The Difference Between “Push” and “Pull” Marketing

What is marketing? Marketing is everything that leads up to the sale of a product. Many people confuse advertising or public relations with marketing when in fact, they fall under the marketing umbrella.

“Push,” or traditional marketing, is what we think of as interruptive advertising: TV ads, radio spots, billboards, direct mail, email, etc. They “push” the message at you to attract your attention, compel you to engage emotionally with the message and, ultimately, result in purchasing intent.

This pushing technique worked very well when television was new and there were only three major networks to view. Procter & Gamble, Mattel and other companies enjoyed great success by employing traditional “push” advertising. Today, a variety of media daily inundate us with about 3,000 advertising messages. To succeed with a “push” campaign, you need a product or service with a narrow niche, and you need a lot of money to make your message heard.

“Pull” marketing involves attracting the market to a website, engaging visitors with content written specifically for the market, and inviting them to act on an offer. It may be a low-risk offer such as a free white paper on a topic or access to a free interest calculator. The idea behind “pull” marketing is accepting that the browser is completely in charge of the purchasing decision. The method works best if you pave a path for your ideal prospect in a process that would look like this:

Some combination of “push” and “pull” techniques usually works best. In either case, market research on consumer attitudes and buying trends can remove much of the guesswork. Whether it’s “push” or “pull” – keep on marketing!

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