Product marketing was a lot easier before the internet and social media. A marketing plan centers on a push strategy, where brands “push” their product to the consumer. The approach was simple enough, relying on attention-grabbing advertising and marketing displays to persuade active buyers.
With online resources, consumers have more power over the information. Push marketing is less influential in drawing loyal customers who can vet options through industry experts and social channels. As consumers progress through the buyer journey, credibility is a more significant consideration than flashy marketing.
This shift in consumer decision-making has fuelled the trend of pull marketing — the antithesis of push marketing. Rather than pushing products to a buyer, a pull strategy focuses on drawing customers to the brand. The plan is to attract leads, nurture healthy relationships and inspire the desire for a particular product or service. This strategy can take longer to build results, but the customer base will likely be more loyal and profitable.
Pull marketing is not replacing push marketing. Push and pull work in tandem for many companies to build awareness and foster customer connections. With a better understanding of practical pull marketing applications, businesses can create a blended strategy that maximizes revenue generation.
What is a Pull Marketing Strategy?
Pull marketing, also called inbound marketing, focuses on creating relationships with your brand rather than pushing a particular product. B2B and B2C businesses use pull marketing for lead generation and providing ongoing value that translates to customer loyalty. The goal is to increase demand for your product and create a following that actively seeks your solutions.
Marketing activities focus on piquing interest and bolstering your authority as an industry thought leader. This can be accomplished by creating content like blogs or whitepapers to add value and boost search rankings. Or, you could share media coverage on social networks to promote your brand. These are just a few methods and examples of how a pull strategy can influence consumers.
Pull marketing can be used fluidly throughout the marketing life cycle, from lead generation to close. Businesses can use technology and social platforms to listen to their market and understand consumer needs and opportunities. They can then develop followings based on their superior knowledge and relatability to actual, immediate circumstances the audience faces. This helps them choose the proper marketing channels and tools to connect with and influence their ideal customer.
In the customer’s research phase, pull marketing can differentiate your brand for the leads you capture. You can offer appropriate, targeted content based on your initial research, reflecting their needs rather than your product.
Even closed customers can be targeted in pull marketing. For example, customer loyalty and rewards programs keep customers engaged and returning for more. Plus, they can be leveraged for word-of-mouth, a great way to build immediate credibility and trust with new leads.
Push vs. Pull Strategy in Marketing
Push and pull marketing both carry distinct advantages, and good marketers know when one works better than the other. A push strategy entails direct marketing — your product, features, and pricing are placed in front of customers. This can be accomplished through store displays, advertising techniques, email marketing, and several other persuasive marketing tactics.
The direct approach inherent in push marketing is helpful if you want to generate sales quickly. For new businesses trying to generate awareness, push marketing can promote your products and position them in the market.
Despite its advantages, push marketing cannot be solely relied upon to build a business with today’s customer journey. Push marketing is less cost-effective because it often involves partnering with and paying supply chain businesses and advertisers. Although it may generate fast sales, it does little to encourage trust and loyalty to your brand.
Integrating a pull strategy can piggyback off of the success of push marketing communications. While push strategies build awareness and close sales, pull, marketing generates buzz. It creates conversations, which is engagement that leads to connection. Brands can use that level of interaction to build followings, add value and increase customer retention.
Push and pull strategies can work together in several ways throughout the buyer journey. For example, you could use push marketing at the outset to reach audiences and introduce your product. You can then pull in customers with case studies, exclusive offers through lead magnets, and soliciting customer reviews. You can partner with influencers to discuss your product as part of your social media strategy.
In contrast, you can follow up pull marketing with push tactics. Perhaps you have a popular blog or YouTube instructional series and have amassed a following. You can initiate email campaigns or buy ad space when promoting products to leads. You already have the following, so this push can directly influence sales.
When done correctly, pull marketing highlights your unique value. Consumers appreciate your brand’s personality, reliability, and relevance to their needs.
Barriers to entry are falling in many industries thanks to digital marketing, and many markets are becoming saturated with options. Combine this with greater access to information, and consumers are now empowered to demand more from businesses. For businesses vying to gain their footing and grow, pull marketing is vital to elevate them above the competition.
5 Key elements in a powerful pull marketing strategy
Now that we understand the dynamic interplay of push and pull marketing, we can look at how to optimize your pull strategy. By incorporating these five vital elements in your pull marketing strategy, you will significantly boost your authority, relevance, and value:
Whether it’s B2B salespeople adding value throughout sales plans or B2C servicers building authority online, everyone benefits from the content. High-quality, well-researched, expert content targeted to a particular audience can stimulate interest.
When you identify consumers’ unique needs, you can create content like blog posts, ebooks, or videos they find valuable. This can pay off when consumers use search engines to research solutions and see your relevant content pop up. It can also help in interpersonal B2B selling as part of a value-based approach. For instance, you can supply relevant marketing content during the qualification stage to show your value to the prospect.
