“Pull” to open doors

Push pull 2

There are lots of buzz words in marketing speak. Any conversation centered around integrated marketing communications is likely to spark a debate about push versus pull marketing.

But what are they talking about?

Push marketing is, admittedly, a little pushy. It consists of content pushed out to an audience who are passive recipients. TV and radio advertising would be good examples. Online, push marketing might appear in the form of a banner ad or live chat pop-up.

Pull marketing, refers to an active audience who are actually looking for what you have to offer, are pulled in and choose to connect.

Both strategies have merit in an integrated marketing communications strategy, but pull marketing has a particular affinity with emerging media. Search engine optimization is one of the purest forms of pull marketing. In an online search by a prospective customer, a marketer’s goal is to make sure their brand is positioned for the searcher to find it easily.

Author, Greg Verdino, expands the definition of pull marketing to being visible where your ideal client hangs out and becoming part of their communities.

Pull is not about pulling consumers in; it’s about giving consumers a reason to pull us in.

Pull means that we to go to them, join their communities, give them reasons to voluntarily draw us into their personal media experiences. We’re not interrupting them. They’re opting into us.

Valuable collateral in pull marketing is expert knowledge. Share it with others. Emerging media vehicles for pull marketing include websites, blogs, discussion forums, industry articles, whitepapers, webinars, infographics and videos. All of this suggested content must be authentic and have intrinsic value for the audience.  Thinly veiled promotional vehicles will be obvious, and possibly offensive.  Building trust and relationships through pull marketing is a long-term commitment to a relationship with an audience – on their terms. They choose where they want to go in the digital realm, when and how they wish to connect, and what they decide to experience.

A brand that has consistently proven itself to be a thought-leader in sharing expert knowledge is American Express.  The Open Forum is Amex’s online community for small business owners. It offers the concept of “collective ingenuity” with other business owners as they discuss and share ideas and experiences. Monthly traffic on the Open Forum website has grown to over 1 million visitors, the Facebook page has 327,000 likes, the Twitter feed has amassed 191, 500 followers.

Pull marketing through emerging media, done well, has great potential to open doors and grow your audience.

Keeping up with emerging media

Orange Keep Calm Sign

As contemporary career advice goes, keep calm and keep up is the bare minimum in polite guidance. A less diplomatic career counselor would be more direct – adapt or die. Professionally, that is.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re adapting to emerging media. Well done!

Professionals active in the workplace today face a new world order. Emerging media has an impact on almost everyone whose job involves any digital interaction with a computer or a mobile device. Yet, this powerful force in our personal and professional lives is so dynamic it is challenging to define theoretically. Inherent in its very title is the propensity to evolve and change. To further complicate the issue, common vernacular often uses the terms, emerging media, new media, and digital media, interchangeably. As a practical matter, emerging media encompasses such mediums as websites, smart phone applications, blogs, podcasts, video ads, social networking, RSS feeds, micro-blogging, message boards, forums, advergaming – basically any method for communicating and connecting within the digital landscape.

It would be logical to assume that the brunt of the pressure to adapt to the emerging media revolution falls on the shoulders of professionals active in fields related to media, communications and marketing. Not so, claims Shaila Dewan of the New York Times:

“The need to constantly adapt is the new reality for many workers, well beyond the information technology business…retooling becomes increasingly important not just to change careers, but simply to stay competitive on their chosen path.”

Ironically, professionals are using emerging media to keep up with emerging media. Industry blogs, training videos, ebooks or peer-to-peer forums, are all examples of valuable tools that lend themselves to learning on-the-job and building a skill set in new areas of expertise.

Those who seek the benefit and validation provided by a higher level of formal accreditation in emerging media and marketing can take advantage of a growing number of dedicated university courses, offering undergraduate and graduate programs. The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Masters program at West Virginia University (WVU) offers a customized selection of 30 courses equipping graduate students as certified leaders in emerging media and marketing.

In a hyper-connected world it is not enough to just do your job well today, always remain willing to rewrite your job description tomorrow. The emerging media knowledge you have already mastered may not be so relevant in three years time, it could even be obsolete. Prepare to invent, adapt and reinvent your role, continuously, over the course of a career.  Companies will not hire or retain those who do not display competency in keeping up with the pace of change. Whether you choose to adapt through ad-hoc or formal education in emerging media, keep calm and commit to active learning.