Published June 4, 2008

Push vs. Pull Marketing & Push and Pull Strategy Tips

Not too long ago, marketing was a fairly straightforward concept. The degree to which certain marketing tactics succeeded or failed would change according to the concept of the individual. But for the most part, marketing as a science stayed the same; the basic terms applied, the same mediums for advertising existed.

The appearance of the Internet just over a decade ago has revolutionized marketing and turned it into the multi-faceted monster that we know today.

Understanding these changes and being able to work them into your own marketing plans is crucial if you want to succeed in business today and in Internet business in particular.

In this article, we'll take a look at how the Web 2.0 World (yes, it's not the less complex Web anymore) has changed some basic marketing definitions, and how they are implemented in business strategies.

Push and Pull Marketing Defined

Basically there are two broad topics when it comes to marketing strategy, termed push and pull.

The definition for push marketing has not changed too much since the term was coined: basically, the person doing the marketing is in control of the message being sent out and how it is received by potential customers.

Think of the "push" part as pushing your message into the consciousness of an individual.

Pull marketing, on the other hand, means that the recipient of the message is in control of the message and their decision to act or not.

It's this definition that has really changed in the world of Web 2.0, or the social media-based Internet.

Push, Pull and Social Media

What social media has done is turned Internet surfers into smaller groups of targetable traffic, grouped along specific demographic or social lines. The success of sites such as Facebook and MySpace has demonstrated that people feel the pull of social media globally - and almost universally.

What this means for the marketer is that there is a whole new opportunity to present a message to a highly targeted demographic; good pull marketing in the Web 2.0 world is likely to be much more effective in terms of effort vs. reward than any push marketing attempts at any time.

The trick is being able to avoid any push whatsoever - in fact, some say you also have to avoid the pull.

The Customer Is In Charge

Why do you have to avoid the pull? Well, on today's Internet, it's your potential clients that are supposed to do the pulling. The sense of independence is incredibly high on the 'Net, and rightly so.

People are very resistant to any messages that they see as advertising, and that includes many strategies that would once have been thought of as sound pull marketing tactics.

Today, the business doesn't pull the client in; instead, it is up to the potential client to pull the business in to their social media circle. This means that marketers have to show more patience than ever before.

The ability to be patient and avoid being pushy (and even the traditional "pully") means that dividends will pay off more. A client who comes to you through the new pull marketing is generally a client for life, and they are a great source of additional (word of mouth) advertising as well.

So how do you go about putting together a good pull marketing strategy in the new age of marketing? Well, it's a lot of work.

Joining groups, getting the word out online and off and waiting patiently for them to come to you to ask for the help of your business takes a lot of discipline. If done correctly, though, the rewards are tremendous.