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If you have to say you are the market leader, you probably aren't

Forrester analyst extraordinaire and social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang (Twitter handle, blog) recently posted a very useful article How to Translate Vendor Talk into Plain English. Besides Jeremiah’s thoughts in the post, there is also a vigorous debate going on in the comments so read them as well.

 While written for enterprise IT managers getting pitched by vendor sales reps, this is a useful post for AR professionals as well.  Not because it necessarily covers new ground (see our posts listed below), but because it is always important to reinforce best practices.  Even the best can fall into bad habits, especially with PowerPoint.

There is one new example that Jeremiah raises that I want to encourage everybody to check carefully and that is “The Fallacy of Vendor Math.”  This concerns vendor claims like “30 of the Fortune 50 are our clients.” Yeah, so? Probably all the vendor’s competitors could make the same claim. 

One last point. If a vendor has to tell an analyst they are the market or industry leader then the vendor probably isn’t the leader. You can save your spokespeople grief by helping them eliminate this sort of marketing hype.

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SageCircle Technique:

  • AR managers need to develop a checklist of presentation mistakes to use in PPT critique sessions
  • Content developers need to be educated about the best practices for building presentations for analyst briefings, which are very different from sales or press presentations
  • Spokespeople need to be educated about what type of language will derail analyst briefings even if the language works fine with the press or other constituencies

SageCircle clients can download our checklist of presentation mistakes in Word format from the Online SageContent Library or send us an email to obtain a copy. In addition, we recommend setting up an inquiry to discuss best practices for presentation review.

Bottom Line: Nothing will take a briefing off track faster than using “vendor speak” and making unsupportable claims. AR managers should work to educate their colleagues about analyst hot buttons when it comes to the use of marketing hype in briefings.

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2 Responses to If you have to say you are the market leader, you probably aren't

  1. Doug says:

    As someone with a multi-million budget for computing hardware, have to say this is terrible advice.

    A vendor who claims leadership is far easier to champion throughout the organization. When I ask my boss to check out a website with a bland slogan or unclear company overview, it’s makes my job selling a vendor’s product internally much more difficult.

    Be bold, say you’re the leader. But be specific – don’t say you’re the leader in IT infrastructure, say you’re the leader in storage arrays, tax compliance software, etc – trust me it works

  2. Steve says:

    If you have to say you’re the market leader, you haven’t realized that the more ‘au courant’ phrase is that you are the “premier provider” of “superior products and services”. Premier and superior have the added advantage of being conveniently unverifiable.

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