Push or Pull Marketing: Which is Right For You?

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Each generation of marketing professionals seems to create a new set of tools, reinvent an old idea, or harness technology in a different way in order to do their job more effectively.

While the average person outside the marketing world mainly thinks of billboards and TV commercials as marketing activities, the truth is that the modern world is absolutely filled with marketing messages of all different kinds. Some are obvious and aggressive, some are subtle or even deceptive, and others are designed to actually benefit the “target” in a significant way even while seeking their business.

One of the biggest topics in the current version of marketing is the difference between push and pull marketing. Understanding this difference can help you refine your organization’s advertising efforts and reach more important audiences in more efficient ways than ever before. Read on to discover the difference, and where promotional stress balls come into the picture.

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Push Marketing

Most forms of marketing that people would name off the top of their head fall into the category of push marketing. In push marketing, you as the advertiser make the first move toward the target, “pushing” your product in their direction and hoping to entice them to make a purchase.

In many ways, push marketing is easy: Once you’ve created your message, you just need to find a way to expose it to as many people as possible. As radio and television reached larger and larger audiences in the 20th century, this became a major focus for advertisers. The sheer volume of people that could be reached by a message through mass media yielded better lead generation results than had been possible in previous generations.

Inefficiency of Push Marketing

Although mass media made push marketing more powerful than ever before, it did not solve an inherent problem with the method: inefficiency. Businesses that use push marketing pay to display messages to hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, knowing that only an extremely small percentage of those people will respond to the message and become paying customers.

Push marketing is no longer the only option available to advertisers, however. Technology has opened up possibilities in pull marketing that have transformed the way today’s marketers think about reaching new customers.

Billboards
Billboards exemplify the push marketing approach.

Pull Marketing

In contrast with push marketing, a pull marketing strategy seeks to first identify targets who are highly likely to respond to a given advertising message. The marketer then displays the message to only those targets, thus drastically increasing the percentage of audience members who respond positively.

The total number of people reached by a pull marketing effort is typically very small compared with that reach by push marketing, but due to its focused nature, the number of leads generated is typically much higher in the end. The cost for a pull marketing strategy is also much lower, since the marketer is paying to show the message to far fewer people.

Efficiency of Pull Marketing

Pull marketing is clearly much more efficient—and that means huge cost savings—than push marketing. The reason it hasn’t been prominent until now is that there have been very few opportunities to reach audiences in this way.

Online marketing is the primary area in which pull marketing has become widely used, through pay-per-click services like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. By tying their advertising messages to search keyword phrases, marketers can ensure that those messages only appear in front of people who are actively looking for information about those topics.

But there is at least one form of pull marketing that has been used much longer than that.

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Promotional Products: A Form of Pull Marketing

Marketers have been placing promotional products, a form of pull marketing, in the hands of potential customers for decades. Promo stress balls and other products function as pull marketing in at least two different ways:

  1. Targeted Audience

When you use stress balls imprinted with your company’s logo to market your services, you generally don’t distribute them to random people on the street—that would be a push marketing strategy.

Rather, you hand them to people who have already come in contact with your company a different way. Therefore, they are already inclined to become a customer, or at least to engage with you directly. Promotional products can cement a good impression, keep a reminder in the forefront of the target’s mind, and potentially reach other targets by extension.

  1. Waiting for Attention

Another way in which a promotional stress ball acts as a pull marketing technique is by simply waiting to be noticed. Even if a target is not ready to make a purchase or communicate directly with a representative when he receives the stress ball, he may arrive at that point later on. If a stress ball is sitting on his desk with your company’s name and website clearly imprinted on it at that point, it is easy for him to get in touch with you.

In this way, the stress ball reaches the target when he is actively looking to engage with your company, through a form of pull marketing.

Cost-Effective Advertising

Remember that pull marketing is, in general, far more efficient and cost-effective than push marketing? This is true in many ways of stress balls and other promotional products as well. A bulk order of stress balls from our catalog provides your conference or trade show team with highly effective tools, which they can use to build on positive conversations and boost first impressions.

Most companies balance their marketing efforts between push and pull techniques. You can diversify your marketing strategy by using a tried-and-true pull technique that has been successful for many decades, in a wide range of industries. Imprint your organization’s logo, name, and other information on one of our high-quality designs, and you will be ready to reach contacts more efficiently and affordably than ever before.

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