not thinking of oneself as an analyst” is codswallop, frankly, as it is all about the term and nothing about the function. Analysts serve to deliver a useful service to others – namely analysing – which is great for people who don’t have time to do it themselves. I know, good analysis doesn’t mean a jot if nobody’s reading/listening to it, so of course influence is important, but again as a term it distracts from the service provided.

    …from which we can surmise that influence without analysis is just punditry. If vendors want to pay for influence, so be it and (as Richard points out) its an increasingly crowded market. I also believe however that people will want to pay for analysis, because, while opinion may drive fashion, it is the facts that shoud drive decision making.

  4. …influence without analysis is just punditry…while opinion may drive fashion, it is the facts that shoud drive decision making

    Great point Jon – this statement especially really hits home. Perhaps this should be a banner for all those out there who are there who are competing with analysts without the knowledge to do the job properly.

    Honestly, I think the analyst community could do with some PR as everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion to sell recently.


  1. 1 (r)evolving analyst ecosystems « Technobabble 2.0

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