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The definition of push marketing has not changed much since the term was coined: basically, the person doing the marketing is in control of the message being sent out and how it is received by potential customers.

Think of the “push” part as pushing your message into the consciousness of an individual.

Pull marketing, on the other hand, means that the recipient of the message is in control of the message—whether or not to act.

For example, if the seller makes his promotion through print or broadcast, the buyer can’t interact with the message. On the other hand, if the communication is made by phone or internet, the buyer can interact with the seller. In the first case information is "pushed" toward buyers, while in the second case buyers demand “pull” the needed information according to their requirements.

Pull marketing shifts the emphasis and attention onto the customer, the essential attribute is to market in the correct places and knowing where and who your target audience are. Get people’s attention by providing value and earn their love by engaging with them. This will naturally lead to increased website traffic and increased sales.

Pull marketing requires that information is available on consumers’ terms, when and where they want it, rather than when and where it is convenient for the resource providers to deliver it.

In other words, push-marketing involves the active engagement of a target market through methods like advertising on relevant websites, email marketing and the practice of cold calling or emailing a prospect.

In push-marketing, you largely focus on the features of your product or service and you seek a direct response from the targeted audience. They either buy, don’t buy or opt-in to your newsletter for more permission-based marketing.

On the other hand, pull-marketing largely involves the active development of a highly visible brand. This encourages customers to actively seek you out, because they believe you can fulfill their needs. Methods commonly used include media interviews, conference speaking, syndication of your content and word of mouth.

Pull-marketing focuses on building your business or personal brand. Your target market is more diffuse and not strictly defined by your actions: you don’t email 20 targeted prospects, you generate publicity in order for end-users to find you naturally on their own.

In a sense, push-marketing often involves short-term strategies which involves specific event or time-based campaigns (Christmas deals, new membership offers) while pull-marketing focuses on the development of trust and perceived value.

Push, Pull and Social Media

What social media has done is turned Internet surfers into smaller groups of targetable traffic, grouped along specific demographic or social lines. What this means for the marketer is that there is a whole new opportunity to present a message to a highly targeted demographic.

Good pull marketing in the Web 2.0 world is likely to be much more effective in terms of effort vs. reward than any push marketing attempts at any time. The trick is being able to avoid any push whatsoever – in fact, some say you also have to avoid the pull.

If you own a new blog or product, an initial push strategy of some sort is useful because your brand/product is as yet unfamiliar to your target market. Actively engaging your peers by networking and pushing your best written articles is a smart thing to do because you don’t have an audience that will do it for you.

Pull marketing should be utilized alongside push marketing whenever possible. For instance, you can pull in buyers by creating relevant content. After getting them to register for your community or opt-in to your newsletter, you can initiate push marketing at specific segments of your captured audience.

Why do you have to avoid the pull? Well, on today’s Internet, it’s your potential clients that are supposed to do the pulling. People are very resistant to any messages that they see as advertising, and that includes many strategies that would once have been thought of as sound pull marketing tactics.

Today, the business doesn’t pull the client in; instead, it is up to the potential client to pull the business in to their social media circle. This means that marketers have to show more patience than ever before.

The ability to be patient and avoid being pushy (and even the traditional “pully”) delivers greater dividends. A client who comes to you through the new pull marketing is generally a client for life, and they are a great source of additional (word of mouth) advertising as well.

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