Are you aware that there are two fundamentally different marketing strategies? Running a business, whether physical retail or online requires a decision on which approach to take. The best of businesses do aspects of them both. Although it’s extremely common to have the discussion between focusing on organic or paid strategies, there’s another key discussion that should be had; push versus pull.
Understanding the difference between push and pull strategies can be understood simply as what we call “hunting” versus “farming”. In push strategies, you go aggressive and attempt to “hunt” for new customers via pushing media out; think Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc. In pull strategies, the customer is hunting for a product or service and your job is to “farm” and maintain a position to ensure you are discovered; think Google or inbound calls. Some platforms are capable of doing both i.e. YouTube, the worlds second largest search engine, allows people to search for what they want but also discover new content through their recommendations engine.
Both methods have their pros and cons.
The first step in deciding which way to go is to understand both your short- and long-term goals and ensure the the strategy you choose is based on the success of your business. Whether focusing on digital marketing is as a result of the pandemic or not is not really important but rather; what platforms and approaches will give you the highest possibility of success. For businesses looking to establish a source of new customers and therefore cash-flow, a “push” strategy such as Paid Social is an option. For businesses who are attempting to “farm” and ensure their showing up in front of returning customers and residual searchers, a strong Paid Search strategy may be the right option.
In simple terms, push marketing involves you proactively placing your brand or business in front of the faces of potential customers who are not directly looking for your product or service. This is usually done through being a first mover on a new platform which has unbelievable organic reach or through paid media amplification (i.e. Facebook or TikTok Ads). Pull marketing is the focus on implementing a strategy which naturally draws consumer interest either through content marketing or the location of marketing.
It’s important to understand that retention and customer-loyalty can also be driven through Paid Media through smart audience use.
Reasons to choose push marketing include:
- Launching a brand new business which has no existing reputation.
- When a new line of products are available and require additional awareness.
- During hyper-competitive periods where organic marketing stands very little chance.
- For sale periods where new customer acquisition is more likely.
- To promote the clearance of leftover stock before new products or lines come in i.e. end of season.
- To reach new customers and compete against much larger retailers or competitors.
Push marketing is a strategy which includes a higher risk, especially if you’re not an expert within the craft, but the upside is limitless. This is where somebody like myself will garner attention using the most popular forms of push marketing in digital such Facebook Ads, TikTok Ads or YouTube Ads. They come with a set of pre-requisites such as having the cash-flow to invest and a better understanding of your customer base. The normal costing method is usually a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) or a CPC (paying for each time someone clicks on the ad).
Pull marketing on the other hand is usually based around gathering “natural” traffic i.e. the market is interested and you show up to give your offering. The approach here is usually to create “high-value content” based around questions, topics and ideas that your target customer will be interested in and letting them come to you. The most prominent forms of pull marketing include search engine optimisation (SEO), organic posts on social media & PPC in the form of Search Ads. Content marketing falls into an interesting in-between the two as it can be amplified to reach additional people but naturally will grow through your potential audience seeking you out.
Reasons to choose pull marketing include:
- Ensure defensibility and attempts to ensure long-term business.
- Maintain a dominant position in a specific niche or industry.
- Finding free ways to promote your business via organic, referral and social.
- Grow sales organically without the need to deploy marketing ad budget, albeit at a much slower pace.
Whichever aspect felt most compelling to you should be the place to start. If you have the additional budget, time and/or resource, or need a new source of revenue driving, push marketing should definitely be explored. If those attributes are not in abundance, you may consider a push approach. Both offer enormous opportunities for success. Ultimately, you should do both as they work hand-in-hand but deciding where to start should come down to the question; what do you want to achieve?