Push vs. Pull in B2B Marketing

In the world of retail consumer marketing, a Push strategy would indicate a manufacturer’s ability and monies to motivate a merchant to carry and promote its products. A Pull strategy would indicate that same manufacturer using advertising and promotion directed at consumers, with the objective of having those consumers demand the product from the merchant.

OK, I paraphrased that from marketing guru Phil Kotler in his 11th edition of “Marketing Management”, which is a classic text. Also in this edition, Kotler states: “The internet will not become a major advertising medium like televison , radio, and print media. Internet users generally do not welcome advertising.”

When Professor Kotler revises that statement in his 12th edition, he might also write about the new dynamics of Push vs. Pull in B2B Marketing !

B2B marketing and selling  in the tech space is heavy on Push. There is a parallel here to B2C Push as described — with regard to the strong channel influence that manufacturers maintain. But the Bigger “Push” is the heavy-handed salesmanship that is directed at the B2B buyer. Marketing spends about half its budget on demand generation programs. And the Sales function spends four times as much as all of Marketing, trying to persuade buyers.

It is indeed the internet that is changing this dynamic, as IDC VP Kathleen Schaub has written about exetensively in her New Buyer Journey analysis. The self-educated buyer resists Push. In fact, IDC research  shows that Buyers are practically begging their vendors: “Don’t sell so hard!.  So, don’t sell so hard; don’t push so hard. Customers don’t want to be sold to. They want to make self-determined choices.

The mantra for B2B marketers has to be Pull. If we acknowledge that the self-educated buyer will make his or her own choices on where to get educated, our job is to attract them, to pull them,  to our way of  thinking. The new Pull will continue to be advertising and promotion, but it will be more about helpful Social connections; an emphasis on educational marketing content; and greater demonstration that we have deep knowledge of  the customer’s business issues.

As you think about the next round of your marketing planning and budgets, also think about the general quotient of Push vs. Pull that you have in your overall mix. And ramp up the Pull — the gravitional forces that will hopefully draw your prospects into your atmosphere.

Why Participate in IDC’s Marketing Barometer Survey

The CMO Advisory Service at IDC is conducting its annual barometer survey. This is the 10th year of the survey.  All respondents will receive a free copy of the report produced from the results of the survey and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing.

During The CMO Advisory’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks survey we collected data from ~100 of the largest and most influential tech companies, their combined revenue totaled nearly $750 Billion.  The barometer survey provides a “finger in the wind” follow up to the Benchmark Survey providing detailed guidance to senior marketers. Areas of focus include: budget ratios, program spend, headcount allocation, and in-depth insights into key trends in the industry and forward looking roles and programs.   
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com
Below are some answers to questions you might have:

Q: A free report and webinar, cool! Wait what type of information will they contain?
A: The results of the survey will be used to analyze the direction of marketing resource expenditures and priorities during the next 6-12 months. So questions like the following will be answered:
  • How aggressively are marketing budgets increasing or decreasing in my sector this year?
  • What marketing staff positions or programs should I look to invest in?
  • What up and coming areas should I be looking into this year to create a world class marketing organization?
  •  What are next week’s Powerball numbers? (Ok we won’t answer that question, if we knew we probably wouldn’t tell you…sorry).
Q: Who should take the survey?
A: Marketing executives who are in a position of responsibility for worldwide marketing practices.
Q: How long will it take?
A: Depending on several factors, as quick as 15 minutes!
Q: I can’t get this done today, when do you need to have it completed by?
A:  To receive the report and an invitation to IDC’s exclusive Client Telebriefing participants need to complete the survey by Wed Feb 13, 2013. Also, all of the information must be accurately provided in order to be included in the study and receive the free deliverables.
If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

Q: I can’t answer this question, I need input from my colleagues…help?
A: No worries, if you leave the webpage it will save your progress.
Q: What types of companies participate in this survey?
A: Some of the largest tech and tech related companies in the world participate (again total revenue of participants reaches upwards of $1 Trillion), but plenty of companies who may not have as many 0’s in their revenue line, but are growing quickly and have exciting products, do participate and receive great value from the deliverables!
Q: Some of this information is kind of confidential, I want to trust you, but can I?
A: As stated above, the CMO Advisory Service has been doing surveys like this for 10+ years. All answers will be kept confidential by IDC and all data will be aggregated for the purposes of trend analysis.  No client or other participant of the study will ever receive your company-specific data and there is no way that any company can “reverse-engineer” the analysis to derive your data input. Your responses will not be used for any other purpose within IDC.
Q:  Ok I completed the survey…so… when do I get the free research?
A: Heh, I knew you’d ask this one. You can expect the deliverables to begin coming out around late March. For clients who are attending our March Board Meeting we will have in depth discussion around the barometer findings (want to know more about these board meetings? Reach out to the CMO Advisory Group team or send me an email).

If you are interested in participating: contact Sam Melnick at smelnick (at) idc (dot) com

IDC’s CMO Predictions for 2013: The CMO Becomes Master of Data

Here are our Top Ten calls for 2013.

Please feel free to contact me in 365 days and we can tally up our success rate!

1. The C-suite (CEO, CFO, and COO) will demand that the CMO produce both a strategy and a plan for how market-driven data will significantly contribute to corporate objectives.

2. The CMO and the CIO will begin the year as functional peers and end the year as either friends or frenemies, and per the CEO, the CIO will become more actively involved with the CMO in all marketing automation decisions that have cross-functional implications.

3. The automation outlay could approach 10% of marketing’s discretionary budget in 2013, with two-thirds of the total outlay coming from marketing and one-third coming from IT; for “best practice” organizations, this will shift to 50:50 by 2014.

4. Even with their new partnership with the CIO, many CMOs will find that their positions are in jeopardy as they failed to produce a robust data analytics function — or even a game plan to get there.

5. Starting in 2013, after the CMO realizes that he/she does not have the skill sets in place for data analytics proficiency, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds.

6. Eight out of ten companies will report that most social media initiative growth is taking place outside of marketing.

7. By the end of 2013, 5% of CMOs will shift to a “mobile first” strategy.

8. Content isn’t king — it’s a wild beast; In 2013, CMOs will be pragmatic, shifting focus less on big platform projects and more on linking access to audience needs.

9. The demand for greater insight into the revenue impact of marketing and sales will require that older CRM systems be replaced, creating infrastructure disruption.

10. High-tech pipeline conversion metrics will continue to improve; expect a 20% improvement in target-to-deal ratios and a 10% reduction in time to create a customer, with both due to better automation and analytics-driven process improvement.