ISBM Research Newsletter - Volume 16, Issue 2 - October 2023
Table of Contents
In This Issue . . .
We hope this Newsletter finds you well and your semester got off to a great start. Looking ahead, we are excited to organize the 2024 ISBM Doctoral Camp and Academic Conference at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, June 4-6. Mark your calendars! We hope to welcome you at the home of the ISBM!
Lisa Scheer and Kersi Antia generously agreed to organize, once again, the Doctoral Camp. Thanks Lisa and Kersi, the 2022 Camp was a huge success.
The Academic Conference will be a unique event. We will celebrate the ISBM’s 40th anniversary—and we will do so together with ISBM Corporate Members, giving us academics opportunities to exchange ideas and insights with B2B marketing executives. Watch out for more on this, including formal calls for both the Camp and the Conference in a few weeks.
Further, in this Newsletter,
First, ISBM Distinguished Research Fellow Bernie Jaworski and Virginia Cheung contributed a special Research Feature based on their fascinating book, “Creating the Organization of the Future—Building on Drucker and Confucius Foundations” (2023). The book starts from the observation that some firms can renew themselves and create the future, whereas others remain locked in on old business models. Bernie and Virginia describe the key role for executives to influence the economic conditions of competition by crafting a mission, vision, purpose, values, and culture. They offered three webinars for ISBM Corporate Members on this topic, which you can watch on B2B Pulse. Academically, this book is an important addition to the growing stream of research on “upper echelons” research in marketing.
Second, please encourage your doctoral students in B2B marketing to submit their research ideas to the 2023 Doctoral Support Award Competition. Up to three candidates will join a list of over 120 past recipients of dissertation support awards (up to $5,000).
Third, Andrew Petersen shares the latest on the ISBM PhD Seminar Series (IPSS), with a very interesting offering for spring 2024.
Fourth, Arvind Rangaswamy pays tribute to the late Andy Zoltners, Professor at Northwestern University, Cofounder of ZS Associates, and ISBM Distinguished Research Fellow.
Fifth, and finally, Lynn Yanyo reflects on the ISBM Corporate Members Meeting last month at ISBM Member firm Ingredion headquarters in Westchester, IL. Theme: Artificial Intelligence (and the many ways it redefines B2B marketing practice). It was a fascinating meeting!
Stefan and Andrew
Book Overview: Creating the Organization of the Future
Our experience is that most B2B organizations start with a product or service idea. In the case of a product, the engineers go to work to craft a better solution than exists in the marketplace.The aim is to provide a product that is regarded by the market as much better than competing offers. If successful, the product or service gets adopted by innovators and over time the organization gains customers, adds employees, and experiences revenue growth. If all goes well, it grows from a small start-up to a healthy mid-size or large firm.
At this stage, we observe that B2B organizations take one of two paths. The first is positive. The firm continues to renew itself. It closely monitors marketplace developments and can meet current marketplace needs as well as transition to the future marketplace. Thus, it balances competing in two time periods, the current marketplace and the future marketplace. This is what Peter Drucker termed “managing continuity and change.” For a variety of reasons, this is very hard to do. Within the semi-conductor industry we have examples such as AMD, Intel, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia. The second pathway is quite the opposite. The firm “locks” in on a business model, optimizes the business model, and, as a result, is unable to reinvent itself to compete in the future. S3 and Silicon Graphics are examples of firms that competed well in a particular historical period but were not able to pivot to a new business model. Unfortunately, many firms follow this second path.
There are many reasons why this pivot does not happen. One critical reason is that the senior leadership remains technology- or product-focused rather than asking the basic question of “what business are we in?” Kodak was not in the business of cameras and film: It was in the business of creating memories. The technology to make memories is constantly evolving, but recording these events will ensure that they are with us forever. Back in the 90s, Texas Instruments was in the business of defense, personal computers, semi-conductors, calculators and other intiatives. It would be difficult to address the question of “what business are we in? Today, they are laser focused on core enabling technologies (i.e., semi-conductors) that create the future.
