All marketers face the choice between push vs. pull marketing. Push marketing moves the product to consumers by targeting them directly so they can purchase it quickly. Pull marketing draws consumers to the product by making them realize it’s the item they need. So, what’s the difference between push strategy vs. pull strategy? Which one is best for you?

What Is Push Marketing?

Individual reading brochure.

Push marketing is also known as a direct response or outbound marketing. It’s often synonymous with traditional marketing. This method enables you to take your product to the customer directly, such as through paid ads. 

Push marketing represents a form of general advertising and ideally results in sales. It incorporates a mix of offline (e.g., direct mail postcards) and online (e.g., an email offer) strategies. Those offline ads can be effective. The United States Postal Service (USPS) reports that 56% of U.S. consumers enjoy receiving direct mail from businesses they’re interested in. Additionally, 70% consider direct mail more personal than digital marketing methods. 

Push Marketing Strategy

A push strategy is when the seller brings the product to the consumer. It is also called a push promotional strategy. Its goal is to put the product in front of the customer when they are not already in your store. You can use this tactic to target new leads and customers who may not have heard of you yet. 

This disruptive strategy expects consumers to act right away. As a result, it doesn’t take time to establish a more consistent relationship with customers. Thus, it minimizes the time between the customer discovering your product and purchasing it. That’s why it can lead to a quicker conversion and help you establish a fast and immediate cash flow. However, a push strategy is more expensive. 

Tools Used in Push Marketing

Deciding between push vs. pull marketing requires you to compare the tools of each strategy. Here are push marketing tools to consider:

You can use flyers and mailers to reach new customers or release a new product quickly.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software can help you build and maintain a lead database. Your advertisements can then be sent to the leads on the CRM software.

Examples of Push Marketing Strategy

To better understand push vs. pull marketing, let’s go through examples of successful push marketing strategies.

Billboards

Make sure they’re placed in high-traffic areas to target as many consumers as possible and, especially, your target audience.

Broadcast Spots

A broadcast spot is a time your commercial gets aired. It can be before, during, or after a specific program.

Cold Emailing

Email marketing software can help you create a targeted email list to include those people who are likely to take an interest in your product or service. 

Direct Mail

Direct mail is advertising material delivered to the recipient’s residence or office. These ads can include brochures, magazines, or flyers.

Person-To-Person Retail or Direct Selling

Group taking samples of bread

You can offer your product directly to the consumer in a non-retail environment. For example, you can provide free samples to consumers in a showroom.

Display Advertising

Display ads can be formatted as banner ads or graphic advertising on websites, apps, or social media. Put display ads at checkout lines to make them visible to customers. As a result, they can lead to impulse buys at the register or the point of purchase.

Face-To-Face Sales or Personal Selling 

Face-to-face (F2F) marketing is about selling your product directly to potential customers, in person, usually to their homes, or in a public space. 

Limited-Time Offer

For this, you can use social media platforms or landing pages by including a call to action (CTA) that suggests the item or price will only be available for a short period.

Pamphlets

These are also called brochures. They are short booklets or flyers that explain the main benefits of your product or service. You can mail them to the customer or hand them out in person.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Or Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Advertising 

PPC or CPC is an online advertising revenue model using search engine ads. In this case, you generate clicks to your website instead of earning those clicks organically. The search engine will charge you a fee when visitors click your ad.

Moreover, you can use ad tracking software to better understand your customers’ behaviors, define their interests, and successfully target them. According to HubSpot’s State of Marketing report, as of 2020, ad placement and audience targeting were the top ways advertisers drove more demand. 

These web-based or in-app messages pop up on the screen of mobile devices or personal computers.

What Is Pull Marketing?

Individual holding purse and looking in retail store mirror.

Pull or inbound marketing helps you draw consumers to your product. It enables consumers to explore and evaluate your products before making a purchase decision. As a result, you can obtain loyal customers by providing them with the products they need. This method works for both new and existing online customers.

Are you still trying to choose between push vs. pull marketing? 71% of consumers opt for pull strategy techniques, including social media, online search, recommendations, and reviews. In addition, 74% of marketers worldwide rely on an inbound strategy as their primary approach.

Pull Marketing Strategy

Pull marketing is about being at the right place, at the right time. It enables you to earn consumers’ trust over time and keep them coming back to you through relationship-focused sales tactics. A pull strategy can be characterized by naturally accruing traffic, leading to long-term customers and growth.

