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Pull Marketing vs Push Marketing: Definition, Explanation & Benefits

by | Jul 27, 2012 | Marketing | 0 comments

It amazes me how I experience, almost on a daily basis a lot of local businesses in the year of 2012 still favoring traditional, expensive and hard to measure marketing channels such as radio and print advertising.

The savvy business owners have already shifted strategy and allocated all possible resources into targeting their audience when they are ready to purchase.

First, let me explain about the differences between push and pull marketing and how I define them:

Push Marketing Interrupts your Potential Customers

Push marketing is defined as a promotional strategy in which a business attempts to get their message in front of their potential customers without them having a desire or interest to buy the product or learn more about it. Push marketing requires a lot of reach and can be considered to be ‘interruptive’. Just think of radio and TV advertising and how they interrupt your favorite Katy Perry song, or the latest Fox Life TV show. Unless you’re passionate about advertising, then you probably don’t find these ads to be entertaining or informational.

Of course, there are many different marketing channels defined as push marketing, and not all are as interruptive as others. For instance coupon sites, such as Groupon, are great examples of push marketing performed with finesse to minimize the interrupting element.

I’m not saying that push marketing should be immediately considered as negative, since it can be very efficient if executed properly. For the majority of businesses with an average marketing budget, it’s simply not the most cost-efficient distribution of ad spend.

Push Marketing Excels in Raising Awareness for Lesser-Known Products

If many consumers don’t know your product, or if consumers simply aren’t actively looking for your product because of lack of need, then push marketing is your best friend.

It’s almost impossible to build awareness with pull marketing as it is about attracting consumers already interested in your product or service. If your product isn’t even known, then nobody will be looking for it.

Advertising on relevant industry websites with big banner ads, sponsored blogging, Social Media ads, Display Marketing and TV advertising are all great channels for you if you want to get your product known. Be aware though, that it’s not for the small or medium sized marketing budget. If you want to change the mind of consumers, then you better be great at producing viral content, have an amazing product or a lot of budget to spend on push marketing.

Pull Marketing is often Way More Cost-efficient

On the other hand, pull marketing takes the opposite approach. Consumers actively seeking out a product define it and the retailer presents his ads, or products, in the path of the consumer.

In order to use pull marketing it requires an interest for the product you’re selling. Back in the day, pull marketing was associated with big brands because you first needed to use push marketing to get a message out and then attracting the consumers using pull marketing.

Today, it’s a completely different story though. Today’s pull marketing can happen on so many different free platforms that have wielded unlimited possibilities for marketers.

Stories of small business owners making it big with pull marketing are growing all the time. Pull marketing stars like Marcus Sheridan from “The Sales Lion” and Gary Vaynerchuk from “WineLibrary.com” are some of the best examples of how successful pull marketing can be these days if you just have the right product.

With Gary selling wine and Marcus selling pools, it wasn’t needed for them to create a big push for their products. Their products were already in demand. They simply succeeded by putting their solutions in front of consumers. You can do the same!

Where is My Money Best Invested?

With Social Media and Search Marketing, the advertising landscape has shifted drastically, and most marketing rules, as we know, go straight out the window. In online marketing, David beats Goliath on a daily basis.

For a push marketing campaign to succeed, you need to push your message often and to a big audience in order to draw in your leads. The audience needs to be disturbed sufficiently in order for you to get the needed response.

I worked with offline marketing for 5 years and particularly with radio advertising, where I experienced first-hand how many businesses failed to succeed. This was mainly due to an insufficient budget or having too high expectations in terms of direct sales resulting from push marketing efforts.

With pull marketing such as search engine marketing and social media marketing, I have mainly experienced advertisers reaching their expected goals, if set realistically. The ability to target, ‘disturb’ and interact consumers who are actively searching for your products has proven to be a winning formula time after time.

Focus Your Budget on Pull Marketing if Your Product is Sought After

If you are a small or mid-sized business, or if you have limited marketing dollars, you should allocate the majority of your budget to pull marketing channels. Pay-per-Click, social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, blogging, are just some of the channels that are relevant in pull marketing.

Targeting your prospects in the final stages of the buying funnel is very cost-efficient and measurable. Both growth and expansion are likely to occur if the methods are applied correctly.

Author: Gary Garth

Gary GarthGary Garth is Co-founder and CEO of White Shark Media®. He is responsible for guiding the company’s strategy and growth. He has over 15 years of experience in online marketing, sales management, and executive leadership.

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