AR Beyond Evaluative Research: Why Organizations Should Look Beyond The Quadrant

by Nathan Herman

September 22, 2022

AR Beyond Evaluative Research: Why Organizations Should Look Beyond The Quadrant
There’s more to life beyond evaluative research

What do the Super Bowl, World Cup, Tour de France, and Wimbledon have in common? They represent the pinnacle of achievement in each of their individual sports. Athletes spend their entire lives working toward those lofty goals. While they may represent the highest possible achievement, the work an athlete does every single day cannot be ignored. After all, it’s the culmination of all the little things that lead to those moments. Right?

For analyst relations professionals around the world, evaluative research represents our Super Bowl. We hope that the hard work we put in every day leads to inclusion in the Magic Quadrant, Forrester Wave, or IDC MarketScape, among others. While those three reports might represent the ultimate goal, we can’t forget about the other reports that help pave the way.

Just how much research do firms produce?

While no doubt incredibly important, evaluative research only makes up a tiny fraction of the overall share at Forrester, Gartner, and IDC.

Across the traditional “Big 3” analyst firms, a little over 19,000 pieces of research were published over the last 12 months, with approximately 1.8% of those being evaluative reports. This means that the overwhelming majority of documents that analysts publish don’t rank or evaluate vendors, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t critically important for an effective AR program. They help to paint a picture of the evolving market in between evaluative cycles.

So, what else is out there?

A firm’s syndicated research generally falls into one of the following six categories, helping to create a critical mass that eventually culminates in an evaluative report.

Why does this matter?

Now that we know the universe beyond evaluative research is seemingly never-ending, we can begin to leverage our knowledge. 

While it’s understandable that a lot of our attention is focused on showing analysts why we deserve to be evaluated among the best, only focusing on that means we are missing out on many potential program-changing opportunities. Let’s talk about a few of them. 

  • Value goes both ways. The ideal relationship with an analyst is symbiotic. You can learn from them through inquiry or by reading their research. On the flip side, they can learn from you, whether through briefing or inquiry. Analysts are life-long learners and are always on the lookout for new and exciting developments. You can help them with that.
  • Influence future coverage. Now that you have a fulfilling two-way relationship with an analyst, you might find that your conversations help to inform their future research. Do that enough times your efforts might just help shape the overall direction of coverage in the future.
  • Exposure. Because you are regularly engaging in a two-way relationship with your analysts, you may find that you wind up in a piece of non-evaluative research. Or you may find that something you shared, whether a strategy or technology, forms the basis of a piece of thought leadership or best practice research. In either case, increased exposure to potential buyers or end-users is just one of the many potential benefits.
What can I do differently tomorrow?

Commit to looking at analysts and the landscape of their reports holistically. Placement in evaluative research may be, and likely is, the ultimate goal of your AR program, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about all of the exciting research opportunities leading up to it. The true work toward placement is done in the offseason between evaluative reports. At Spotlight, we believe that a world-class analyst relations program puts analysts first and focuses on forging enduring, two-way relationships. When you do that, good things happen. 

We’ve seen it happen. Reach out to our team today to learn more about our products and services that help AR professionals around the world execute best-in-class analyst relations programs.