Question Page

What can we do if there's no Wave or MQ for our category?

Christine Tran
Christine Tran
Quantum Metric VP, Product MarketingJuly 28

This is the situation we're in right now. Our AR program is three years old and it's an ongoing initiative to identify and vet the right analysts, build relationships, and education/inform/influence their research roadmap. Here are a few tactics I'm using:

  1. Identify the analysts who (will) write the vendor guides that are relevant to your category. These usually precede a Wave or MQ.
  2. Write out your Wave or MQ criteria. Plot out your company and your competitors. Keeping those close to your chest :) Having this formulated and vetted internally can keep you and your executive team aligned on the goal and how to get there.
  3. Over time, analysts will churn so you have to keep continuing to build a pipeline of analysts where it makes sense.
  4. Keep communicating the other measures of outbound success (see Q&A on metrics). Those are absolutely important too and great milestones on your way to the bigger goal.
2214 Views
Nikhil Balaraman
Nikhil Balaraman
Roofstock Senior Director Product MarketingMarch 21

Honestly, this is a GREAT problem to have. If there’s no Wave or MQ for your category, then all the more reason for you to be in the top right quadrant once one comes out :)

The first thing I would recommend is identifying which analysts are covering your space generally. Whether or not it’s specific to your category matters less, but having a mapping of who the 2-5 analysts are who might care about your space, and ultimately who might be the ones to create a Wave or MQ is what matters. Next, understand their research. Get your hands on whatever material you can, sign up for a license, attend webinars, and start to think like that analyst. See the market like they’re seeing it, but then also start to work with the analyst, brief them on what you’re building, on how you see the market, ask for feedback on positioning, and especially on competitive positioning. Make their job easier by bringing them customer stories or insights, or even by introducing them to your customers if appropriate.

Ultimately, the relationship you build will hopefully help inform the analysts about your viewpoints on the space and help them understand the market from your perspective, but also their insight will help you build more compelling positioning for the market.

568 Views
Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Atlassian Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM SolutionsDecember 20

As I mentioned in the other answer, even if your market does not have a comparative report such as a Wave, Quadrant, Marketscape, etc. it doesn't mean you should not engage with an analyst firm. These reports typically come out for markets at a certain maturity stage and by engaging with analysts early, you can ensure they have your company in their radar as they start thinking about such a report. 

Especially important for companies in emerging markets are the early days of forming analysts' opinions about the market itself. By giving them information about your product, the challenges you are solving for your customers, and how other players are performing, you can establish credibility with the analysts which will be very helpful down the road. 

730 Views
Michele Nieberding 🚀
Michele Nieberding 🚀
MetaRouter Director of Product MarketingDecember 5

I am actually dealing with this right now! And there is quite a bit you can do to continue building analyst relations despite not fitting into a current Wave or MQ.

  • Take advantage of (free) analyst briefings:

    • Proactively reach out to Forrester and Gartner to set up briefings to let the analysts know what you product does, what major challenges you are solving, why you dont fit into a category, and what you might suggest to be considered as a new category. While they may not have a dedicated report, they might include your solution in relevant research.

  • Conduct Custom Research Reports:

    • Consider commissioning custom research reports from reputable market research firms. This could be analyst based and/or an organization you value the audience of (or host a conference you find value in attending)

    • Share the results and insights with your audience to establish authority

  • Seek Out and Submit Industry Awards and Certifications:

    • Obtain relevant industry certifications to validate the quality and compliance of your product.

    • Showcase these certifications prominently on your website and marketing materials.

  • Third Party Reviews

    • I would also recommend leaning into customer reviews on platforms like G2 and TrustRadius. Because these are actual customer reviews, they can be INCREDIBLY valuable for various uses including website quotes and testimonial videos. Not to mention, G2 also provides amazing marketing materials if/when you rank in your category, which tend to be more expansive than the Waves and MQs.

  • Partnerships

    • Partners can be your best advocates, and are invaluable when used appropriately. They can be an awesome extension to your sales team as they know their customers and want to help them find solutions to challenges other solutions are unable to solve.

517 Views
Jackie Palmer
Jackie Palmer
Pendo VP Product MarketingDecember 12

You should always be researching your competitors even if there is no officially published report like an MQ or Wave. Nowadays there are so many peer review places to find competitive information. You can look at sites like G2, TrustRadius etc to find information that might be valuable for your company. You may need to read individual reviews which can be tedious but could surface valuable swords (places where you can attack them) or shields (areas you need to have talking points on how to handle). Forums like Reddit, Quora, and other industry specific community sites (Pavilion for sales and marketing for example) are also valuable sources of information.

You can also conduct win/loss interviews with your customers and prospects. You'd be surprised at what competitive information you can get from a recently closed customer or sometimes from a prospect who is willing to talk to you or a third party about what they liked or disliked about your competitor during the sales process. You can also try to do some "secret shopping" by asking a friend at another company to go through a sales pitch with the competitor.

Analysts, even if they don't produce a Wave or MQ, can also often be willing to answer questions about competitors, though they may not have as much information as if they had gone through a full evaluation.

This is all in addition to attending competitor events (both live or virtual) and deep diving on their websites of course. There are always ways of finding out pros/cons of your competitors!

661 Views
Sarah Scharf
Sarah Scharf
Vanta VP of Product and Corporate MarketingMay 14

Waves / MQs etc are a long pull, and if you are early on in your AR journey they should be far from your mind. Approach initial inquiries and conversations with analysts from a place of curiosity and humility - What are they interested in? How does your company relate? What adjacencies do they see between your company and areas they cover? Over time, you can use their feedback and input to shape your own positioning and category definition. Who knows, in a few years you may create a totally new MQ!

501 Views
Sam Melnick
Sam Melnick
Postscript Vice President Of Product MarketingJune 6

This is a fun, but challenging question. If there's no Wave or Magic Quadrant (MQ) for your category, long-term and strategic thinking becomes incredibly important. Here are some approaches to consider:

  • Play the Long Game: Understand that establishing recognition in a category is a journey that typically spans 2-4 years. Be ready to commit to a firm and analyst practice for an extended period, getting placed doesn't happen in a single cycle.

  • Explore Adjacent Categories: Look for existing reports/categories where you can position your company as a part. Being included, even if it's not as a top-ranking company, can pay dividends if you're called out as exceptional in a specific niche. This can add to your competitive positioning and visibility in the market.

  • Cultivate Analyst Relationships: Build strong relationships with industry analysts. Provide them with valuable insights, learn from their perspectives, and engage in meaningful discussions. Analysts play a crucial role in shaping market perceptions and can be valuable allies in gaining recognition. They are human as well, they want to work with interesting and smart people!

  • Start Small, Aim High: Begin by aiming to be included in reports or analyses that may not carry the same weight as a Wave or MQ but still contribute to your visibility and competitive standing. Every inclusion adds credibility and opens doors for future recognition.

There really aren't shortcuts here, you need to take a patient approach, but it can pay off in the long run, particularly in the enterprise space!

541 Views
Chris Glanzman
Chris Glanzman
ESO Director of Product Marketing & Demand GenerationAugust 2

Treat it as a category creation opportunity! Analyst firms have their place, but they can also hamstring your creativity when it comes to positioning your offering and differentiating from competitors. You don't currently have that anchor to carry. Enjoy your extra flexibility! I’ve even seen some companies effectively create their own market landscape framework to create commanding buyer’s guides and compelling ad creative.

303 Views
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