The 7 Tenets of the Connected Analyst

Two weeks ago I crossed the one year mark as an industry analyst, in retrospect, I approach the role differently than others before me. Recently, Forrester published a report signaling evolution to the Connected Agency, and states that agencies of yesteryear will evolve from ‘pushing’ messages to ‘pulling’ interactions and faciliating conversations. I know the same evolutionary steps applies to analysts, but to be clear, these tenets are just my opinion, and doesn’t necessarily represent that of any others.

[Rather than analyze from afar, the connected analyst should listen, join, and lead the online discussions in the market they cover]

Social technologies allow individuals to connect and get what they need from each other rather than from institutions –including analyst firms. Rather than analyze from afar, the connected analyst should listen, join, and lead the online discussions in the market they cover. As a result, they will be a trusted first resource to their market, and a profitable investment to the firm.

The 7 Tenets of the Connected Analyst
The connected analyst should:

1) Conduct community based research
The connected analyst’s relationships to the market using social technologies that the research subjects, vendors, and end users are at links reach. The connected analyst will use social media tools to improve the research process by: finding topical hot spots, conducting social research, and then promoting the findings using the same tools. Learn how crowdsourcing helps some –but not all research activities.

2) Lead the online discussion
Industry analysts are paid to learn, think, and provide guidance, as a result a tremendous amount of tacit knowledge is left outside of the reports. In this Google world, thought leadership can be measured by links, and the connected analyst should use social tools to lead the conversations in their marketplace –not just behind “paywalls”.

3) Be an accessible and transparent public resource
The connected analyst listens, responds, and helps the market they are part of. The connected analyst could provide indexes, digests, wikis, and other online resources to help the market find information –include pointing to other sources. The connected analyst will provide a behind the scenes look at the research process, findings, and interesting meetings.

4) Allow for community feedback
The connected analyst knows they can always improve, and is on a mission to constantly increase their insight, as well as improve how they relate to others. The connected analyst should allow for public feedback, ackwnoledge valid criticisms, and improve.

5) Converse with competitors
The connected analyst is on a quest for knowledge, and recognizes that smart analysts are not just at their firms, as a result, the connected analyst will participate in public discourse will fellow analysts, and is always gracious and respectful. Also, when findings from multiple independent research firms point the same direction, this can only reinforce market direction.

6) Be human
The credo of some analysts is to be god, yet ironically, like all humans, come with many faults (just ask my wife). The connected analyst should quickly correct mistakes in public, learn, then grow. Oh, yeah, it also helps to have a sense of humor once in a while.

7) Be profitable
All of the above tenets make the connected analyst more relevant, a public thought leader, and therefore, more likely to be a first resource to their industry and clients. Although laborious, the connected analyst must be a profitable investment for the firm by extending their thought leadership, I make sure this is top of mind.

So how well am I doing? Not that great actually, looking back at my tenets, I need to improve on 3 of the 7 tenets: I should join more conversations where they exist, run a public survey to get market feedback on my efforts as an analyst, (maybe analyst watchers Carter Lusher or Jonny Bentwood will survey on my behalf) and I’m not as accessible and responsive to the market as I want to be, but I simply can’t scale more than I am now.

I look forward to your feedback below, what’s missing? Is this a good approach for analyst firms?