Transparency refers to tracking activities and measuring effectiveness. A significant aspect of pull marketing, and really all marketing, is a continual improvement based on results. You can fine-tune your approach with analytical insight into how your pull tactics are reaching consumers and affecting behaviors.
A digital marketing strategy opens you up to infinite resources to track your efforts. Online tools set you up with dashboards and reports that can detail impact across all of your marketing channels.
With Google Analytics, for example, you can see website traffic, bounce rate, and average on-page time. Meanwhile, tools from HubSpot, Sprout Social, and other online resources can track and listen to conversations on social media. All of this combines for a comprehensive view of how users perceive your brand, products, and value.
Transparency and technology go hand-in-hand. There are limitless tools available online to capture relevant, goal-oriented marketing data. Services from Google, SEMRush, Moz and countless others can get you real-time insights to adjust your strategy. Using the latest technology, you can listen, engage and track results responsively to quickly meet needs.
From the content, you provide to the point of sales system you use, your blend of resources impacts sales. Resources must be geared toward attracting customers in your target marketing and facilitating the buying process. This makes purchasing easy and assures customer confidence.
Continuous Improvement Cycle
Two truths in business are that customer behaviors are always evolving, and there is always room for improvement. This is why consistent, thorough monitoring is critical — it gives direction for better marketing decisions.
With constant tracking, you can continually update your target markets as trends change. You can also shift your product or service offerings and update your marketing communications to match your buyer personas.
Advantages of pull marketing strategy
It requires much work to be truly effective, but pull marketing can yield substantial benefits. Pull marketing gives you a massive breadth of consumers who can become interested in your brand.
By taking the focus off the product and putting it on the consumer, you gain access to active and passive members of the audience. Even customers who are not immediately in need of solutions can develop a relationship with a brand or brand advocate through their content or social conversations. When they are ready to buy, the connection your pull strategy has nurtured will pay off.
Generating a ton of quality leads is perhaps the most glaring advantage of pull marketing. Still, numerous other ways pull marketing benefit your business:
- Creates a feedback mechanism and direct dialogue with customers to gain qualitative insight. This is particularly useful for startup businesses and new product launches.
- Strengthens customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Boosts perceived brand and, subsequently, product value.
- Reduces costs by cutting out the supply chain and advertising partners in marketing efforts.
- Attracts users to the product, removing many outbound marketing needs.
Disadvantages of pull marketing strategy
As effective as pull marketing can be, a business marketing strategy should not rely solely on it. Depending on your goals, you may suffer from the drawbacks and limitations of pull marketing.
The following are some possible disadvantages you may encounter when implementing a pull marketing strategy:
- Takes time to produce consistent results. Consumers are in the learning phase when engaging with pull strategies and do not immediately impact sales.
- Requires significant effort to build authority and product demand, especially in saturated markets.
- Entails exhaustive research to create materials and use channels that make target consumers desire your specific product.
Examples of Using a Pull Marketing Strategy
Businesses employing a pull marketing strategy market directly to consumers to drive demand. Consumers seek out a particular product and go to retailers to purchase it. The increased demand results in the seller approaching you so that they can stock your product.
Marketing activity is done in-house or with marketing partners. A push strategy involves buying ad space on TV or online. It also means working with retailers to carry and showcase your product. In a pull strategy, most of these expenses are eliminated.
Let’s look at an example of a pull strategy:
An up-and-coming CRM software developer has developed a decent following but wants to build its market share. They start a blog to give users tips on CRM and marketing automation and promote their products. They use SEO to improve their rankings and create relevant, timely content to generate traffic.
They also go back to their customers to solicit feedback. Satisfied customers are asked to submit reviews to feature on Google, their website, and third-party review sites. Finally, they leverage social media to share industry news and showcase lead magnets for building email lists.
All of this works without spending on online advertising, a sales lead generation company, or any other promotional mechanism. Outside of a content marketing agency, much of this can be handled by internal marketing.
There are a variety of avenues to pursue in a pull marketing strategy, including the following:
- Social media networks.
- Word of mouth.
- Media coverage.
- Sales promotions and discounts.
- Email marketing.
Formulating a practical blend of pull tactics will make marketing more accessible and far less expensive than direct methods. As buyers rely more on research and social media chatter to make decisions, pull strategies can seamlessly manage perceptions.
Need help implementing a pull strategy? The Selling Revolution offers comprehensive solutions to optimize your sales and marketing efforts. From hiring to sales execution, our team inspires the change our clients need to overcome challenges and effect lasting improvement. Contact us today to learn how we can create better lead generation strategies, improve sales processes and maximize revenue.