Five Content Domains
If one is satisfied with just competing with a core product in one historical time period, then it may not be necessary to set the direction for the firm. However, if the organization aims to be around for a long period of time, it is essential to address all five domains covered in our recent book, Creating the Organization of the Future: Building on Drucker and Confucius Foundations. Collectively, these answers provide both the collective goal for the firm that transcends a particular historical period as well as the values and culture to achieve the target. In the best of all worlds the direction-setting activities place the firm on a course not just to respond to marketplace developments but to shape the evolution of the market. As Drucker often reminded us, great executives do not simply adapt to changing market conditions; rather, they influence the economic conditions in which the firm competes. In particular, this involves five key areas:
- The mission enables the firm to go beyond the “offering” to focus on the core customer benefit. The core customer benefit in Disney’s case- storytelling–lasts for decades if not centuries. It is not bound to one historical period.
- The vision articulates the fundamental target or goal for the enterprise. What does the world look like when you have accomplished your mission? Often this vision takes decades to achieve: It is ambitious, motivating, and energizes the workforce.
- The purpose of an organization answers a simple question, “why do we exist?” At the most fundamental level, how does your community or society benefit from the presence of your organization? Why do you make the world a better place? A strong purpose is rooted in ways that organizations help society function.
- The values of the organization provide the guardrails for ideal behavior in the firm. How are we going to go about achieving our mission and vision? What is the right set of beliefs and behaviors to guide all employees?
- And, finally, culture is how the work currently gets done inside the firm. What are the rituals, norms, and beliefs that shape how work gets done now? What type of culture does the firm want to put in place to compete now and in the future?
These five domains can be divided into two major parts: one that is externally focused on the marketplace (mission, vision, purpose) and one internally focused on how the work gets done inside the firm (values and culture). The mission and the vision are typically focused on your served market. The mission answers the question “what business are we in?,” and the vision is focused on the achievement of that mission (i.e., what is the specific goal that we achieve if we accomplish our mission?). Finally, the purpose is rooted in the marketplace, but it goes beyond the customer. Instead, it is focused on the broader community or societal impact of your mission and vision. The key question, “why do we exist?,” must be answered from a societal perspective.
In sharp contrast, the remaining two domains of direction setting–values and culture–focus on how the work gets done within the organization. What are the ways we want our organization to ideally operate (i.e., our values) and how can our culture support our vision? In general, the setting of values and culture should come after the establishing of a mission, vision, and purpose. The rationale is that different missions and visions require different cultures. A mission that is focused on “convenience and easy access” requires a very different culture than one focused on “the best cutting-edge technology.” The former may emphasize a customer-service-driven culture while a technology orientation may mean focusing on a culture of technology innovation.
Finally, the strategy of the firm–the specific, integrated set of choices related to “where to play ” and “how do we win” in an industry–must follow from setting the direction. Strategy should be articulated in the context of a clear mission, vision, and purpose. Without a clear mission and vision, the senior leadership team has no context to make choices around markets to serve (or not serve) the specific positioning of the organization or the capabilities that need to be built to support their position.
Building on Peter Drucker and Confucianism
Importantly, we use the term “foundation” to mean that we are building on the work of Drucker and Confucius and moving it forward into the 21st century. In particular, we enhance and contemporize their work in five specific ways. First, business practices have advanced. For example, today’s business world is highly networked both in terms of “ecosystems” of players that compete against other ecosystems and in terms of the tidal wave of change brought about by digitization. Drucker could not have forecast the fundamental shift in both forms of networks. Furthermore, the emergence of purpose-led organizations and brands has only truly emerged since his death in 2005. Our key point is that the world of business has changed and that we need to update our thinking about this world to reflect this change.
Second, business theory has advanced. Much has been written in the past 20 years that has pushed our knowledge of management forward. For example, Drucker did not have a distinctive position on purpose. Rather, his writing on mission included purpose. Given how much has changed regarding the role of purpose in organizations–we offer the examples of Microsoft , J&J, Unilever, and several others as case studies in our recent book–we believe it is now exceptionally important to craft a stand-alone chapter on purpose. Purpose is distinct from mission, and this must be acknowledged. More generally, the advancement of business theory is reflected throughout this book.
Third, we have advanced our own thinking on the topic, and we want to share our perspective. For example, we specify criteria to assess the quality of the concept (e.g., five specific criteria to evaluate a mission statement). This is our perspective, not that of Drucker or Confucianism. We have spent a good deal of time thinking about these issues, and we want to share our viewpoint.
