Saturday, September 5, 2009

Push-Pull Strategies in Symbiotic Relationships

In symbiotic relationships in nature, one party provides an instrumental service to another that benefits both. The great Canadian anthropologist Anthony Wallace (1960, pp 31-8) analyzed instrumental and consummatory acts to model symbiotic relationships between groups or even individuals. His work applies really well to push/pull strategies.

By using an immersive mix of both push and pull strategies, you can revitalize your intermediary channel from a disorganized gang of the living dead, zombies clothed in rotted medical bandages to a crisp and professional new face for your company, one that ultimate customers hold dear. This, however, requires you to perform an instrumental act of training the channel intermediaries on the advantageous differences of your offering: Symbiotic on your part.

You may also need to create awareness of these advantageous differences with the ultimate consumer, another instrumental act. This will motivate the channel to become a better partner. Both intermediary and end consumers will also perform the consummatory act of buying your offering. Voila!

The alternative is to die a horrible death at the hands of the zombies and let them turn you into one of them when they eat your tissue or worse, turn your offering into a commodity that competes on price. Our assigned comment captures with attractive eloquence the purposes of push and pull strategies.

Spiller and Baier (2005, p271) give a more academic explanation of the concepts. In a push strategy, our sales efforts are directed at the channel to encourage intermediaries to buy our products. This is the “how [our] offering satisfies existing business customers’ desires….” A push strategy is part of supply management, making sure the channel provides our offering to the end users.

Vanides (2009, p 7) says that a serious barrier in reaching the “right prospects” is time deficit disorder. Proper preparation and understanding is a must for all would be Oxpeckers. In our readings, Omniture (2007, p 3) tells how to establish understanding through profiles or personas of our various intermediaries. So does Wallace but in 1960 personas were called modal personalities.

To continue with Spiller and Baier, a pull strategy is marketing activities directed at the ultimate consumer with the purpose of creating destination demand that pulls our offering through the intermediate channel. This is the “Sometimes demand patterns must be modified for the business customer…” in our comment. A pull strategy is demand management, making sure the end consumer demands the unique characteristics of our offering from our channel.

Two pull campaigns come to mind. “Intel Inside” and DuPont’s “Miracles of Science.” Or in a prior age, before having a chemical halo was unsightly, DuPont’s “Better living through chemistry.” Vanides (2009, p 2) lists general DM campaign objectives including money but also responsibility to community. DuPont has something to say about this.

According to Butler (2001, p 2), DuPont’s objective in this pull strategy is to inform the buying public “what products we make and how they are used, to demonstrate that these do improve the quality of life, and therefore that DuPont is a good and useful institution that deserves political consent and business patronage.” It is an umbrella for numerous product campaigns also.

The goal of these push/pull strategies is to make it easier for our intermediaries to sell their products by accepting our support from both ends, a symbiotic relationship. Here we are now with a few of our channel intermediaries trying to keep them healthy and presentable for the viewing pleasure of our ultimate consumers.

Butler, Steve (10/08/2001). DuPont. Chemical Market Reporter. Retrieved on August 28, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

Omniture (February 2007). Online Marketer‘s Segmentation Guide. Retrieved Retrieved from WVU IMC 626 Week Two Readings on August 29, 2009

Spiller, L and M Baier, (2005). Contemporary Direct Marketing. Pearson/Prentice-Hall

Vanides, Alexia (2009). Developing OST for B-to-B DM Campaigns, About Lead Generation Management. Retrieved from WVU IMC 626 Week Two Lesson on August 29, 2009.

Wallace, AFC (1960). Culture and Personality. Random House

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