Push Marketing, Pull Marketing

Push marketing is made up of all the marketing messaging we send out to potential customers, clients and referral sources. The most obvious “push” example? Advertising. Pull marketing techniques include publicity, media appearances, articles, non-promotional information on your Web site, e-mail newsletters, speaking engagements and word of mouth from satisfied clients or colleagues who know. The goal is to pull people into interacting with you or your company.


One of the advantages of pull marketing is that you do not have to spend much time explaining or defending your credentials, or persuading a potential customer that they really do need whatever product or service you provide. When they made the decision to call, write or e-mail, they would have already made a leap of faith and made the move because they believed you were qualified to help them. The conversation may not always end in a sale. Your company may not have the appropriate solution or price, or they may not be ready to buy, but you did not have to “sell” yourself.

Here is something to think about. People do not like to be sold, but they love to buy. When you go into a clothing store, car dealership, shoe store and a salesperson approaches and says, “Hi, do you need any help?” Do you usually say, “No thanks. I’m just looking.” Why? Because you do not want to hear a sales pitch. You do not want to be pushed. You do not want to be sold. You want to buy.

Pull marketing tends to work slowly and cumulatively. Such methods such as publishing articles, speaking to trade industry groups and word of mouth tend to generate buzz at a slower pace than push marketing.

Ideal combination of both

Push Marketing, Pull MarketingIdeally, using a combination of “pulling” and “pushing” can boost your company’s overall marketing effectiveness.

For example, you have a central fabrication facility. On your Web site, visitors can download information that addresses common issues when fabricating a device for a person weighing more than 300 pounds. Of course, to be able to download the information, they need to enter their name, e-mail address and mailing address. This is pull marketing.

You now know you have an interested prospect and one that appears to have a need for a particular fabrication technique. You can start pushing. You can try marketing in the form of postcards, sales letters, e-mails or catalogs with special heavy duty fabrication offers.

When your targeted prospects have a need for your services, they will turn to the firm that they have had regular communication with, know and trust. Pull then push.

Another example is you own an O&P patient care facility. Your Web site has an e-mail newsletter registration box. You send an e-mail newsletter on a regular basis. The newsletter addresses questions and concerns that patients have, as well as showcasing new technology, products and services. This is pull marketing.

By monitoring the click-through rate on your e-mail newsletter, you are able to segment your target market and send or e-mail information specific to their interests. Do you have a new foot or a new microprocessor knee? Or you may have a new style or line of diabetic shoes? This is all push marketing.

Ways of marketing

Push marketing is just that. Pushing your services in the traditional way, that includes direct mail, advertising, cold calling, and other “pushy” techniques. Usually the push approach includes a pitch that tries to sell your services in one step.

Pull marketing is about bringing people to you. It is not passive but it is not pushy either. It is a softer, gentler way of marketing. You are creating an awareness and enhancing your visibility. You will be speaking, writing, doing educational inservices – all with the goal of boosting your profile in the communities where your target markets live and work.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at elizabeth@askelizabeth.net.

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