Fourth, we shift from concepts to very practical guidance. This is distinct from Drucker since he was focused more on the novel concept than the exact details of crafting the statements. This is not to say whether he would agree with us (or not), but “how to get started on the journey?” would not be part of a typical Drucker book or manuscript.
Fifth, we introduce new concepts and language to enhance the precision of work and reflect the changes that are unfolding in organizations. This is reflected throughout the entire book–in particular, the examples, criteria, and identification of the best-of-class illustrations in the first section. Each of these sections includes new thinking and language that moves practice forward. Our purpose is to use the wonderful thinking of Drucker and Confucius as a platform for building practical and straightforward advice on how to construct your mission, vision, purpose, culture, and values–and , ideally, shape the markets in which you compete. We hope that you will enjoy the book and apply the concepts in your research, business, or classes.
Jaworski, Bernard and Virginia Cheung (2023), Creating the Organization of the Future — Building on Drucker and Confucius Foundations, Emerald Publishing Limited.
2023 Doctoral Support Award Competition Submission Deadline November 1, 2023
Penn State’s Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) is now holding its 33rd annual Business Marketing Doctoral Support Award Competition. This year’s deadline to submit abstract submissions is November 1, 2023.
Up to three candidates in accredited doctoral programs will receive dissertation support awards. Dissertations in any area of business-to-business (B2B) marketing or in any of the methodological areas that support advances in business marketing will be considered. The Award consists of:
- Up to $5,000 in financial assistance to be used for travel, conference attendance, data collection, and other expenses of conducting and presenting the results of the research.
- Assistance, as needed, in gaining the cooperation of both ISBM member firms and non-member firms for data, interview, etc.
PhD candidates interested in the competition should submit an abstract of their research not to exceed five double-spaced pages, along with a current vita and a vita of their dissertation advisor. The abstract should address the potential importance of their work to business marketing practice, its theoretical contributions, the research methodology, and the amount and kind of support requested.
For complete competition details and electronic submission procedures visit https://isbm.org/doctoral-support-award-competition/.
Any questions regarding submissions can be emailed to Program Coordinator, Lori Nicolini LNicolini@psu.edu.
Headquartered in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State, the ISBM has been supporting business-to-business marketing research and practice since 1983. To date, ISBM has supported 123 doctoral students. Funding for this competition comes from the generous support of the ISBM Corporate Members.
IPSS Update: Spring 2024 Offering
Spring 2024: Sundar Bharadwaj (University of Georgia) will teach the course Marketing Strategy. Thank you Sundar for agreeing to teach again in IPSS.
This course is a doctoral seminar that focuses on marketing strategy formulation. Marketing strategy is a broad term with many meanings, and while scope and domain issues for the field continue to be debated, at a fundamental level it has to do with how marketing concepts, tools, and processes can be used to help an organization develop a sustainable competitive advantage through the creation of superior customer value. While marketing strategy is a comparatively young field of study, substantive and sustained contributions by many of the discipline’s leading scholars over the last 30 years have helped create a rich and diverse literature base.
Please bring this PhD seminar to the attention of your promising B2B PhD students.
For the complete course description and overview visit the course page.
We look forward to seeing you at upcoming programs. Additionally, if you have any feedback or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Andris A. Zoltner - In Memoriam
Frederic Esser Nemmers Distinguished Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Founder, ZS Associates
ISBM Distinguished Research Fellow, Penn State
On the evening of April 11, 2023 I got a message that my friend, mentor, and thesis advisor, Andy Zoltners had passed away earlier that day. I was shocked and saddened. Shocked because when I had last met him just a few years ago, he was the picture of health and vigor. I learned later that he had Parkinson’s disease which had progressed rapidly.
It was my rare good fortune to have met Andy in 1980 when I joined the doctoral program in marketing at Kellogg. From our very first meeting we hit it off because of our common interest in quantitative marketing. My first impressions were that he was a kind, humble, and generous person. He treated me from the beginning as an equal even when I was just a novice, and he always provided encouragement and support, never faulting me if I went astray with hairbrained ideas. I also sensed that his friendly and gentle demeanor belied intensity, passion, and competitiveness, especially when it came to sports (biking and swimming) or intellectual pursuits. I understood his intensity, for example, when I submitted what I thought was the final draft of my thesis. Andy went through every word carefully and marked up the draft with all kinds of comments and suggestions. But, working with him was still a treat. His first question typically was whether we could simplify things, not whether we could make things more complex (especially if just to impress academic colleagues). Another impressive thing to me was his constant questioning of how a concept or model would help managers, not in abstract and general terms (as we see in the concluding sections of many academic papers these days), but in terms of direct and immediate impact. Ever since, I have tried to apply these criteria in my own research and have grown to appreciate how difficult it is to do research that is original, simple, generalizable, and has practical relevance.
