Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

It’s the quality of the quantity that counts…..

November 30, 2010

I picked up on Forrester AR discussion about examples of the quantified business value generated by AR. (see for full details.

Kevin Lucas was after examples of:

  1. AR primarily delivered the business value alone
  2. AR delivered the business value in tandem with others. In these cases, was some mechanism used to attribute a quantifiable proportion of the business value to AR and, if so, what mechanism was used?

 So here is what I came up with:

  1. Prior to a briefing beginning with a former client the analyst begun the session by saying ‘I have a call with a current client that wants to know if they should renew their contract with you and they are asking me to advise them. By the end of the briefing I need to know how to answer them’.


Kevin’s questions to this: How did the vendor know that any subsequent renewal was caused by the analyst? And, if they had such evidence, how did the vendor assign numerical value to AR? For example, did they assign all the renewal value to AR? Did they feel that there were other renewal contributors and, if so, did they apportion value among the contributors?

My response: I was with the European MD he did not ask the analyst the name of the account, nor follow up with the sales, so no precise value was assigned to AR. But it certainly reaffirmed to the MD in case he was in any doubt of the importance of briefing analysts as they do have a direct impact on sales decisions.

  1. An analyst who provided a vendor I was working for with a set of leads as a thank you for research the vendor had provided him that helped him with his presentation.


Kevin’s questions: Did this vendor use a provisional sales order size as the value of each lead here or did it only assign value if the deals were closed? Leads aren’t always easy to size financially, because so much can happen to the deal size as it migrates down the sales funnel, so did this vendor manage to assign a value to them? I’m guessing that, in this case, all of the business value here was attributed to AR, or did AR face any challenges even when claiming that?

My response: Some more context the organisation in question is 100% channel focused so all leads generated are fulfilled by the channel and all marketing activity is designed to generated leads to then be fulfilled upon. In this case the leads where provided directly to the marketing team to then work on further for ultimate fulfillment. AR was not concerned with the conversion ratio or revenue generated from the leads. For the organisation this has been by the most concrete value of AR to date. Again the key metric is the generation of value not the quantity of the value – hope that makes sense.

  1. The sales person asking for analyst reports to help close a deal


Kevin’s question: Here again I’m interested to know how much value was attributed to AR. Did the vendor know whether the report was the deal clincher or was it just one factor of many? Did the vendor attribute all deal value to AR or did it attribute only some because other players, like the sales force, were assumed to be contributors to bringing the deal in?

My response: On this one the aim of AR was to fulfill the request demanded by sales and not look further into whether the deal was won or lost and the extent to which the AR coverage caused the deal to be successful or not.

The take away from all these examples is that, in my view there is a limit to the exact $ or % value you can assign to AR. You remind me of the 50% of my advertising is effective but I don’t know what 50% adage. My feeling on measuring putting ROI/value to AR is that there is value in all of the interactions with analysts and their firms but it’s all about context and business objectives, which in many cases are relative to the company and the individuals involved.

A couple of other scenarios to consider:

An analyst that tells a CEO that a business model is flawed and going down that route could spell the end of a company – what value do you put on that?

The analyst that suggests a vendor to partner with and that comes to fruition what value do you assign to that.

Currently I am doing a lot of work with emerging startup companies and the AR experience I find is very, very, different from established vendor (sorry all I have a habit of stating the obvious). With an emerging company you get a lot of time with the decision makers. Rather than specifics AR has a HUGE role to play won’t bore you with the details but although the value in most instances is not quantitative (sorry, frustrating for you I know) there is NO way that AR is forgotten about. My view is the AR needs to look at ways in which it can add value which links back to your paper on Engineering AR, for me working in the world of startups I find that every ounce of AR must deliver value however you define it.

My final point on this one AR is an art and science; if you measure everything you take the art out of it. Social media and marketing measurement software is starting to provide the data, but there must always be a place for intuition and personal relationships.

Look forward to hearing your comments on this one.



Another Tweet to browse?

November 26, 2010

Long gone are the days when Twitter was merely to let everyone know when you were having a coffee Now its a crucial channel/business tool. I’ll leave it to others to debate the metrics and theory.

Recently I have used a great tool called row feeder which collects all of the Tweets for a word/term and enables you to analyse the content.

The upshot it’s another channel to monitor and no event  is complete without a Twitter hashtag on it. What happens to the event is that analysts tweeting when not there, attendees provide commentary/analysis on an event while it is going on not after. Other people join in the debate who are not analysts at all.

The result is that the event organiser (AR pro) can also become an editor to amend tweets that don’t have the event hashtag and as result will in some instances keep the debate going if people forget the hashtag. 

This makes events more dynamic for all concerned.

Twitter yea not

February 9, 2010

My thanks to Dominic Pannel for introducing me to Twitter. Having been slow to the blogsphere, I guess I was somewhat slow to this fab Web 2.0 application. This tool and I am sure there are others, clearly provides a new dimension to AR, but one thing I am mindful of, is that nothing replaces investing in professional analyst relationships and getting a clear understanding of exactly what each analyst is after and more importantly what there are not. Might be an obvious point but I have always been a big believer that while technology is an enabler/enhancer of relationships it will never replace the human element which great AR professionals are valued most for.

