Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: “UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence: A complete guide to analyst influence” by Richard Stiennon

This is not a book for everybody (and your grandmother probably does not need to read it; neither does an average IT professional). However, I think that this book is pure gold for those tasked with interacting with analyst firms.

I am an analyst, and I wish every vendor client read this book and followed some of the advice given there. It would reduce pain on both sides of the conversation, as well as make the interactions more valuable for – again! - both sides.

Obviously, this is not a book to guarantee your IT product a favorable placement in analyst research. It is also not a book on how to bamboozle the analysts, despite its focus on analyst influence. However, it is definitely a book to make sure that well deserving products, developed and marketed by good teams of people, don't get sidelined.

Some of the specifics that I liked include the influence pyramid concept, social media techniques, a careful approach to managing corporate Wikipedia entries, specific approaches to various analyst activities (such as calls, reports, advisory days and conferences), etc. My favorite sections (both fun to read as well as insightful!) are the one on “guerrilla tactics” and the obligatory “what not to do” chapter (the latter has a few sad case studies of IT vendors who screwed themselves up). Another great chapter covers the role of a vendor sales team in both helping the interaction with the analyst firm and avoiding some embarrassing mistakes.

In fact, this book makes me proud to be an analyst. Then again, maybe it is my ego talking as the book seems to project an impression that “an analyst is the most important person in the world“, at least as far as IT vendors are concerned.

Finally, if you are a IT vendor marketer, remember: when you say “holistic," some analysts think “imaginary.” Richard suggests to scrub your presentations of silly meaningless words like “synergy” and “holistic.”

Dr Anton Chuvakin