At the end of my first year in the doctoral program, he offered me a summer job where I could work with him and his colleague from UMass, Prabha Sinha, to hone my research skills working on sales force problems for pharmaceutical companies. I did not realize at the time that the work I was doing was part of the foundational elements that Andy and Prabha were putting together that eventually led to the formation of the company, ZS Associates. Today, ZS has over 13,000 employees and has provided its services in more than 70 countries. When I was about to graduate from the doctoral program, ZS was still a small company (mainly Andy and Prabha), and Andy asked whether I would have any interest in joining ZS. At that time, I also had offers from several business schools to join them as a faculty member. I asked Andy what he would do if he were in my place and had to consider the different offers. He told me, without hesitation, he would take an academic job! And, I did. In retrospect, maybe he erred in his advice, and I, in following it!
Since my graduation, I had been in touch with Andy sporadically. I attended the retirement party for him that ZS organized a few years ago. There were lots of people from ZS at that party as well as a few faculty members from Kellogg. There were two of his doctoral students also attending – Murali Mantrala and I. He insisted that the two of us sit with him and his family at their table at dinner. I was truly touched that his students mattered so much to him, even when he had achieved so much success in the business world.
In 2010, Andy came to State College to receive the distinguished fellow award from ISBM, a well-deserved recognition for his many lasting contributions to the theory and practice of B2B marketing, including 9 books on sales force management and numerous academic articles. He had lunch with me at our home, and we spent time reminiscing about some of the things we had worked on together a long time ago. I realized then this was the same Andy that I had first met and known some 30 years before; someone who was genuine, and who had great humility and kindness. His success had not changed him one bit as a person.
At the memorial for him held in Evanston, Illinois, I learned that his family (including Andy himself) had come as refugees to America, sponsored by a church in Milwaukee. The family, originally from Latvia, had spent a few years in a displaced persons camp in Germany after the war. Andy’s first years in America were that of a child who didn’t speak a word of English. I realized then that his contributions and impact were even more remarkable than I had believed. He is someone who truly made a difference to the lives of many people, including mine. I often think of the many words of wisdom he shared with me when I was a doctoral student – they are a tangible manifestation of his presence even though he has departed. And, I believe that all those who had the good fortune to have known Andy feel the same.
Greetings from the ISBM Membership
It really does appear that the pandemic is over. Last month we held our annual meeting, hosted by member company Ingredion in Chicago. We had 75 attending in person (a 50% increase over our 2022 meeting and on par with our 2019 attendance). We also had 87 people registered to attend remotely from over 14 countries.
Our theme of the ISBM Members Meeting was highly topical: AI and the Transformational Effects on B2B Marketing. You can find all of the presentations in B2B Pulse. The feedback on this meeting was very positive with many attendees asking for more. So we will be following this meeting with more workshops and sessions on AI in 2024.
We also had the opportunity to present awards to our new Practice Fellows Laura Patterson (Vision Edge) and Joanne Smith (Price2Profits) in person.
Our next Members Meeting will be at Penn State, jointly with our academic colleagues as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of ISBM, the week of June 3, 2024. We will be looking into the future and what the next 40 years will bring to B2B Marketing.
Additionally we have renamed our weekly newsletter, “Connect” as it features additional content for direct application by our B2B Marketers. If you missed any, you can see the past articles in our library https://isbm.com/library/.
And while you’re looking, you can also see our past webinars and sign up for future ones here (https://isbm.com/events/).
We recently completed our third Marketing TRACK education offering, which provides a new B2B Marketer with all the basics of B2B Marketing over 4 months. This program has been well received and we plan to continue to provide the TRACK as well as develop advanced courses at the request of our members.
We do look forward to seeing everyone in 2024 as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary of ISBM. Best wishes to everyone for continued good health.