Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing


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I am a marketer by trade but as a consumer, I get as annoyed as anyone by the persistent and unrelenting intrusiveness of push marketing techniques.  As hard as we try to get away from unwanted promotions (TiVo, Sirius Radio, cable, etc.), marketers find new ways to track us down and share their messages with us, regardless of our desire or receptivity to such messages.

I don’t know about you folks but the proliferation of pushy and unwanted marketing pitches are driving me batty. Here are a few examples: 

1. My wife and I enjoy watching the Olympics but detest the fact that the short snippets of athletic activity are interrupted by large blocks of mindless and repetitive commercials. I would TiVo the Olympics but they seem to save the best events until the very end of the evening and the whole experience loses its luster if you can’t view the event until the day after.  Flipping the channel is an option, but most shows seem to have their commercial times synched. Gee, what a coincidence!

2. Our daily paper now comes with ads that are wrapped around the editorial content, so you have to go through gyrations to get to the news stories.

3. Floating banner ads are becoming more obtrusive and harder to get rid of.  They follow your cursor until you figure out where the x or ”close” button is.

4. Although we are on the do-not-call list, we still get plenty of unsolicited telephone calls, only they are now from so-called “market researchers” and charities, who are exempt from the privacy requirements. And these people almost never take you off their call lists because they are legally able to call you with impunity.     

The problem with push marketing is that you are almost always talking to a majority of viewers, listeners, readers, etc. who have no interest or desire for what you are promoting.  In some cases you have no choice and push marketing is the only way you can reach your audience. But often, you do have an alternative, and that alternative is to practice “pull marketing.” 

With pull marketing, the idea is for you to find where your prospects congregate, make your information available to them in educational and entertaining ways, and give them incentives to come to you when they have a need for what you offer. Unlike the monologue of push marketing, pull marketing creates a dialogue between you and the prospect.   

In the push model, the marketer is in charge of the timing, content and frequency of promotions. However the consumer is truly in charge because only they decide whether to read or listen to your promotion and whether to respond. As you decide how much of your time and financial resources to devote to push vs. pull marketing, keep in mind that the battleground has shifted. As the marketer, you are not really in charge—the prospect holds the high ground. Rather than fight this fact, it is better to accept who has the real control and find the best ways to help people buy in the way they want to buy, instead of the way you want to sell to them.

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.


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