Push vs Pull Marketing (Differences and Advantages)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Push marketing and pull marketing are two common marketing strategies a business may deploy to promote its products or services to its target market. Each strategy offers a beneficial but unique approach to attracting customers. If you have an interest in a marketing career, it's helpful to understand these two marketing strategies and what makes them different. In this article, we discuss push vs pull marketing, explore their key differences and explain the advantages of each strategy.

What's push vs pull marketing?

When considering push vs pull marketing, it's helpful to understand exactly what each refers to. Below, you can review a definition and example of each type of marketing:

Push marketing

Push marketing is a strategy marketers use that focuses on pushing a business's products or services toward its target audience. The goal of this strategy is to put products and services in front of consumers without them having to search for them themselves. Marketers may conduct push marketing in several ways. For example, through display ads on social media, roadside billboards and direct marketing in brick-and-mortar store stores.

Example: A beauty brand recently launched a new eyeliner that's waterproof, smudge-proof and easy to apply. To promote it to the brand's target market, the marketing team works on a strategy focusing on creating visibility. They develop a push marketing plan that involves three key initiatives. One is an advertising campaign on social media offering the eyeliner at a discounted rate if purchased with any full-priced item. Another is several point-of-sale displays at each cash register in their brick-and-mortar stores to encourage eyeliner purchases. The brand also plans to offer its distributors an incentive for every 20 eyeliners sold.

Related: Marketing Campaign Management: Definition, Types and Value

Pull marketing

Pull marketing is a strategy marketers use that focuses on pulling a business's target audience toward its products or services. This strategy's aim is to entice customers to turn to the business or brand on their own accord. Marketers typically deploy this strategy in cases of significantly established brands or where customers are already well-aware of their needs and require little convincing. To conduct pull marketing, marketing teams may create explainer video content to upload to various online platforms, conduct regular and ongoing search engine optimisation (SEO) and publish educational, value-adding blogs at consistent intervals.

Example: A beauty brand with several long-standing product lines wants to maintain its market position and ensure growth over the long term. To do this, the marketing team works on a strategy focusing on adding value and nurturing prospect and customer relationships. They develop a pull marketing plan that involves three key initiatives. One is engaging some social media influencers to create and post video content that shows them applying the brand's make-up. Another initiative is approaching top magazines in the industry for product features. The marketing team also arranges for an SEO overhaul to increase the brand's organic website traffic.

Related: Understanding the 4Ps of Marketing: A Detailed Introduction

Key differences between push and pull marketing

To understand the push and pull marketing concepts, it's helpful to review their key differences, which you can review below:

Strategy

Push and pull marketing each has a distinct strategy, which might be their most significant difference. Push marketing has a large focus on driving immediate sales. It involves the use of active marketing methods to ensure consumers see various products and services and to persuade them to commit to a purchase.

Pull marketing focuses on establishing a brand's identity and loyalty. This type of marketing involves the use of more passive marketing techniques than push marketing. The aim is usually to encourage consumers to explore and pursue various products and services on their own accord and to inspire retailers to respond to the subsequent demand.

Related: How to Develop a Strategy in 10 Steps: A Definitive Guide

Use

Based on differing strategies, the instances in which marketers deploy push and pull marketing are usually quite different. Below, you can explore some examples of cases in which push marketing might be beneficial:

  • Starting a new business venture

  • Launching a new product or service

  • Generating fast cash flow

  • During holiday or seasonal periods, one-off sales and promotions

  • Entering a new industry or niche

  • Competing against influential competitors in a highly saturated market

  • Clearing excess stock

Here, you can explore some examples of cases in which pull marketing might be beneficial:

  • Ensuring business development over the long-term

  • Maintaining a dominant market position

  • Building a loyal base of customers

  • Increasing social media engagement

  • Generating organic website traffic

  • Boosting sales without high ad spend

  • Engaging prospects at all stages of the buyer's journey

Related: What Is a Marketing Strategy? (And How to Create Strategies)

Time

Push marketing usually takes a considerably measured and proactive approach. Because of this, push marketing can be vigorous and can help businesses shorten their sales cycle. In a nutshell, push marketing's aggressive style can generate faster sales and revenue results.

Pull marketing often takes a less rigid approach, with many pull marketing initiatives based on various opportunities as they arise. Because this style of marketing is less direct, it can take longer for it to generate sales and revenue results. Many businesses accept this though, knowing that building and maintaining brand identity and a loyal customer base are ongoing, long-term efforts.

Related: 15 Effective Techniques for Closing Sales to Meet Targets

Cost

Push marketing can be more costly than pull marketing. This is because boosting the visibility of a brand, product or service as much as possible, in as little time as possible, is often only possible at a cost. Business pay for many methods of push marketing on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, whereby they incur a fee each time a user clicks on one of their search engine ads, banners or display ads, for example. Other methods may involve paying per thousand impressions, for instance.

Pull marketing generally costs less than push marketing because of its focus on reaching a target market organically. Instead of bearing significant expense to push a brand, product or service to consumers, pull marketing's passive approach invites consumers to consider the brand, product or service voluntarily. Collecting excellent customer reviews or incorporating popular search terms into a brand's website are examples of pull marketing tactics that can cost little to nothing.

Related: What Is Project Cost Control and Why Do Projects Need It?

Push marketing advantages

Below, you can review some benefits businesses may experience by deploying push marketing:

  • Shorter sales cycle: Push marketing methods can help marketers generate product or service exposure and the subsequent demand for it by putting it in front of the right people at the right time. By pushing a product or service and its benefits directly to consumers, businesses can help shorten the process between the discovery and decision stages of the buyer's journey.

  • Forecastable demand: Push marketing's calculated approach can make consumer demand a lot more predictable, which can have many production and inventory benefits. This type of marketing gives producers ultimate control over how much product they produce and push to consumers.

  • Economies of scale: A primary objective of push marketing is to generate sales, fast. When successful, it can create consumer demand for a product, which can provide a business with cost benefits associated with increased production.

Related: What Is Demand Generation? (Plus Strategies and Examples)

Pull marketing advantages

Here, you can explore some benefits businesses may experience by conducting pull marketing:

  • Sustainable competitiveness: Marketers typically take a slow and steady, long-term approach to their pull marketing strategy. The consistency that pull marketing can offer, the value that it can create and the relationships it can build can help a business sustain its competitive advantage over time.

  • Generates feedback: Pull marketing often facilitates direct communication exchanges between a brand and its audience. This can provide businesses with valuable qualitative data that they can use to grow their brand and enhance their products or services further.

  • Creates added value: One of the key aims of pull marketing is to answer the questions people are already asking. When a brand can be there to advise consumers and provide them with meaningful resources, it can enhance their overall perception of the brand and the value of the product or service.


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