What makes a tier 1 analyst?
Last week, I blogged about “what makes a tier 1 analyst house?” following Armadgeddon’s dismissive views of Canalys. This original article provided the catalyst for some quite thought provoking debate from Dom and Duncan. Personally I think I got the title wrong on my original piece as the focus should instead concentrate on the influence an individual analyst has and not purely what company do they work for.
The analysts that have the greatest influence tend to be those that speak with buyers directly (hence Gartner has such a large number of Tier 1s). Nor is it purely the large analyst houses that have the monopoly on dealing direct with end users. Many niche companies provide excellent value due to their understanding of a local geography or a vertical.
However, it would be naive to think that the analysts who are frequently referenced as experts within the media (something that Gartner is increasingly shying away from) do not have an impact on the buying cycle.
As AR professionals we need to move beyond looking at the big houses and instead consider the multitude of ways that a range of analysts influence a vendors sales function and create bespoke programmes for them. By all means keep the list small to just the ‘tier 1s’ but don’t only look at the usual suspects.
Duncan raised an interesting question regarding just how important media visibility is when tiering an analyst.
…Media influence is weak, and blog influence is very, very low — too small to measure — on business-scale buyers.
To take your examples of RedMonk and Quocirca: are they really ‘top tier’ firms. if they have little direct or indirect views on buyers, and mainly get their revenues from vendors?
On a ranking scale I would agree that those analysts that speak directly with enterprises have far more influence than those that rely on vendors for their income. But does that mean that “media influence is weak, and blog influence is very, very low” – absolutely not.
Apollo Surveys have a great tool that allow you to measure an analysts influence in the market. Taking Microsoft as an example, the analysts that have been quoted the most in the past 3 months are:
1. David Bradshaw, Ovum
2. Bob Tarzey, Quocirca
3. Ed Barton, Screen Digest
19. Nick Jones, Gartner
Notice how Gartner are way down the list. This does not mean that their influence is less than Ovum’s but simply that Gartner analysts are less accessible than other firms.
If vendors did not believe that being referenced in the media or in blogs had a high level of importance then why are they all spending so much money in this space. PR would die-out overnight in favour of AR. We need to understand that if a companies target audience reads that newspaper/blog/journal then it is an important target for any marketing campaign.
With all this discussion about media influence a serious issue has been ignored. Many of the smaller analysts who rely on vendors for their money have an exceptionally large impact in the buying cycle purely because of the advice they give to vendors before products go-to-market. Smaller firms often provide local guidance on messaging that become the rock in which all external communications are derived.
I have been in one such meeting with a self-proclaimed tier 3 analyst that resulted in Bill Gates changing the way he referred to a product based on that analyst’s advice.
To summarise, in order to tier an analyst, we need to look at the individual and establish their influence based on:
1) Providing guidance to enterprise buyers
2) Visibility in the media and online world as experts on specific areas.
3) Guidance they can provide vendors with their messaging.
I am sure there are other areas I haven’t listed so please feel free to add your view.
Filed under: analyst relations, noteworthy | 15 Comments