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Push v Pull Marketing – What is the Best Strategy?

Pick up any textbook about marketing from the great writers on the subject. You will read about two fundamental marketing strategies. Push marketing and pull marketing. So if we compare push v pull marketing, which comes out on top? Is it not that simple?

The client or customer is central to both marketing approaches. With the former, (push marketing) promotion is designed to persuade someone not actively seeking your product or service to take action. The latter (pull marketing) is seeking the product or service you provide and the customer finds you.

Push Marketing

This promotional strategy is ‘one-to-many’ or mass marketing. Traditionally, TV and billboard advertising would be examples. The equivalent today in a digital marketing context would be display or banner advertising and email marketing. The number of people who decide to take action will be a fraction of the total audience size, certainly less than 1%.

Push marketing is a common approach in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) space. It is also popular with big brands that target younger audiences who are more impressionable, aspirational and brand-conscious (compared to their parent’s). That’s why you see celebrities associated with young brands and why a lot of the push marketing activity is on social channels e.g. Instagram and Snapchat. This gives rise to the phrase influencer marketing.

Other examples of push marketing strategies include:

  • Point of sale e.g. a stand next to a till selling stamps when you are buying a birthday card
  • Trade shows where you come face-to-face with a company representative
  • Display/banner advertising when you access the internet pages of a national or local newspaper.

Pull Marketing

Pull marketing is when a customer finds a brand to solve their particular need. The buyer is likely already aware of the brand’s reputation. The brand is mature and is imprinted in the brain of the purchaser at the time the purchase is made.

In the digital marketing space, this is represented by Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content marketing, blogs and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Examples of pull marketing include:

  • Companies investing in expertise so that their product/service appears higher in search results than competitors in order to ‘win the click’
  • Social media advertising (PPC) using the algorithms of the social channels to deliver advertising only to those people for whom the proposition is most relevant.

Push v Pull. Which Won?

Like all competing strategies, the ideal solution is a mix of the two. Hence the phrase multi-channel marketing. A channel being either online or offline. In every push-pull scenario, compromise is the answer and so it is the case with marketing strategy. Most campaigns will have elements of push and pull in them. The digital, SEO and PPC elements of any online pull marketing campaign can be expertly coordinated by us here at Leapfrog Internet Marketing.

If a client also needs the push elements, we collaborate with other marketing agencies who provide offline marketing expertise e.g. large scale advertising campaigns.

Whether this blog has left you ‘in a spin’ when it comes to push/pull marketing, or whether your business is looking for the best online presence it can have, contact us – we’d love to talk to you.

Nick Shrimpton
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