Monday, November 17, 2008

Playing the numbers game?

I was on a vendor briefing call last week, the aim of the call how to get the most out of the analyst firm as an AR professional. All good and interesting stuff.

When it came to the Q&A bit, I thought time to ask a question and kick things off. The question:

How many end users do your analysts talk to?

In an open forum you get an open response. We have xx thousand clients which mean yy thousand customers. Each analyst speaks to x hundred end users over the year.

A good stat when asked how influential are analysts.

Thinking through this and other conversations I have had with other AR professionals, THE key thing I have always based my AR work on is the extent of influence. The raison d'etre (apologies for poor spelling) for working with analysts is to develop relationships that benefit the business on multiple levels (no I won't expound on this at length - contact me off line and I will be happy to do so). In a non-tech non business environment I explain AR as influencing people that influence customer purchasing decisions.

There are times when having a quantitative approach really helps. (tangentially this in my view explains the power/allure of all things online - I can track it, I can measure it, I can build a business case for it, I can secure budget for it). This kind of data helps BUT it does not provide the full picture, because an analyst 'touches' xx thousand people does NOT mean all of those people will make a purchasing decision based solely on their advice/opinion.

So in short playing the numbers can work some of the time. But DON'T base your entire strategy on it.

3 comments:

sagecircle said...

Marc, Great post. I tweeted about it and got a good conversation going with several analysts.

I also linked to it on the SageCircle blog.

BTW, do you have a Twitter handle? Mine is www.twitter.com/carterlusher

marcduke said...

thanks carter, I now have you on my twitter list!

Anonymous said...

This is all great provided that the analyst firm is honest about the number of end user clients they really have...which not always the case.