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« Marketing and Innovation DNA | Main | The Psychology of Twitter »

April 17, 2008


Carter Lusher

Hi John,

Very nice post. It’s great when pros in the know encourage startups to pay attention to the industry analysts.

Startups that sell into the enterprise market who do not reach out to the analysts are missing a significant opportunity to raise market awareness and generate super qualified leads at a very cost effective price. I know one management software vendor that devoted all of its marketing efforts to the customer reference program and Gartner. Quite a focused program, eh? However, it paid off with rapid growth without wasting budget on ineffective advertising and direct marketing. This approach led to a very profitable acquisition by one of the major players in the market.

You and your readers might want to check out the SageCircle blog. We specialized in helping all comms and tech vendors – from startups to global giants – interact more effectively with the analysts. Every week we do a post specifically for small companies called Startup Saturday. Here is a link to that series of posts.

Cheers, -carter j

John Oh

Great points, Carter. I think you bring up a very important facet of AR ... that a startups customer reference/marketing program is only bolstered by a strong AR program. They feed each other - and help overall PR efforts also in the process. Also, I probably should've mentioned that there are folks like Sage Circle, KCG and a handful of others that provide a great AR consulting * training services. I've used these services before at a couple companies and it was money very well spent. Thanks for the link, we'll certainly read and learn from it.

Duncan Chapple

A very useful post. I think you're right to stress the difference between high-quality boutiques, with real influence, and small vendor-centric firms who support product marketing. I made some points along those lines here:

Lighthouse Analyst Relations' research shows that two in five analyst firms get most of revenue from vendors. As for the others, their revenue comes mainly from enterprises, but also from governments and public sector bodies, as well as from telecom operators and investors. Take a look at

Analysts' impact on regulators and industry standards seems to be growing, especially in high-growth international markets.

John Oh

I agree with you, Duncan. Thanks for sharing your research. I think the key thing is that both a large firm and boutique serve a need to startups. It's really about recognizing that there are a few paths to revenue. You can enlist help of a very influential analyst to hunt for more deals. Or, you can work with a small shop analyst who doesn't have the "name" or reach but has the deep, dedicated knowledge about your space and help market to customers. But people really need to understand the differences to best leverage each ...

Barbara French

The business experience behind this post shines through every suggestion. I'm wondering though, don't you think it's somewhat unrealistic for start-ups to spend much money on industry analysts? I've watched many develop tactical relationships as part of their prep for each round of funding, but other than that, most seem to be interested mostly in amassing whatever market stats they need for as little money and in as little time as possible.

I too have found the analyst firms most typically the exception to this are Internet Research Group -- also The 451 Group and Chris Shipley's Guidewire / DEMO.

John Oh

I do see what you're saying but I really believe strongly that its ralistic for startups to invest heavily in AR. I think it depends a lot on the strength and skills of the marketing VP. Strategic ones will invest. Tactical ones won't.

I've put up a post in response.

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