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.


8 Responses to “Should AR participate in online conversations?”

  1. A thousand times yes 🙂

    The only thing that takes a while is mindset change. Participation can be quite slick.

  2. The core of any type of relationship management role is communications. The AR person already uses email, IM, Web conferencing, the telephone and face-to-face meetings to converse with analysts. “2.0” media are just another means by which to converse. The key differentiators between 2.0 media and “traditional” media are the tenets of the 2.0 world–connectedness and trust.

    2.0 is not about information management (or overload in the absence of management); rather, it is about building communities. Respond to Jeffrey Mann’s tweet “Jeffmann: What can I say in 2 minutes that will thrill and inspire 2000 people at the #Gartner symposium?” and you’re part of Jeffrey’s community.

  3. Agree that there are huge pluses for analyst relations (AR) by conversing with analysts’ via social media (see link to a post below for one of my examples). One big positive for early adoptors is the competitive advantage they can achieve. I emphasized this yesterday when I was presenting to a major vendor’s AR staff offsite. Seemed to resonate quite well.

    Also agree that many of us heavy blog/Twitter users have been drinking the kool-aid and don’t appreciate how daunting the this all seems to many people. That’s why I try to encourage people to take baby steps with social media so that it does not feel overwhelming.

    “Because analysts are increasingly using blogs as development platforms, AR has to participate to be part of the conversation”

  4. Hi Jonny

    I agree that online conversations are something to be embraced by AR but there are quite a few who are paralysed by fear, want to do something but don’t know where to start, or (and the ones I personally have little patience for) are in denial and just hoping the ‘problem’ will go away.

    If you look through the comments on my Open Reasoning post a couple of weeks ago entitled AR guys struggling with blogs, you can see a couple of the mindsets coming through. The general consensus though, is for the need to embrace, but I guess the AR people who comment on blogs are generally the ones who are on the way, so the question is how to reach the other ARs out there who are unlikely to see the kinds of discussions we are having here.

    I think your training course is a great idea – but 5 minutes a day? My own feeling is that there is a need to make AR 2.0 n antegral part of how you operate, rather than treating it as a discrete task. And before anyone starts bleating about whether this is possible, just go onto Twitter and see how the forward thinking ARs are monitoring/engaging pretty much throughout their working day.

  5. AR training on social media information overload is a great idea. I didn’t realize you were running a class!

  6. I’ll be very clear on this as an analyst. If you want to influence me, be in a conversation and dialog with me, in person, online, and wherever I go.

  1. 1 Training Course - How to manage AR 2.0 information overload « Technobabble 2.0
  2. 2 Top analyst twitterers / analyst twitter index « Technobabble 2.0

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