Push vs Pull Marketing

13 May 2020

What is Push and Pull Marketing?

Have you made a large purchase decision lately? The larger the purchase decision the more time you generally spend on researching your decision. The reason is because the risk of making the wrong decision is greater and you don’t want to get it wrong. The smaller decisions you will just make on previous experiences because the risk is lower. 

So, how does your marketing tie into this consumer psychology? 

The first thing you have to do is understand the customer journey. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. If you are an online electronics (e-commerce) retailer (I chose that because it’s one of the hardest industries to convert) and you sell televisions, think about what your customers buying process looks like.


I am sitting at home and I am watching my 5 year old TV and see an advertisement about the latest release of the new Samsung Ultra HD, 5K, blaa blaa.. Or I am on YouTube and I see an Ad from LG about the newest OLED Blaa blaa.. You get the point right?? You weren’t thinking about buying a new TV and now you’re open to it. 

The other point of discovery is when an event creates a need. EG. Your current TV breaks. Or you are building a house or renovating. The need is created from necessity. These are the easiest customers to convert. The funnel is shorter. 

To explain push and pull marketing, I am going to focus on the customers that are in the second category of discovery. The higher intent phase, because that’s where the lowest hanging fruit is.

What is Push Marketing?

Push marketing is pushing a particular product or service to a specific audience. The goal is to push your offer to your customers through marketing. Social media ads are the best example of this. Push marketing can also be channels like direct mail, cold emails, newspaper, TV, radion, etc. For a business that has a 1 to many product and a wide varied audience, push marketing is a great way to “push” your message or product to your market.

What is Pull Marketing?

Pull Marketing is the opposite of Push Marketing.. You are drawing your prospective customers towards your business or product. So let’s see how it works. Let’s go back to the TV example. You know you need a new TV.. What do you do? You would probably go to Google and search for something like, “Best UHD TV’s” or “UHD TV Reviews”.

You will notice from these initial search results that none of the brands that actually sell TV’s appear in this search result. Why? Because Google knows that third party sites are more trusted and more credible to the researcher. At the top of the funnel, the buyer is still in research and discovery mode. So, the brands are all still competing for the purchase. At this part of the sales process content and referral traffic is very important. Writing blogs and using comparison data on your website will also help the consumer see why your particular product or service will suit their needs or wants over your competitors. 


In an age when the consumer now has the power of information, there’s no point resisting the need for content and a well thought out strategy. Your potential customers are going to follow a very similar journey down the funnel every time. The other thing to remember about pull marketing is that the customer is much more qualified and more likely to purchase multiple times, because they have already done the research component and don’t want to have to go to a new retailer. These customers are also more likely to pay more, because they already trust your brand, your systems and the previous purchase experience.

How to use Push and Pull Marketing Together.

Let’s say you have a database of previous purchases. Then you launch a new product or a complimentary product, you would use your existing database to “push” that message to. Those customers have already built trust with your brand and will have more affinity with your brand. Or you have a new product to launch, you can use your existing customer database to push your recent products out to. This example below shows one of our clients (Sacha Drake) that is launching their Autumn collection to their existing purchase database. These types of campaigns can work incredibly well, sometimes yielding 50X ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). 


In summary, push and pull marketing will work best when done in collaboration. The most effective way to build your online marketing machine requires work to understand your customers journey from awareness all the way through to conversion and beyond. If you do this well, then you can make campaigns that are proven and repeatable (evergreen). Once you attain this level of performance in the marketplace your marketing becomes scalable. But until then you will find your campaign and results will be hit and miss. 


Thanks for reading!


Ryan (CEO / Founder)

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