Why do AR in APJ?
Anyone involved in the analyst relations business knows that it’s a tough concept to explain – even savvy marketers who’ve worked in the technology business for years find it difficult to believe or understand that there is actually a job which involves providing a bridge between industry analysts & technology vendors. Or a need…
So when I begin a conversation with an AR neophyte, there’s usually three questions in order:
- What is AR?
- Why do AR?
- Why do AR in Asia/Pacific?
I’m assuming that anyone who’s read this far is already across the first two questions, so I what I really want to discuss is the third – why is it important to do analyst relations in the Asia/Pacific & Japan region?
Influence is local
Regardless of the greater level of technical/domain knowledge that might exist among analysts in the northern hemisphere, IT decision-makers ultimately rely on their peers. Those peers may be connected at a social, commercial or academic level, but they are primarily “local.” We trust people we know. Depending on the country, analysts will move up or down the scale, but they will always offer something “outsiders” can’t.
Context is local
Technology may be global, but go-to-market is local. How well a vendor delivers can only be determined at a local level. “Ability to execute” is generally measured at a global level, but there can be a multitude of issues which impact in any given country – and a “local” analyst will be more aware of them than the domain knowledge expert sitting in corporate headquarters or his home office who spends much of his time doing enquiries in his own timezone.
Information silos are universal
Analysts love to interact & exchange ideas with their peers, and most analyst firms are structured to enable that. But they’re not structured to simply disseminate information across their technology focus areas or geographically. When analysts get together, they exchange ideas, not the latest product briefing they received. Oh, and by the way, not all analysts work for global firms…
Global thought leaders live anywhere
Within the largest analyst firms, their global thought leaders might live anywhere in the world, and outside of those firms, others punch above their weight beyond their local markets. They don’t get out of bed at 2am for vendor briefings, so if you don’t engage with them locally, you miss the opportunity to inform, educate & update them.
Insight is local
Not all analysts are good – that’s as true for our profession as any other. But most local analysts will be able to provide good insights into the behaviours & dynamics of their local markets. Dialogue & discussion is part of the analyst engagement “game.” Why not take advantage of that?
This is where the growth is
China, India – two of the world’s largest & fastest growing economies. They are generally unsophisticated buyers of technology, but they’re getting sharper. They’re not historically comfortable with paying external advisors, but they’re starting to understand the value of that. Collectively, Gartner, Forrester & IDC have probably employed more analysts in these countries than anywhere else in the world in the past couple of years. Plus the local & regional firms are growing at similar rates. By they way, those same firms have spent a lot of time & money building up their local sales teams, and consequently their local customer bases. Do you want to ignore that?
Some – not all – analysts in APJ have influence on how & why your customers make buying decisions, and that influence is growing. Increasingly, they are working with their global domain knowledge expert colleagues to provide detailed & insightful advice to their local customers. They are not in all of your deals, but they are in some of them – and generally they’re in the ones that you really want to win.
I know the AR game in APJ well, but I don’t pretend to have all the answers. What have I missed? What else do you need to know about why you should be doing AR in APJ? I look forward to your feedback & questions.