Thus, a pull strategy requires more work on your end to connect with and engage consumers organically. As compared, a push strategy is more about short-term sales. 

Nowadays, an inbound strategy is vital because consumers love educating themselves on products and services before buying them. You can choose this strategy to demonstrate your uniqueness as a brand. 

Examples of Pull Marketing Strategy

Now, let’s focus on the examples of successful pull strategies:

Blog Posts or Videos 

Blogging helps you educate your target audience. This way, they are equipped with the knowledge to make informed buying decisions. As a result, people who see and interact with your content automatically increase in number, thus improving your brand awareness.

Content Marketing

By creating and delivering valuable, relevant, and consistent content, you help customers find out why they want to purchase your product. 

Cross Promotion

Cross promoting means collaborating with a reputable business to draw customers to you by building brand awareness and trust. 

Email Marketing

Close up of individual checking email on laptop

By sending promotional messages to people on your email list, you help them learn about your new products, discounts, and other services.

Sale Promotions

For example, you can advertise your product to your target audience. After seeing the ad, customers would like to purchase the offered product. Then, as demand increases, retailers will get the product from you to stock it in their stores. 

Native Ads

As recent marketing trends reveal, more brands will leverage native ads in 2022. A native ad is also called sponsored content. It’s a type of paid advertising that’s connected to the content of a media source. For instance, this could be paid video content on the YouTube app that you see in your feed of recommended videos. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You can use SEO tools, such as Google Search Console to help you research competitive keywords and track your ranking. As a result, you can boost your visibility. A good SEO campaign can result in organic clicks from customers intending to buy.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media paid ads, contests, and giveaways represent a push strategy. However, you can also use how-to videos, influencer content, beautiful images and videos of your product, and co-marketing campaigns on social media. As a result, you can enlarge your customer base. 

Social Networking

Building up a respected and well-followed social media profile is an excellent form of pull advertising. It is a great way to build a relationship with potential customers, thus increasing leads and sales. 

Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) Marketing

Also called word-of-mouth advertising, a WOM strategy is about influencing and encouraging organic word-of-mouth discussion about your product or service. 

Should You Use Push or Pull Marketing?

Group marketing meeting

Are you still not sure about a push strategy vs. pull strategy? The following tips should help you figure out when to use either option.

When to Utilize Push Marketing?

Use a push strategy to:

  • Launch a new business or website without a reputation 
  • Get the word out about your new product or service 
  • Promote brand recognition when fighting against a major competitor
  • Expand to a new niche
  • Offer sales and temporary promotional campaigns
  • Generate cash flow or sales quickly
  • During holidays or seasonal events
  • Market a specialized product or service 
  • Clear out product stock before the season ends
  • Apply a multi-channel strategy

When to Use Pull Marketing?

Use this inbound strategy to:

  • Attract those customers who know what they’re looking for 
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Obtain return customers
  • Increase brand recognition with customer engagement and visibility 
  • Reach long-term growth
  • Increase sales and revenue without spending much
  • Grow website traffic through organic, referral, and social segments
  • Boost social media traffic and sharing
  • Achieve a dominant role in a specific niche or industry

When to Use Both?

Push and pull marketing serve as complementary strategies. Together, they make up a whole and work synergistically. Therefore, a mix of these two tactics is necessary for a comprehensive marketing strategy. Consider implementing them both to cover all the push vs. pull strategy marketing aspects.

Most marketers use a combination of these strategies for better outcomes. For example, business-to-business (B2B) industries need both. Specifically, an SEO-boosted pull strategy helps engage with B2B prospects at various stages of the buying cycle so they can be aware of a business. A promotional push strategy can help target an immediate need at the right time.

Wrapping Up

Push vs. pull marketing is one of the primary questions marketers face. A push or outbound strategy pushes products or services to a specific audience. It’s an effective way to spread the word about what you offer and target new customers. A pull or inbound strategy pulls the customers to your product or service. It starts internally and helps you build and perfect a marketable brand for new and existing customers.

Depending on your goal, you can use a push strategy for quicker conversions and a pull strategy for awareness and long-term growth. 

Published by Owen Carter on January 3, 2022

Owen Carter

Owen Carter

Owen is a marketing specialist. He works with advertisers and publishers directly, enhancing their marketing campaigns. Owen understands the importance of having the right tools for the job. He got his start designing and implementing a proprietary platform at a major performance marketing organization. During his free time, Owen enjoys rereading company emails and looking for mistakes.


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