With Symposium season officially underway, we’ve seen an increase in the number of vendors reaching out to analysts with invitations to dinner and cocktail receptions. As you may know, Gartner has some “rules of engagement” for these types of interactions (not limited to Gartner events). I briefly touched on this topic in a previous blog post (http://tinyurl.com/2a69rc8), but it seems timely to issue a reminder.
Vendor events are a great opportunity for analysts, vendors and end users to get together in an informal setting, but we need to ensure analyst participation does not compromise Gartner objectivity. In other words, there can be no potential perception of vendors “wining and dining” analysts or trying to influence their opinions. Before accepting any invitations, analysts look to confirm the requests are not:
- For a pricey venue or exclusive event,
- Purely social in nature, or
- Only vendor representatives and Gartner analysts attending
Again, while we encourage informal interactions, we want to make sure they don’t cross the objectivity line. If you have a request of this sort, please send it to the analyst in advance so that he/she can work with Research Management (and Ombudsman, if needed) to determine if participation is appropriate.
Here’s a case in point with an issue that just crossed my desk: A vendor was having a 1.5-day analyst event, where multiple analyst firms were invited. The agenda was filled with content; the evening activity, while including a few executives speaking, featured a “5-star dinner” at an expensive restaurant. Could the analysts attend? The answer: If the analysts found research value in the 1.5-day event they could go, but the dinner was over the line so they couldn’t attend that. This is why we always encourage events of this type to be truly focused on the content – so our analysts don’t have to, sometimes awkwardly, say they can only partake in part of the experience.