Should AR participate in online conversations?
I have just returned from a couple of days at Forrester’s IT Forum where I was part of a panel session that discussed AR 2.0. Sometimes I think I have drank too much kool-aid so this kind of peer discussion helped me understand how most AR pros view their role in an ecosystem that is evolving to incorporate a host of new social media tools.
The simple answer is fear. Fear can be good – in the FUD factor, there is a clear reason why it is listed first – as a motivator to getting people to change their behaviour, fear can be an overwhelming force. Specifically though, the reasons why I sensed why this was the core underlying feeling was due to the questions that were asked – these were:
I am stretched to the limit – how can I hope to monitor another form of communication?
It is clear to me what I should do if I disagree with an analyst report – but what process should I follow if I disagree with a blog?
What about the analysts who don’t blog under their companies name but comment on issues on their personal blog – is this my responsibility too?
We discussed all of these questions (and more). However, what is very clear from these questions is that they are all focus on the negative instead of the positive aspects of engaging in online conversations with analysts. (I will write another post shortly that aims to answer all of these questions but for this blog entry I am going to be concentrating on the advantages of AR 2.0.)
The clue to the positive aspects of engaging with analysts online is in the title… conversation. The main difference between web 1.0 and 2.0 is the change from broadcasting fixed information (similar to a report) to participating in discussions with people about mutually interested areas.
When you stop to think about it – the benefits are huge, for example by monitoring what your core analysts say you will be able to understand what they are thinking, what is important to them, what they are interested in and what they want to know. The example from Jeff Mann from Gartner on Twitter is a great example – don’t you think this would be a great time to engage?
As an AR pro this intelligence is vital – too often people forget that the ‘R’ in AR stands for ‘Relations’ and we are in the relationship business and this knowledge is gold.
There is more of course, I have been told many times that analysts use online tools to help shape their thinking well before a finished report comes out – how good would it be to engage with the analyst early and contribute (and possibly help direct) the way they are thinking. And of course this would happen well before it is too late and a report gets published. The diagram below is my opinion of how some analysts use online tools to help shape their reports.
Of course there is far more to it than the few examples I have listed here. I haven’t even answered here the fear questions that were posed at the panel session at Forrester. I will do so in my next post but also in a training course I am running next month on how to manage the huge amount of 2.0 information to just 5 minutes a day.
Training Course – How to manage AR 2.0 information overload – If you want to attend please email me: jonny dot bentwood at edelman dot com.
The final point to take away from this post is that AR needs to engage in the online world – focusing on the negative aspects (such as how long it takes) is inconsequential compared to the advantages you can gain by using this channel to build closer relationships with your core analysts and as a result understand and engage with their early thinking.
Filed under: analyst relations | 8 Comments