Push vs. Pull Marketing, and “New” Media

 During the holiday season we will be looking back to our best blog posts of the year. Here is number 4.

Number 3!

Push vs Pull Marketing

Crack open any Marketing 101 textbook and you’re likely to find a passage on Push Marketing and Pull Marketing. These are the two basic physics of marketing and they each form the approach for Branding and Direct Response, respectively.

Push Marketing is how most marketers approach the dissemination of their message. The theory behind this strategy is that if you broadcast your message through the media channels most likely to include your core audience, you will reach them with enough repetition. And after enough marketing impressions, the audience will be motivated to act. This is how TV, radio, print, billboards, and more traditional media have worked in marketing and advertising for decades.

Pull Marketing has long been the realm of direct response marketers. It works best by giving the audience an incentive to respond directly to the marketer, and it engages the audience by pulling them back in towards the brand through a response channel. This is how direct mail, email, micro sites, and e-commerce work. And pull marketing can be tracked and measured based on the audience response and participation in the marketing program.

Now along comes social and mobile media—the so-called “new” media, which isn’t really new anymore—and there are divergent schools of thought on how these new media can be used for marketing. Do you build a community (ex: Facebook Fan Page) and broadcast—or PUSH— to your audience there, hoping they will be incentivized enough to take action on their own? Is that enough of a strategy, and is it the best use of the medium? Push marketing on Facebook is like running the same TV commercial on the same channel over and over again. Sooner or later you will lose your audience to boredom, repetition, and inactivity. And if you rely on the audience to act on their own, you are asking them to do way too much.

At The Weinstein Organization we see new media more like brand new response channels. They are communication vehicles, not communication destinations, which are ideal for one level of customer and prospect engagement. But the marketing goal is never to just engage with your audience—the goal is to nurture and condition them towards an actionable response (sales, download coupons, opt-in for an email or newsletter, etc.). And getting someone to act is never a one-step process. It requires several stages of engagement and marketing.

We call this the “TWO Pull Strategy Approach”. We use Social Media, Mobile Media, and Viral Marketing, as response channels to “PULL” users in and engage them, then integrate other media to nurture customers and prospects towards desired, measurable action.

The goal is not to see how fast we can get 500,000 fans on a client’s Facebook page, or to collect 20,000 followers on Twitter, or 1,000,000 views of a YouTube video. The ultimate goal is to build the fans or audience base, get them interested by engaging with them, and then MOVE THEM to another medium that is designed to create and take action.

The reason this works is because people are more likely to engage with marketers in social media and mobile media than anything else right now. 400,000,000 people spend 40 minutes a day on Facebook and 98% of all text messages get opened and read. Does your email campaign alone have numbers like that?

We think “New media” is an excellent way to build a receptive and motivated audience, but if you stop there then you have short-changed your strategy. If you build a Twitter page the followers may come, but do you have a plan for where they are ultimately following you to? It’s like a store: you can have 100 customers walking the floor and browsing your goods, but unless you have a salesperson engage with the customers to motivate and incentivize them to the cash register to make a purchase, then you are effectively practicing PUSH marketing—hoping your overall marketing has made the right amount of impressions of the right message to the right people.

With PULL marketing, social media and mobile media become the salesperson walking the floor; engaging each customer and nurturing them, practically taking them by the hand and leading them directly to the cash register.

(originally posted on Friday, March 5, 2010)