Push/Pull Marketing Integration (or Why I Can’t Get Away From Donald Trump)

The primary difference between push marketing (also known as outbound marketing) and pull marketing (also known as inbound marketing) lies in how
consumers are approached. Push marketing promotes products by bringing content to the user – byfiguratively (or literally) pushing them onto potential customers. It is more closely associated with traditional offline advertising venues such asTV/Radio ads, newspaper ads, and direct mail, as well as trade shows and showroom/in-store displays, all of which cast a wide net in hopes of snaring as many customers as possible and, ultimately, selling out a finite supply of products. It does not overtly try to build relationships with customers, it just wants to sell them something. Push marketing target demographics are oftentimes the young and the elderly because they are less likely to form long-term relationships with companies.

My favorite example I found while researching was that of the fragrance counter at a department store. A fragrance manufacturer might offer the retailer some sort of incentive to push the brand which could lead to anything from the store devising special offers or special displays all the way to aggressive sales associates spraying passersby!

A prime benefit of push marketing is that it puts products directly in front of potential customers, frequently right at the point of sale, minimizing the time it takes between discovery and purchase. Two more benefits are that it can make very clear statements to customers (which, if the company has properly prepared, are very tightly targeted) and therefore create an instant demand, producing quick results. This type of marketing could be especially appealing and beneficial when a brand is selling a new product which needs aggressive marketing to compete against an established brand with a large marketing budget behind it.

Pull marketing wishes to establish a loyal following and then draw consumers to the products. A pull marketing campaign may use various media channels to
generate interest in a product or a company, leading potential customers to seek out the product or the company on their own. This technique is particularly effective utilizing social media or other online vehicles which birth word-of-mouth interactions and potentially even viral spread. And as we know, people are more likely to buy a product as a result of a friend’s recommendation than strictly from an ad.

Benefits of pull marketing include the potential for building a relationship  between a company and its customers – and that relationship can eventually be strengthened by the development of loyalty, which then drives futures sales – which actually provides another benefit – ease of sales. Sales are pretty easy when the customers come to you. Still another benefit of the pull marketing technique would be that it can be done less expensively than traditional or push marketing, although thorough market research is critical for a successful pull marketing campaign, as is the generation of awareness among the target audience before the product or service even becomes available – often achieved via ad placement. Pull strategies work well with highly visible brands, or where there is good brand awareness.

Truly successful marketing campaigns adopt usage of the best of both worlds. A company needs to push and reach out to those who may not have heard of the
company or its product. It also needs to pull and attract those in the research phase of the purchase cycle. Studies show the effectiveness of an integrated push-pull marketing approach.

A 2011 Brand Science study suggests that adding direct mail to an email campaign, for instance, can increase ROI by more than 60%. As we learned in our lecture, a good example of push/pull leveraging would be the initial use of an opt-in email marketing program or e-newsletter as a hook and employ a banner ad in them to push people to a website. Good strategy would involve creating a flow in one’s marketing that utilizes social channels such as Facebook or Twitter or Google+ to post compelling material designed pull users over to their website – which should be easy to navigate and have an easy-to-find icon or link that can push the user back to social media. (Having a real-time Facebook or Twitter feed actually on the web page would be a great way to keep traffic and really leverage one’s marketing strategy.) Naturally, having a consistent message across all channels is not only important, but really a must for success.

There has been note of a small but growing trend of businesses neglecting or outright abandoning their websites in favor of being present only on social
media channels. The reasons could range anywhere from the labor intensiveness of creating fresh content to the relative complexity and expense of maintaining the site to the plain fact that so many people – i.e. – customers and recruits – are not only on Facebook and/or Twitter but more-or-less living there. The latter especially could lead a business/marketer to decide to focus all of their effort in that dense neighborhood.

The very real problem with that strategy is that the neighborhood is 100% rentals. The residents do not own the real estate. A company’s competitor could buy the lot (the ad) right next door, and that’s embarrassing. Or Facebook could change – and HAS CHANGED – their policies, their algorithms, their functionality on a whim, (or seemingly so, although such changes are likely very well-researched business moves), the results of which could leave certain segments of the business/marketing community – most likely the little guy – scrambling. While Facebook and any other social media channelsmay be fantastic marketing avenues for countless vendors, ultimately, they are in it for themselves and will do what they need to do to make their own enterprise more profitable.

It is very important for a business to invest in and own some online real estate of its own – a well-branded website – where it has total control over the content, operation, and functionality of that particular digital marketplace. Yes, it is usually going to be more expensive and labor intensive, but the peace of mind of owning the content and the delivery vehicle cannot be understated when the alternative is such a tenuous place.

Two businesses that do a good job of integrating their communication plan and achieving a good balance of push/pull marketing are Rolling Stone magazine and Musician’s Friend, a music equipment retailer. This very day, I received in the US mail my latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine with Donald Trump scowling at me from the front cover


– a push marketing example for sure – and a feature story inside which contained a link to the RS website. So I went to the website and I found the top story
there to be the GOP political race, and tonight’s debate, featured as the top story.


The RS website has a very prominent section at the bottom indicating that I can follow them on a variety of social channels.


So I checked out a few:







Notice any consistency?! What Rolling Stone does very well is in-depth content, and the magazine, of course, is the flagship of that specialty, but it utilizes its website to complement the magazine with additional related asides and references and, of course, exclusive material as well. RS then uses their social channels to create two-way conversations with their readers and multi-way conversations between readers – all within the confines of their own designed traffic flow. Nicely done!

A second appropriate example for our discussion is Musician’s Friend, an online music gear seller. This week, I received an email from the company about a great deal on a particular Lanikai acoustic-electric ukelele (while supplies last!) – push marketing! The email, of course, pushed me to the Musician’s Friend website which has A LOT of options on the front page, but there up top was the Lanikai uke.


Like Rolling Stone, the social media icons were easy to find,


and yes, most of the SM pages I checked featured the uke and all pushed you back to the website to purchase it (while supplies last!)

Both of the above examples have a nice balance in their integration, although it seemed like Musician’s Friend may have been the more aggressive
push-marketer hawking their limited-supply product, and Rolling Stone might lean a bit more toward the pull-marketing side as they try to establish a
relationship with their consumers and welcome them into a culture as much as sell them magazines.


Henry Adaso – http://www.dmn3.com/dmn3-blog/five-differences-between-push-marketing-and-pull-marketing


Franz Keller –  http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2012/23463/is-social-media-killing-the-website

Jeff Bullas – http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/03/21/is-facebook-killing-off-the-company-website

Charlie Page – http://imnewswatch.com/2008/09/07/push-vs-pull-marketing-which-is-better-by-charlie-page/

Neil Kokemuller – Houston Chronicle – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/difference-between-promotional-push-strategies-promotional-pull-strategies-23607.html


Lisa Magloff – Houston Chronicle – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/push-pull-promotional-strategy-10972.html

Joseph Guarino – Evolutionary IT – https://www.evolutionaryit.com/social-media-marketing/the-importance-of-a-website-website-vs-social-media-pages/



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