The Difference Between Push and Pull Marketing Strategies

by Eric Dontigney; Updated September 26, 2017
Business executives in a meeting

Push and pull marketing strategies represent two valid, but profoundly different approaches to customer acquisition. Push marketing strategies work to draw attention to a company or product, typically through disruptions such as advertisements, in the hope that such disruptions raise consumer awareness and interest. Pull marketing strategies aim to draw consumers into the fold more subtly, typically through content generation and engagement, in the hopes that consumers solicit products or services from the business.

Push Marketing Basics

Push marketing strategies equate with what most people consider traditional marketing. A business provides a service or product and reaches out to a wide audience to secure sales. By casting a wide net, the business assumes that the message generates interest in a large-enough percentage of the audience to turn a profit. Push strategies engage in one-way communication. The business crafts a message and literally pushes it to potential customers through mass-market channels, such as TV, radio, print or mail.

Push Marketing Examples

Advertisements in newspapers and magazines, as well as in on radio or TV, that announce sales or product launches serve as go-to push marketing strategies for many businesses. Direct mail pieces that make similar announcements or contain sales letters, as well as brochures, push products or services into the customer’s mind. Soliciting friends, families and acquaintances to allow an in-home product demonstration or pitch, common in network marketing, also qualifies as a method of push marketing.

Pull Marketing Basics

Pull marketing strategies focus on creating reasons and ways for consumers to find products, typically through content such as articles or videos. Rather than casting a wide net and hoping for a percentage of interested consumers, pull marketing targets a very select group of ideal consumers and caters to them. Much of pull marketing occurs online and aims to take advantage of social media and social networking to create relationships with customers, boost user engagement and even create user experience. Pull marketing tactics try to use a business’s or brand’s existing values to cement and reinforce relationships with consumers that share those values and purchase from the business or brand. Pull marketing focuses on two-way discussions or dialogue with customers. It should be noted that early definitions of pull marketing strategies closely resembled push marketing strategies, save that the marketing focused more on brand building and awareness advertising than on sales-related marketing.

Pull Marketing Examples

Businesses and brands can take advantage of a vast number of social media and social networking sites to attract customers. A blog or podcast that talks about the challenges in an industry, written by a company that offers a product that supports that industry or solves those challenges, functions as pull marketing. A business can set up social networking profiles where it interacts with customers or potential customers, as well as share new content. Even white papers and informational articles can attract potential customers by taking advantage of topic keywords and online search optimization.

Photo Credits

  • Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images