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The biggest influences on industry analysts. (Via Apollo Research.)

Industry analysts play a large role in helping corporate technology buyers make wise decisions (and sometimes in helping journalists understand technology). As such, they are carefully briefed by the vendors whose wares they must understand, and they are closely compared and followed by prospective buyers.

But, aside from vendors, to whom do these analysts turn for their own education? A recent report from U.K.-based Apollo Research offers some interesting data. Herewith, some excerpts from the free 33-page report, titled “Target Influencer Report — Industry Analysts.”

Using data from Twitter, Apollo’s sampling of 1,212 U.S.-based industry analysts showed they mainly follow other industry analysts and journalists. Above all, they follow Forrester Research, consulted by 23 percent of analysts.

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Bill Gates is the tech exec most followed by industry analysts.

The next nine in order are TechCrunch (23 percent), Gartner (22), The U.S. Wall Street Journal (19), Harvard Business Review (19), IDC (17), Bill Gates (17), The Economist (16), Wired News (15) and  Carter Lusher from Informatica (15).

Among the top sources followed are research firms, technology news feeds, business news feeds, individual industry analysts, individual tech journalists, technology-industry luminaries, and even a lecture series (TED Talks).

Analysts most love to follow other analysts, it seems. Out of 30 ranked in the study, the top five are Ray Wang, of Constellation Research; George Colony, of Forrester; Charlene Li, of Altimeter Group; Michael Gualtieri, of Forrester; and Matthew Eastwood, of IDC). Forrester has 11 analysts on the list, IDC has six and Gartner has three.

The second-most influential group are tech writers, led by Walt Mossberg, of Re/code and followed by Kara Swisher (Re/code), David Pogue (Yahoo Tech), Robert Scoble (Upload VR) and Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet).

As the study notes, “Tech analysts and tech writers have a symbiotic relationship. For many writers, the inclusion of an analyst quote in their article adds an independent level of authority and expertise to the article. For analysts, having their opinions, predictions and comments quoted in the press is an important way of reinforcing their credibility among existing and prospective buyers of their services.”

The report also lists:

  • The 30 most influential PR people (led by Josh Bernoff, of WOBS), companies (Cisco, Google, Qualcomm, Intel and Microsoft, in that order);
  • Tech news sources (TechCrunch, Wired News, Forbes-Technology, GigaOm and CIO);
  • Tech execs (Bill Gates; Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media; Eric Schmidt, of Google; Padmasree Warrior, of NEXTEV USA; and Marissa Mayer, of Yahoo!);
  • Business news sources (The Wall Street Journal USA; Harvard Business Review; Fast Company; Forbes; and Financial Times); and
  • General news sources (The Economist; Mashable; The New York Times; CNN Breaking News; and The New Yorker).

And it lists leading “technology specialists” (David Linthicum, of Cloud Technology Partners; Werner Vogels, of Amazon Web Services; Andi Mann, of Splunk; Chris Wolf, of VMware; and Andreas Bitterer, of SAS), analyst-relations experts (led by Carter Lusher, of Informatica), and venture capitalists (led by Om Malik, of True Ventures).

What do these influential folks do when they’re off duty? Most have an interest in politics, followed by comedy. Parody site The Onion has more analyst followers than Forbes Technology, George Colony or Elon Musk.

Download the full Apollo report here.

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