Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marketing for 2009

One of my favorite websites for information on new web marketing tactics is Duct Tape Marketing even though it is supposed to be for small businesses-I find a lot of practical advice and free webinars on hot topics such as Social Media. It looks like that will be the keyword for Marketing 2009. Here are some general tips to help you change your mindset:

focus on your ideal customer
find a unique value proposition
educate instead of sell
be found as opposed to hunt
harness the Internet

One of my favorite authors on the New Marketing is David Meerman Scott--his quote for tips for 2009: David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR said . . . stop spending $$ on marketing. Instead create interesting information people WANT to consume. -

Please feel free to download this free ebook published by MS on Social Media--is basic but does have some good tips:
A free ebook on social media for small business-but there is still some good advice for medium sized businesses.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Should Analyst Relations Focus on Sales?

This is the title of an article by Kevin Lucas, Forrester. The subtitle is: "It's Not Just the Wrong Question-It's Downright Misleading." so you can guess what Kevin's answer is. From Forrester's perspective the real question should be: What corporate business value can AR Deliver and that may or may not be Sales. Forrester's research shows that AR managers felt more confident about reaching goals for marketing and product management.

Kevin lists other values that AR can bring including:
  • Share Value
  • Product and Service Creation
  • Market Awareness and perception
  • Order to Cash
  • Service and Support

His recommendations are:

  1. Clarify which corporate business goals you'll support
  2. Align all elements of your AR program with the chosen business goals
  3. Be realistic about what you can really acheive

My take on this is that all of the above is true-- in a different economic environment; however, many companies are in survival mode now, or worse, and are cutting marketing and AR functions and focusing only on sales and the short term. Although this is not a recommended strategy--that is the reality of the situation right now and AR has to pay attention to the shift.

In light of this, I believe that AR must focus on Sales for at least one of their goals--no matter how difficult it is to execute--it can be done. In addition, the other goals mentioned are very difficult to quantify and if you can assist in shortenting the sales process-that will be noticed and is quantifiable. What do you think? I will discuss how AR can affect sales in the next post. Comments welcome.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New HI-Tech Model for Marketing 2009

We just had a very successful Seminar on The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool for Technology Companies-as a result of the Seminar, one of the participants and lecturers, Moshe Shamir, VP Marketing for IDIT Technologies, wrote the following article on a new Model for Hi-Tech Marketing in 2009
This includes two major strategies: SEO-Search Engine Optimization and Analyst Relations for the best ROI in these troubled times.
http://cafe.themarker.com/view.php?t=735017 (in hebrew)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Globalization of AR

I just got back from the Gartner IT Expo in Orlando. The day before I attended the KCG AR Forum with AR professionals from Microsoft, Siemens, HP, CA, EMC and others. I spoke as one of KCG's Global Partners on the Globalization of AR together with partners from India and Australia. The message was that some things are the same but some markets are very different. The rankings and influence of different analyst groups are very different from the U.S. market; for instance, Frost and Sullivan is highly regarded in some EMEA and APAC markets as is IDC whose on the ground precense is very strong.
Gartner still rules in many parts of the world but we all got in a little Gartner bashing and let out our frustrations about some of the bureaucray and out of touch policies at Gartner. Emily Green, the CEO of Yankee Group gave us a presentation on her vision of the Anywhere world of Yankee and also tried to convince us that firing a significant number of analysts was just an efficiency move.
I was a bit jealous and in awe of my AR counterparts in the U.S. who talked about their AR budgets and teams while in EMEA and Israel we usually have to make do with 10-20% of the Marketing or Marcom Managers time. There are no real AR positions in Israel and even the marketing positions will probably be in danger because of the current financial crisis. I have already heard news of one NASDAQ traded Israeli company who is downsizing their Marketing Team. In the U.S. companies fire R&D in bad times; in Israel they let the Marketing people go because some companies still dont know that it is all about perception (marketing) and not the great technology.
Will blog later this week my thoughts on the Gartner conference...
Highly recommend the KCG AR Forum for any AR professionals that want to network with the best in the profession, learn, and whine a bit about our frustrations with both the analyst companies and our own management....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gartner joins the Blogging Party

Gartner has finally decided to encourage their analysts to get into the Blogsphere and to create a framework for it. http://blogs.gartner.com/
There are 45 analysts listed and 17 of them have not yet blogged. Most certainly this list will be much shorter in a few months.

One of the interesting blogs is not an analyst but rather a promotion for the Gartner book on Hypecycles: MASTERING THE HYPE CYCLE : How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time discussing the use of Hype Cycles.

One interesting use of the blog is Mark Driver who used the blog to encourage participation in one of his upcoming sessions at the Web Innovation Conference:

"Do you have questions related to the sessions I’m hosting at the Web Innovation Conference this week? Put them in the comments here and I will try to address them during the Q&A portion of the session or as a followup blog post after the session."

