“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.

4 thoughts on ““Pull” to open doors

  1. I’m reminded of the analogy of the marketer who comes to a dinner party and instead of listening and interacting appropriately with the other guests, she leans back in her chair and bellows out the features and benefits of her products, and punctuates her speech with “Act now!” offers. The other guests are completely put off and offended and the marketer is asked to leave. Worse, she is never invited back to the dinner party and everyone in attendance lets all of their friends know she is a bad guest. This is the story of a push strategy being used in a pull environment. As you say, “Building trust and relationships through pull marketing is a long-term commitment to a relationship with an audience – on their terms.”

  2. Back in 2009, when I was trying to help convince senior leadership in my organization to join in on social media, this would have been a great resource. With push marketing (emails, direct mail, tv, etc.), consumers have an option to ignore your message. With pull marketing (Facebook fan pages, blogs, Twitter feeds, Pinterest boards, etc.), consumers come to you for information, advice, feedback, sharing, and community. Pull marketing is less intrusive and it helps build relationships if you are willing to listen to what others are asking or saying. Both push and pull marketing are important in the IMC process. Great post, Mary!

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