Feb 2010 now Twitter is mainstream and the issue is not whether it is used but how to use it. I remember years ago a senior Microsoft executive telling me about he did email ‘I spend two hours a day doing mail. One hour in the morning and one in the evening. In between that I get my day job done.’ For me that is how I now approach Twitter it’s not the sound of the alerts that breaks my concentration (I am an avid Tweetdeck user) rather being in a constant state of alert about who has tweeted what. Maybe I can’t concentrate but I now find having Twitter on a lot like working with the radio on – there is a lot of background but every now and then there is something you need to stop and concentrate on.

Ti’s the season…

February 9, 2010

Nothing festive in this blog, after all summer has just begun. I have been working in AR for a while and one of things that struck me recently is how AR changes depending on the life cycle stage the company is at. It sounds obvious but the AR needs for a start up are radically different from those of an established vendor but not everyone sees it that way. As the nature of analyst influence changes so does the way AR needs to be done for companies at different points in their evolution. Some classifications:

Start up – finance and noise centric AR
Challengers – challenge based AR
Established – status quo AR

Having some classifications in place really helps with driving what sort of programme is delivered. Well it has for me.

Does size really matter?

February 9, 2010

There are some who make a big play on the size of an analyst database or target list. The inference being the more on the list the better, as the greater the reach and hence influence. Sure the list may tiered but does size really make a difference? My view is that its the quality of relationship and for that matter the ability of the AR practitioner to foster the right sort of the relationship that really counts and of course understanding exactly the way the connection should be utilised to help grow the clients business. So in AR (in my view) size doesn’t matter but relationships do.

In Brands We Trust

February 8, 2010

What strikes me most about branding is the role that trust plays. The theory about branding is it that a brand is a source of value – the vendor can charge a higher price as the consumer is prepared to pay, they can assign a balance sheet value to it (I’m not an accountant but the calculations are pretty standard), and the consumer has the status of the product/service.

But trust is the key to a brand, consumers feel they can trust that the product/service will deliver on what is promised and the vendor has trust that its offering is an accurate embodiment of what the company has invested be it in capital or human investment.

Looking at it from an AR perspective trust is the key. AR agencies or PR agencies offering AR have to gain the trust of analysts and this is effect defines their brand. AR Professionals that analysts can trust are the ones who can then offer vendors a more valuable AR service. After all trust also underpins relationships which is what AR is all about

Feb 2010  the only thing to add on this one is that social media blogs/tweets have expanded the scope of a brand and the risk of it being destroyed. Increase the channels, increase the brand reach, increase the risk, increase the opp.

Please can I have some MOAR?!

February 8, 2010

There is an old debate in the AR/PR industry on the implementation of AR, should it be outsourced/handed over to an agency or not? In my view the key to this lies in what sort of AR is being delivered, I see a big distinction between Communications Oriented AR (COAR) and Marketing Oriented AR (MOAR).

What is the difference between the two? COAR is by and large one way, and runs the risk of treating analysts as press/journalists i.e. information consumers/re publishers – but no dialogue please, unless the feedback is positive, while MOAR is a two-way relationship based approach that looks at the inherent value of the analyst, the capability of his/her firm compared to the current and future business strategy of the vendor/business unit.

While it looks like I am playing with TLAs or FLAs, pulling off MOAR is as hard as any attempt an organisation makes at being Marketing Oriented. But I am always up for MOAR!

Feb 2010 phew at lest this still makes sense to me, the only think I would add is that understanding the value analyst firms/analysts can bring to the business is even more important than ever, especially given the consolidation in the market since I wrote this last post.

Influencer Marketing and AR – coming to an agency soon?

February 8, 2010
Having read Duncan Brown’s article on Infleuncer Marketing in the recent The Marketer publication, I wonder how long it will be, before the AR community start to offer this discipline? I just hope it is real Influencer Marketing not rebadged AR. Only time will tell.
Feb 2010: Funny reading this again and thinking how  mainstream the term Influencer Relations has become. My views on this is that it is very unlikely for agencies to offer this, not unless they are totally dedicated to IR i.e. influencer50 
as for the mainstream PR agencies and or even the AR agencies I think it is too much of a jump from current services offered. As for vendors that is a different matter altogether as there is the clear visibility (or should be) between marketing and sales which is where influence is so crucial. However to really embrace Influencer Relations marketing folks need to think broadly and past the tried and tested – which again is not always a mainstream approach.
Will things change? Not likely.

New blog site … new blogs

February 8, 2010

I have finally arrived at the wordpress so I thought I would re publish my olds posts from the old site. As I started to look at what I wrote I thought I would provide a little update based on my current views/opinions. As always looking forward to comments/thoughts/feedback.