Every marketing initiative is, at its foundation, either a push or a pull. Campaigns may feature a healthy dose of each, but if you boil every move down to its nature, it does one of two things:
* It PUSHES your product in front of its target market. Perhaps the most famous television commercial of all-time, Apple’s “19843 ad run on Super Bowl Sunday, introduced the Macintosh and showed consumers something they’d never dreamed of.
* It PULLS your target market to the point of sale. The U.S. Armed Forces use a variety of pull strategies to encourage enlistment. “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” is a slogan aimed at getting young men and women out of the living room and into the nearest recruitment office.
Maki’s post on DoshDosh Internet Marketing covers a lot of the fundamentals when applying this content to marketing your business online: PUSH is about a “focus on the features of your product or service and…a direct response from the targeted audience.” Whereas PULL is more a brand building strategy-in which the objectives of the marketing plan may supersede the needs of the target. But only in the short run, of course.
Think about why you’re selling your product in the first place
1. Did you strike gold with a radical innovation?
2. Is educating your consumers a key determinant of the product’s success?
3. Will they see it coming?
If so, you want to PUSH this product in front of customers, because it might be too unique to stand on its own legs at first.
A PULL strategy would make more sense if:
1. You found a way to deliver a well-known product cheaper than everyone else.
2. Your value proposition includes service delivery as a differentiator from your competition.
3. Your business model depends heavily on upselling or cross-selling.
Marketing consultants make a living by taking a close look at the client’s business model, product line, industry and competitive environment. Once you’ve chosen your strategy, how do you mobilize your digital marketing resources accordingly?
For a PUSH strategy:
* Email marketing. Using email, you effectively sidestep a lot of the filters that consumers use to determine if a product or service is right for them. Your message pushes its way right to their front door. It’s for this reason that you need to run these campaigns very judiciously: showing up in your customer’s inboxes can be deemed very intrusive-IF you don’t immediately communicate value to them. Anyone planning to use email campaigns as a staple of their online marketing plan might consider reading Seth Godin’s “Permission Marketing.”
* Viral social media campaign. In this scenario, you typically create linkbait (content which is inherently interesting enough for people to link to it without your expert management) in the hope of hitting a nerve where your content immediately explodes in popularity. For example – you’ve directed and produced what could be the funniest video ever featured on YouTube. It won’t go anywhere until you push it into the viral channels: embedding on your blog, reaching out to fan forums, emailing everyone you know to tell them about it. If the video is really that good, the initial push needs only to be a small one-but it remains a push, by definition.
For a PULL strategy:
* Sponsored links in the paid search channel. You know these: the ads that show up on the right side of search results in Google. All the major search engines are monetized with this kind of ad model. This is the most obvious way to execute a pull strategy on the web, because thanks to the advanced technologies at your disposal, the only people who view your ads (and ultimately click) are pre-qualified across a variety of criteria. You merely pull them to your storefront. Then a well-designed site with a good commercial proposition (read: price/benefit relationship) will usually finish the job.
* Search engine optimization (SEO). People use search engines for all kinds of reasons (see Browsermedia’s discussion of a Dutch eye-tracking study and its insights on shopper behavior using search.) By ranking well for a variety of relevant keyword phrases, you are once again pulling in the interested parties who are already halfway ready to pull the trigger. (As always, the Long Tail principle is how this seemingly small-scoped niche focus can actually yield big results. If you haven’t read about this concept made famous by Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson, it’s time!)
As always, the array of resources available to you is staggering. With the help of marketing professionals, you can match your business model to the right digital marketing plan, complete with the necessary array of push and pull tactics.