Pull vs. Push Marketing: Why Businesses Should Know the Difference
Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
A consumer is doing some initial searches for a landscaping company for her home. She doesn’t need a lot done, but she’s looking for some TLC for her backyard, which has seen a bit of neglect from the previous homeowner.
Upon a typical Google search for “landscaping companies near me”, several results that seem promising populate on the search results page. At the top of the search results page, two ads are shown.
“Buy Now! Landscaping Specials Starting at $100! Don’t Miss Out” one ad entreats, boasting about competitive rates.
“Yard Need a Little Love? Look No Further, Results Guaranteed!” the second ad says.
Now, both of these ads do a great job of pulling prospective customers in from different angles. However, the ultimate difference between the two is that one appeals to the “push” marketing approach, while the other utilizes the “pull” mentality.
Push marketing is more sales focused, honing in more on strong calls to action, competitive pricing, and creating a sense of urgency. This approach is strong, and one of the risks associated with it is the risk of turning a customer off with too much of a sales push.
Marketing professionals who struggle to fully grasp this concept should put their consumer hats on for a moment. Think of the constant barrage of advertising and pushes to make a purchase or sign up for a service that a consumer encounters every day. It’s exhausting, right?
With this in mind, many brands have gone more towards the pull approach, with the intent being to draw customers in by attracting them with engaging content or emotive marketing. Instead of constantly chasing new customers down, brands are able to pull them in, which can lead to more initial reception to whatever it is the customer is to purchase.
Now, there is always room for both approaches in a marketing strategy. In this case, though, it comes down to balance. Customers don’t want to only be told to spend their money. They also want to know how this purchase benefits them, and it helps if they feel they’re solving a problem with the purchase.
Let’s go back to the example of the customer in need of landscaping. Sure, she intends to spend her money with a reputable and competitive landscaping company. But she cares a lot about the end result. She doesn’t want her yard to be the eyesore of the neighborhood. For this reason, the ad appealing to her yard’s need for a little TLC appeals to her more. This ad has drawn her in, making her more open to the idea of booking with this company, even if the price may end up being a bit higher.
A company could still have reeled this customer in using push marketing, but perhaps the call to action would have done better to be centered around the customer’s pain point.
“Your Yard Could Look Better Next Week! Call Us Now and Book Your Appointment”
This ad copy is a stronger call to action than the previous pull marketing example, but it still addresses the need for this customer’s yard to look a bit better. A win-win situation.
Of course, every customer is different. This is where adequate market research comes into play. Knowing consumer behavior trends is an integral part of a marketer’s job. This information is instrumental in knowing whether to try out more push or more pull marketing.
In addition, A/B tests can be done to test the waters and validate a theory that customers will be more drawn to certain types of ads or specifically tailored copy. Using as much information as possible, marketers can create a dynamic marketing strategy that will appeal to a broad range of potential customers.