Carter held a very interesting email interview with Andrew Spender, Gartner's VP of Corporate Communications which reveals the current official answers to your questions about how this is going to work....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pre-Briefings to Analysts for Public companies

Interesting post on the subject of pre-briefings to analysts for public companies on the Hill and Knowlton AR Blog. Although it is considered an important tool for AR professionals, it can be a very sensitive issue with public companies and can involve the risk of revealing confidential information too soon. My solution is to let the lead analysts know in advance that we will publish a significant PR and that they will get the information immediately. We always brief the analysts before any journalist or other media.

Some of Hill and Knowlton's tips for this process:

  • Ascertain how the news relates to that second maxim – will it materially hurt your business if it becomes public knowledge prior to the embargo date? Is your CEO quitting? Are you being acquired by a competitor? If so, then keep it to yourself – though it won’t hurt to give your best friends in the analyst community a heads up to keep their eyes open for the announcement.
  • Pick the analysts you want to pre-brief carefully...restrict to selected Tier One influencers... people who will both act as a source of credible third-party comment to the press and people you want to get closer to because having a more intimate relationship will meet top-line AR goals of driving sales and revenue.
  • Limit the number of analysts you do pre-brief. In most cases, there’s no need to go beyond two or three of your closest friends.
  • If you are talking about a new product briefing, then you should engage the analysts early, at least three to four months before the announcement date. This will provide them with the opportunity to give feedback while you can still actually gain some benefit from it.
  • Then come back to them again for a sanity check a couple of weeks before the announcement. For announcements that are more material, brief within 48 hours of the announcement... and preferably within 24.
  • Diplomatically establish the ground rules with the analyst when asking them if they are interested in the pre-briefing and setting up the call.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great Explanation of the Gartner Hype Cycle

Understanding the Gartner Hype Cycle

Only the biggest and best-run companies actually survive the Trough and get to enjoy the Slope. More often, new vendors emerge to ride the fun part of the Hype Curve while the originators curse them from the sidelines. If you’re a new player, hopping on board during the Slope, congratulations, you’ve mastered the other critical asset: timing (sometimes called luck). Your challenge is to make up for your lack of customers and case stories with a crystal clear vision that matches the accelerating market.

The Hype Cycle can be a new way to think about the marketing challenges you face right now and can throw new light on your priorities. The important thing to take away is that your company does not have to be the victim of Hype Cycle forces. You can do things to control your destiny by getting the right stories to the market at the right times.

One of the tools they suggest is improving your SEO efforts and give some great advice on how to do so: How to be a Google Guru in 30 minutes-How to Improve your SEO

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Israeli Chapter of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations Formed

First Local Chapter of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) to Open in Israel
Initial Meeting will be held at the 19th Annual Regional Gartner Conference in Tel Aviv
June 17, 2008, Tel Aviv, Israel, Today, The Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) announced the launch of its first local chapter, in Israel. The Founder is Nancy Shapira Aronovic, Managing Partner of Gelbart Kahana Analyst Relations. The initial meeting of the Israeli IIAR Forum will be at the 19th Annual Regional Gartner Conference in Tel Aviv where Nancy Shapira-Aronovic has been invited to moderate a Forum on Analyst Relations for the participants of the Conference.
The mission of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations is to enhance the awareness, image and practice of the analyst relations profession globally. There are approximately 70 members from companies including: Avaya, BT, Cisco, Deloitte, Nortel, and Oracle.
Nancy Shapira-Aronovic, “We are committed to supporting efforts to improve the level of professionalism for Marketing professionals in Israel who work with the Global Industry Analyst Groups. Joining the IIAR will provide access to a global network of AR professionals and Analyst Groups which will raise the level of awareness in Israel on how to use this important marketing tool.”
“We are excited to launch the first local chapter of the IIAR in Israel which is well known as a country with a strong and innovative technology sector. We look forward to working with the Israeli chapter to raise awareness of the value of analyst relations and to share ideas and knowledge of AR best practices,” Hannah Kirkman, IIAR.
About the IIAR
Established in April 2006, the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising industry awareness of the value of analyst relations, promoting and sharing best practice in AR, enhancing communications between vendors and analyst firms, and providing opportunities for AR professionals to meet and network with their industry peers. http://www.analystrelations.org/

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What do the Results of the IIAR Survey for Analyst of the Year Mean?

First of all I apologize for being away for so long--I am busy growing my AR consultancy in Israel and starting the Israeli chapter of the IIAR in Israel.

The results of the IIAR Survey foreshadows several things about the future of the Big Analyst Groups:
  1. Being the most important/influential analyst group is not always as important as being relevant.
  2. The little guys (SMBs) are tired of being ignored or priced out of the market with the current subscriber model of the big analyst firms. Red Monk and their analysts are high on the lists probably because they follow their credo: "If you’re used to dealing with analyst firms that nickel and dime you, or ask you to pay for every insight, RedMonk will be a pleasant surprise. We share our learning freely, making our content available at no cost. We give back to variety of communities with both time and money, and always have time to help the little guy. When we say we’re different, we’re not kidding." Another company with the same principles: "One of the founding principles of Macehiter Ward-Dutton was that in order to reach our goal of being a leading advisory company in our space, we needed to be able to reach as many people as possible with our ideas and findings – and that meant finding ways to make our work as "open" as possible. Consequently we decided that all our core research reports should be made available, free-of-charge, to anyone who subscribes to our site.

