Metalworking Marketer
Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“Gimme a push, daddy . . . I want to go higher!

By Mark Semmelmayer, CBC
Chief Idea Officer
Pen & Inc. Marketing Communications

I saw them, and I’m guessing you did, too. :60 second commercials for Google, highlighting how they help people with virtually anything, any day. The ads were targeted at TV news viewers, on network and cable outlets, during the news-rich month of December.

For Google’s purposes, it was a good buy. According to Adweek, about 50% of U.S. TV households watch news from these sources. So, the campaign’s reach was probably pretty good and, from personal experience, I’m thinking frequency within the target was pretty fair, too.

You’re probably wondering, as a B2B marketer, why this has any relevance to you. Answer? It’s all about the continued relevance of “push” marketing. Ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. Why would a digital giant, synonymous with web activity, use TV as a promotional vehicle?
  2. Why did their media buy target the demographics/psychographics they did?
  3. How do those factors figure into Google’s B2B marketing?

The broad brush? Strategically, Google understands that a “push” marketing effort helps solidify their position as a “go-to” digital resource among a broad audience. B2B implications, though strategically consistent, are tactical and a bit more nuanced.

  1. Why TV?
    1. Messaging. The campaign profiled Google as more than just a search engine, rhetorically asking, “Did you know Google provides search, maps, apps, cloud services, collaboration software and more?”
    2. Source Credibility: If Google uses “power” in promoting services to potential users (B2B or B2C), shouldn’t you have presence (preferably, for Google, paid) where users are?
    3. Competitive Positioning: “OK, Amazon (AWS), you’re advertising your cloud services. What have you got that’s meaningful to folks?”
  1. Why these demographics?
    1. According to Pew Research, in 2018, 44% of Americans prefer TV for news. Statistically, their viewer demographics indicate some college/college degree for around 60%, and about 1/3 have income of over $75K. Viewership is heaviest in the 50+ and 65+ (i.e. non-digital native) groups, but it’s over 25% in the 30-49 group . . . and climbing. 60+% also find broadcast news credible (spoiler alert: total audience is almost a 50/50 split between Democrat and Republican-leaning), so they’re already watching with a slant to believing.
  1. What makes this valuable to Google B2B?
    1. Is there a better way to communicate Google offerings to a vast audience of users?
    2. Is there a better way to demonstrate that user value to choosers of Google’s services?
    3. Is there a digital way to get to that percentage of choosers, at once, and persistently?
    4. Targeting digital natives, as well as small and medium business, is neither easy nor cheap. Do these demographics give Google a good entrée to those decision makers?

From where I sit, the answers are no, no, no and yes, respectively.

Using media not generally associated with B2B for B2B marketing is not new. Years ago, Xerox and FedEx built success on campaigns aimed at secretaries and admins who could influence the choice of those brands. What may be new is a need to re-frame our thinking about push marketing in a digital-forward world.

According to Ruth B Stevens, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of DMA, “pull” marketing is a bundle of inbound solutions. “In B2B, pull marketing means making yourself available . . . hoping people will visit your website or find out more about your offerings. But, what about prospects who don’t know they have a problem or haven’t defined (it) to consider a solution?”

In contrast, “push” marketing is outbound, designed to make you visible as a possible first choice for meeting defined needs. It’s the foundation of brand marketing and, no matter how the universe of digital communication expands, it will remain so.

In the real world, it works like this. Two sales people are calling, trying to get some of your time. One’s from a company you’ve heard of. The other? Well, not so much. Who’s likelier to get the appointment? The same holds for a web search. Your top 2 results turned up IBM and Dick’s Data. Which website are you clicking on?

The point is, you benefit from being the known quantity. It’s human nature. We prefer known to unknown. We generally think it safer and more reliable.

Clearly, I’m not just advocating the use of TV to serve your marketing ends. I’m advocating push marketing as one of the sharpest knives in your drawer. Very useful in cutting a clean path to the customer. It makes “soft” stuff, like SEO, content and social media more valuable, because, when potential customers find you, you’ve already taken “a little piece of their heart.” (Sorry, Janis . . . ).

Push marketing encompasses many tactics. Direct mail and email marketing, telemarketing (careful there, telemarketers just barely outpoint the devil in popularity), broadcast, print and online advertising (with calls to action to generate response) remain more than viable. In an increasingly digital world, in-person customer interaction via event marketing, like trade shows and conferences, can convincingly convey your expertise and presence. You can probably think of more.

Together with digital, “pull” options, “push” efforts remain effective tools of the trade. If you’re an experienced marketer and the tools have grown dull, sharpen them. If you’re a newer hand in the marketing game, with a good set of digital tools, get a set of these hand tools and learn to use them.

Push and pull are yin and yang, a balance of two sides of the same coin. That coin represents success and profitability for your enterprise. Like words and music, they work best when they work together, creating a fine-tuned, unbeatable marketing gestalt. Within the framework of a fully Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) plan, they can be forged, honed and wielded to best effect.

Need more information?
Mark Semmelmayer, CBC
Chief Idea Officer
Pen & Inc. Marketing Communications
Marietta, GA

About the Author

Mark Semmelmayer, CBC

Mark is a 40-year B2B marketing pro, including 32-years with Kimberly-Clark. He’s a past chairman of the Business Marketing Association (BMA), 2015 recipient of BMA’s prestigious G.D. Crain Award and an Inductee into the Business Marketing Hall of Fame. Currently an officer of BMA’s Atlanta Chapter, he’s the founder and Chief Idea Officer of Pen & Inc. Marketing Communications, a consultancy in Atlanta, GA.

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