Service Director? What’s That?

November 15, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Analyst biz | 1 Comment

Those of you that have seen me present at a conference, met me and exchanged business cards, or looked at my bio know that my title is “Vice President and Service Director”. I’m not hung up on titles, but I want mine to be descriptive and from my vantage point this one fit the bill. “Vice President” referred to a high level of analyst and “Service Director” said I also run a team of analysts in a research group. Little did I know …

It’s come to my attention that my title often has different meanings in the industry (among other analyst or consulting firms) that causes me some grief. I recently had an e-mail exchange with the analyst relations representative at a vendor that kept trying to sidestep my interest to get at a teammate. For example, when I said “Mike and I would like a briefing” I got emails back saying “To clarify, will Mike be at the briefing?” “Should I call Mike directly?”. After a couple such exchanges I clarified that I actually am an analyst and she admitted “My apologies Craig, your title is a bit misleading”.

In another instance last year, my initial attempt to get press registration to a conference was denied and the approver there strongly implied I was probably administrative overhead:

I’d like to inform you that we do not generally provide VPs and Directors of firms with press passes unless they plan on writing and publishing an article regarding our event or one of our exhibitors. Reason being that press passes are reserved for journalists and analysts who still write and plan on covering our event … If you no longer cover this area or do not write (work mostly as a managing director) …

Apparently from what I’m told, “service director” at some other analyst firms often means a backoffice paper pusher of some type who occasionally tries to swing a free trip by posing as a real analyst. At other companies “services” refers to consulting services, so that title would be for a person that drums up sales for a consulting group. “Vice President” is a bit better, but other firms still use this to designate one as part of the memo monkey class.

So, yes, I am an analyst. I do research, write analyst reports, speak at conferences, do consulting, and give 1-on-1 advice to clients because, well, that’s what we analysts do. While that’s a full plate on its own, I also have a side plate with a serving of management on it. The management part lets me enjoy the hands-on ability to shape what the Collaboration and Content Strategies service does.

On one hand it’s kinda funny and I get past it by sending links and articles. But it’s annoying, extra work, and who knows how many other briefings I’m left out of or how often I wind up talking to lesser people in the organization because of this.

For PR people out there, I’d recommend a simple 2-minute exercise before possibly alientating anyone. 1) Go to the firm’s website and type the analyst’s name to see what content pops up. 2) In your favorite search engine, type “analyst name” “firm name” and see what kind of hits you get on press quotes, webinars, etc. 3) Type “analyst name” blog and, if they have one, see the topic map and then check their authority rating in your favorite blog rating engine.

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  1. […] and information overload coverage because, in addition to my own research as an analyst, I am also service director for a group of analysts that cover communication, collaboration, and content management […]


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