I believe that this is the future of Analyst Groups and I think that the big guys need to start paying attention....

Your comments are welcome.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Review of Accidental Branding by David Vinajamun

I have been asked to review the book Accidental Branding by David Vinajamun.
It was a well written and enjoyable book about how "accidental marketers" break the conventional rules of marketing to create very successful companies. Some of the entrepreneurs interviewed were from companies like: Burt's Bees, Clif Bar and J. Peterson & Company (a successful catalog company who tried a different, more personalized approach to marketing).

Vinajamun's 6 rules of accidental branding/marketing are:
1. Sweat the Small Stuff--pay attention to details
2. Pick a Fight--take a stand against the existing brand
3. Be your own customer--keep your initial customer instincts
4. Be Unnaturally Persistent--this is probably the hardest part of the game
5. Build a myth--tell a story that appeals to some basic instinct of the target consumer
6. Be Faithful--keep in view your faithful fans and followers even when you become famous

As the author interviews different entrepreneurs, he realizes that many of them starting the product because they were trying to solve their own problems--they were all personally involved with the creation of the brand and they continued to keep the ability to think like real consumers.

He applied three test to create a definition of an Accidental Brand:
1. An Individual who is not trained in marketing must create the brand
2. This individual must experince the problem that the brand solves
3. The individual must control the brand for at least 10 years.

The author also does not discount the influence that luck and timing also had on these brands and gives many examples. One of the examples he gives to illustrate the trait of perfectionist is at Disney World. "You'll see horses in the parades at Disney World, but you will never see any horse droppings. Why? Because Disney realizes that they are creating a fantasy world and that horses doent make a mess in a fantasy world. A lot of work goes into getting these small details right. Disney has networks of tunnels running under all of its properties to the guy with the shovel can inconspicuosly dieappear afer he has--ahem--made the mess go away."

The book gives many real life examples and tries to point out the lessons learned if you want to be an "Accidental Marketer". In this world of new rules for Marketing---there may be lessons in this book for all Marketers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Seminar on Industry Analyst Relations in Israel

I am organizing a Seminar on How to Work with Industry Analysts in Israel on April 28th 8:30-12:00 with speakers from both the analyst side and the user side with case studies and tips on how to get the most out of this important Marketing Tool. I invite you to attend.
http://www.gk-biz.com/ (in hebrew)
Please call me if you have any questions +972-54-4863888

The Future of Analyst Relations and Analyst Groups

Great post on the Future of Analyst Relations by the VP, Analyst Relations for IBM, John Mihalec.
Some of my favorite excerpts:

When asked to describe his job John says: Sometimes I tell people it's like being an attorney in a courtroom with no judge and no rules of evidence, but just a jury….a professional jury that has heard case after case, and they've heard it ALL. And it's our job to bring before that jury whatever facts or logic we can muster to make the case. Because IBM's success in the marketplace depends on it.

His vision of the future of AR:
My vision is that we will help IT analysts to increasingly focus on business issues (not just technology), that we will improve IBM's ability to leverage their output to drive business results, especially in emerging markets, and that we become change agents and allies with them on societal and governmental issues where we have a common view, on behalf of the industry we both serve. And get home by 6 o'clock.

I am really interested to hear from you what your vision is AND if you think that this industry: both the Analyst Industry with the business models of today (subscriber) and AR have a future at all....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Analyst Relations at a Big Company

Analyst Relations from the perspective of an AR professional at a big company (in this case IBM) --good insights on how to navigate the complicated and challenging process of bringing together not only different messages but different parts of the company-and with a sense of humor.

"Coordinating communications across multiple disciplines, to different constituencies and from different area’s of the company and still seem congruent at the end of the day is also sometimes a feat. When it works, it is a charm, when it doesn’t…you wonder if we all work for the same company. Not only do you have message issues can conflict, you have executive issues…..and conflict." http://www.johnsimonds.com/2008/03/analyst-relations-at-a-big-company/

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Are Industry Analysts Objective?

Many vendors think that Industry Analysts can be bought.
According to Bill Hopkins from KCG-the Knowledge Capital Group who are an Analyst Relations Consultancy Firm, "While there is truth to the view that you can buy the opinions of many sell-side analysts (and maybe some Point Players on the buy-side), it's absolutely not true when it comes to Deal Makers and Breakers (Forrester and Gartner)."

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

If you read one book this year, read the New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. If you don't have time for that, you can download his complimentary e-book from his blog.
The Rules have changed for both PR and Marketing and anyone working in Marketing today should start changing their perspective on the new world. Although the old world of print is still important, a shift has begun and cannot be ignored.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Starting a New Analyst Relations Consultancy

At the age of almost 50 (yes that is a current picture), I have decided to do what I love to do and believe in: Advise companies on their Analyst Relations programs and in some cases to create AR programs. I am very excited about my new journey and I will be taking this journey together with my partners at Gelbart Kahana Analyst Relations http://www.gk-biz.com/
and the Knowledge Capital Group (KCG) http://www.knowledgecap.com/ who I will be representing in Israel. More to come shortly.....