What is ‘Push’ or ‘Pull’ marketing?

In this post, we’re going to talk about push and pull marketing and getting the right mix of both. So first of all, if you haven’t come across the terms push marketing and paul marketing, let me explain those. Then we’re going to go on to explain why you might need both.

What mix is right for you and how do you decide that?

First of all, push marketing. Push marketing is when you go out pushing to other people. Let’s give some examples; you might see a radio advert, a tv advert, magazine advert, all of this stuff facebook ads etc. are all ‘pushing’ your message to people who werent specifically looking for it. All of this is ‘push marketing’, it’s you pushing out to them.

So then what is pull marketing? Okay, pull marketing is when you’re doing things that generate interest in you. So pull marketing makes you attractive so that potential customers come looking for you. In this, we talk about content marketing, writing valuable content on our own website, social media etc. or on other people’s. We also talk about doing videos like this one just providing information. So in some forms, it could be PR, it could be the sort of editorial content within a publication or on a tv programme. This is all about how you just generate brand awareness. But it’s not really an advert in as much as there’s no call to action to come a buy from me.

It is just information given out that makes other people think we really should work with this company. This is all ‘pull marketing’. Pull marketing became really popular when it came to digital marketing, so there’s a lot of that in the digital space.

Of course, the challenge is gonna be now I understand what push marketing is and what pull marketing is, how do I know which one to use? Do I need to use both? How much of one as opposed to the other? How do I work that out?

As you’d understand, there’s no hard and first rule that it’s 50% of one and 50 of the other. It really depends what you do as a business, and that’s what I want to help you with so that you have a mechanism to decide for yourself whether it should be push or pull marketing and how much of each so the first thing to consider is how much brand awareness plays into the buying decision of your potential customer.

For the thing that you do (your offering or proposition), are there brands that exist in your sector and is it important to your customers? Would you look at another brand and think that potential cutomers would go to that company because they’re a bigger brand?

Or is brand just irrelevant? People are looking for a particular item it doesn’t have a label on it. It is just it’s a commodity.

Now for most businesses, an element of brand awareness will exist, but you just got to decide how important it is to your existing customers and to your potential customers.

If you really don’t know, do some research. Find out how much is brand awareness important to your potential customer? The next thing to look at is how technical? How much does what you do need explaining first, before somebody is able to by what it is you do.

If what you provide is really, really obvious, you sell, let’s say ice cream, nobody needs to read lots and lots of information about how good your ice cream is, before they’re able to buy ice cream. So it’s not like a long buying decision where you might need to understand some technical aspect of a product or service before you’re ready to make a purchase. That’s the second thing to look at. And it’s really about how much education does somebody need in there buying process. Finally, similar to brand awareness, we need to understand how long the people spend looking for what it is you have.

If what you offer is an impulse purchase, people don’t go around looking for what you’ve got. They kind of know they exist at the point that they want one then just go and buy on impulse or they come across an advert for something they never knew they needed, but it’s an impulse purchase. They make that decision straightaway.

Well, that’s very different to the kind of more considered purchases that we make. So there’s big differences between whether we need educating on a purchase or we don’t need educating on a purchase where there’s a lot of brand loyalty and brand awareness needed as opposed to people not caring about the brands within the sector or the solution you’ve got, and finally, in terms of whether people look around for a long time or a short time, as in it on impulse purchase for what you’ve got.

So we use all of those three to work out whether you should be doing more push marketing or pull marketing.  Now, clearly, if brands play a part in the decisions, then you need more pull marketing, content marketing, brand awareness activities. If people need educating around the product that you have, then you’re going to need more pull marketing. And if people consider the purchase for a while, you’re gonna need more pull marketing.

What I want you to do is look at all of those things together and nudge left or right towards push marketing, just adverts – an advert goes out, and specifically asks somebody to take an action to buy from you. That’s relevant when it’s an impulse purchase.

There’s no education required and brands just don’t make a difference in the purchase. So if you’ve got all the way to no brand, impulse, no education, you really don’t need to be thinking about pull marketing. You don’t need to build a brand online. You don’t need to educate, content marketing, all of those things are not going to help you.

However, if you believe that people absolutely buy on brand, they need a lot of education around the product or service or solution and at the same time, it’s a very considered purchase. Then you’re not gonna benefit from lots of push marketing. You need pull marketing by the time it gets to push and seen an advert already, people have made decisions, so they should be coming to you. Hence the word pull. So you need to focus on content marketing, getting your name out there well ahead of when somebody will make the decision.

Now, in most cases, you’re falling somewhere between the two. So it’s not an either, or, you could be saying, well, actually, people do just make this decision, but they you know that brands are important, but the education isn’t, or they might be saying, well, it’s kind of important to people, but it’s not 100% the case, and I would suggest for most people you’re sitting somewhere between 80/20 or 20/80 in terms of percentage of each, so you’re likely to need both.

But how important is one or the other? You’ve now got the three criteria to help you make that decision. If you would like me to help you to decide how much of your effort/budget should be directed towards each area of marketing to get you the best results, use the form below to get in touch.


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