Pull vs. Push: How Consumer Marketing Communications Make a Difference

We often refer to the concepts of pull and push marketing. For those unfamiliar, these concepts deal with the overall strategy of a marketing professional and how they approach and engage with customers.

On one hand, the pull approach encourages consumers to come to the brand. Examples of this approach include promoting sales or deals to consumers, capitalizing on loyalty by offering rewards, and using influencers to create more of a demand and following for the product or service being promoted.

Push marketing is more of the traditional sales approach, “pushing” a specific product or service to consumers with advertising to a target audience. Examples of this approach are targeted ads on social media or on Google Ads, sprinkled throughout the internet.

And of course, there are plenty of intersections where these two approaches meet. Having a strong grasp on these two age-old marketing techniques and how they work best together and separately can really elevate marketing communications and the level of engagement achieved.

One of the best ways to start to identify the best ways in which to use each marketing approach is to gather information on what’s currently being done and the results of those efforts. Is the marketing for the brand mostly pull, mostly push, or a mix of both? What results in terms of conversions and reach have these approaches brought in? Is there one that seems to perform better?

Answering these questions can help identify a better strategy moving forward, as well as opportunities to improve whichever approach is underperforming. Remember: marketing data tells a story, and it can be beneficial to read between the lines and pick out trends in consumer behavior.

The concept of pull marketing is often a favorable one for brands to try. Rather than pushing sales and products down a customer’s throat, brands can “reel” the customer in with a more authentic campaign. Creating a lifestyle campaign for a new brand of luggage, for example, can help attract customers who appreciate the lifestyle aesthetic versus the price point on the luggage.

A way to marry these two concepts, in the example of the luggage brand, would be to create a campaign around the lifestyle aspect while still promoting a sale price. This approach may be successful because it can resonate with multiple demographics of users and their individual preferences.

Of course, both of these approaches won’t always need to be used together, and that’s ok! It’s perfectly acceptable to change things up when it comes to marketing. Testing different campaigns on different platforms can also be helpful when it comes to measuring results.

Taking creative approaches and testing the pull and push techniques can be useful for brands looking for a boost in their marketing. Having a firm grasp on analytics can help prevent a brand from being tone-deaf, which is also important, and accomplishing the right tone with the marketing strategy.

Improving marketing communications can create more genuine connections with consumers. A brand that makes an effort to connect with its consumers based on their behaviors and preferences has a better chance of creating genuine engagement.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

View more posts from this author