The Difference Between Push and Pull Marketing Strategies
In simple terms push marketing involves pushing your brand in front of audiences (usually with paid advertising or promotions). Pull marketing on the other hand means implementing a strategy that naturally draws consumer interest in your brand or products (usually with relevant and interesting content).
Running your business online means having to choose between two core principles for guiding your marketing strategy. It’s common (and important) to balance your budget, time, and efforts on growing your business across organic and paid strategies that offer the best results. Choosing between push vs pull.
But what is the difference between push and pull marketing? And which one is best for you?
Let’s go through the pros and cons. Understanding the difference between push and pull strategies will help you understand the direction you need to go.
First you have to establish what your long-and short-term goals are for your business’s success. As the world of online marketing continues to evolve in light of shrinking physical markets, and as businesses frantically try to adjust to the 2020 corona virus pandemic, it will be as important as ever to establish a solid online marketing approach to help your business stay up right. For businesses looking to establish a fast and immediate cash-flow, “push” strategies based on paid ads are one option. For businesses looking to gain a long-term customer base, “pull” offers methods for organic long-term growth.
But what are they? What’s actually the difference between push and pull strategy in marketing? In simple terms push marketing involves pushing your brand in front of audiences (usually with paid advertising or promotions). Pull marketing on the other hand means implementing a strategy that naturally draws consumer interest in your brand or products (usually with relevant and interesting content).
This relatively simple definition of push vs. pull marketing skips overs all the different strategies each option offers. Search engine optimization, search engine ads, content marketing, social media content, social media paid ads, etc. – are all forms of these two kinds of marketing.
The Difference Between Push and Pull Marketing
In push marketing the goal is to bring your brand or products to your customers. This form of marketing is a lot more deliberate and proactive than other inbound methods. Because push marketing is a bit more aggressive then the alternative it’s generally preferred by businesses taking advantage of a short time-period or trying to generate sales quickly.
Instances where push marketing can be helpful include:
- When launching a new business or website without a reputation
- When releasing new products
- During holidays, or seasonal events
- For sales and temporary promotional campaigns
- When expanding to a new niche
- To generate cash-flow or sales quickly
- To help clear out product stock before the end of a season
- To help promote brand recognition when competing against a dominant competitor
- Just in general, when trying to subsidize a multi-channel strategy
Push marketing is a broader, sort of shotgun approach that means making your products, services, or brand as visible as possible in order to get the best results you can – but for a cost. It usually means quicker sales. The other side of the coin with push marketing is that it also usually involves spending money. One of the most popular forms of push marketing is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising where marketers can place banners, display ads, search engine ads, and shopping ads across a wide range of platforms, usually by paying a small amount each time their ad is clicked on.
Other popular forms of push marketing include paid social-media marketing strategies that are similar to PPC or cost-per-thousand-impressions.
Pull marketing, on the other hand, involves naturally accruing traffic. The reasoning here is to create high-value content suited for your target audiences and letting them come to you. Of course this doesn’t mean doing nothing. Pull marketing simply means being aware of the fact that there are already users actively seeking out the products, services, or information that you offer and making it easier for them to find it, and making it easier for them to get to their ultimate goal.
The most prominent forms of pull marketing include search engine optimization (SEO), creative social media content, and customer reviews. Whereas SEO has proven itself as the type of marketing with the most reliable ROI for a long time, social media has only exploded as a business channel relatively recently.
Pull marketing is often the primary business strategy for companies looking to:
- Ensure long-term business growth
- Maintain dominance in a specific niche or industry
- Build a return customer base or improve loyalty
- To promote brand recognition with customer engagement and visibility
- Increase social media traffic as well as social media sharing
- Grow traffic to their site across organic, referral, and social segments
- Improve sales and revenue affordably, without an expensive ad budget
- Engage with customers before they know what they want, at the top of their shopping funnel
So what’s the difference between push and pull marketing in practice? A few years ago as many as 71% of consumers claimed to prefer pull marketing techniques. As the online landscape evolves businesses are continuing to see the value in the time-proven benefit of pulling in customers organically.
Close to 3/4th of all marketers claim that content marketing increases engagement. These days 51% of all website traffic comes from search engines, and according to BrightEdge that traffic alone is capturing over 40% of all online revenue. If those numbers aren’t convincing enough, by the end of the decade the number of global, active social media users had grown to 3.724 billion. As these numbers demonstrate a new form of normal for internet use, it becomes apparent that pull focused marketing is an absolute necessity for future business growth.
But the push strategy can be tempting too. According to Wolfgang Digital, this last year was the first time that paid-search ads outpaced regular search in terms of revenue with PPC driving 33% of revenue in the retail channel. For online-only business, paid strategies boast responsibility for as much as 46% of revenue!
The truth is that businesses find the best success when they focus on a multi-channel, multi-strategy approach in both push and pull. These two broad categories are simply too important to focus on just one.