How Pull Marketing Overcomes Marketing Clutter


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I suspect that I am not the only one who is frustrated by the increasing amount of advertising clutter. Watching television has become increasingly painful as it seems to be little bits of content (entertainment) interspersed with dozens of commercials. Talk radio is even worse, with 45-50 percent of the airtime devoted to the non-talk part (commercials, PSA’s, news, etc.).

To get away from radio commercials, we subscribe to Sirius/XM Radio. And like most households, the Ryan family has a DVR that we use to tape programs. Basically, we do whatever we can to avoid unwanted promotions including not answering the phone when we don’t recognize the number and pretending to be away when solicitors come to the door.

I like to watch sporting events live, particularly football and golf. But it has become tough to endure the endless repetitive commercials for cars, ED medicines, etc. The remote control helps, but even if there are two games on simultaneously, as often as not, there will be commercials on both networks. Just for the heck of it, instead of watching the football game last Sunday, I logged onto the NFL Network ( which offers a play by play synopsis of every NFL game. This made me realize how much time elapses between actual on-the-field football actions.

Because consumers learn to tune out promotional clutter, push marketers need to constantly find new ways to get their message across. For examples, many Website videos now have a commercial introduction. Taxicabs carry large advertising posters. Web banner ads are more prevalent and harder to turn off. Telephone reps ignore the fact that you are on the do-not-call list and door-to-door salespeople ignore the “Do not solicit” sign on your front door. Even restrooms are plastered with promotions. Is there nowhere to hide?

The battle between consumers and push marketers will go on with the latter trying to come up with new and clever ways to force the former to listen and respond to their promotions. But I submit that a much better plan is to figure out a way to attract a larger share of the people who are already interested in what you offer and then convince them to do business with you. This is “pull marketing” (also known as inbound marketing) and it is what we practice at Fusion Marketing Partners. Push marketing works in both the B2C and B2B marketing. Give it a try. Your prospects will be happy that you did so.

Carpe Occasio.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Ryan
Christopher Ryan is CEO of Fusion Marketing Partners, a B2B marketing consulting firm and interim/fractional CMO. He blogs at Great B2B Marketing and you can follow him at Google+. Chris has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.


  1. Push marketing feels like the contemporary equivalent of the arms race. Vendors are constantly looking for smarter ways to penetrate the buyer’s defences, and buyers are constantly looking for better ways to improve their perimeter protection to prevent unwanted messages getting through.

    Pull marketing, on the other hand, responds to buyer-initiated searches for information that will help them to solve a problem, achieve a goal or address an issue. It seeks to understand what the prospect is likely to be interested in and where they are likely to be looking for answers.

    A bit like setting a trap along a trail. But with a soft landing rather than sharpened stakes at the bottom.

    Bob Apollo | Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners

  2. Bob, thanks for the excellent comments. there is no doubt that push marketing creates conflict between consumer and marketer.
    By contrast, pull marketing is welcomed by consumers who are actively looking for information, or looking to buy a specific product or service.

    Chris Ryan

  3. Gail, you are so right. In the last paragraph of my blog post it should say: “Pull marketing works for both B2C and B2B marketing.” Sorry for the confusion.


  4. I certainly agree that the ambient noise level of push marketing continues to grow, training us to minimize it or learn to ignore it.

    There are many advantages in adding pull marketing tactics over increasing push marketing efforts. I look forward to hearing your ongoing thoughts on this.


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