The 1 thing you want customers and prospects saying

Push versus Pull

Which one of these options sounds better to you?

Option 1:  You develop an extensive advertising and marketing campaign, complete with direct mail, ads in the local media and maybe even a radio campaign.

Your name, your message gets pushed out (hopefully primarily to your target market) and you get a response rate of 1 – 2%, filling the top of your sales funnel.

Option 2:  You create an interesting website that has a lot of useful information.  You publish some articles online and maybe get something published in a local paper.  You do workshops and seminars and people start talking about what they’re learning from you.  It happens slowly, but people start finding you and putting themselves into your sales funnel.

Historically, when people have talked about marketing, they generally are referring to Push marketing (option 1 above).  That’s still a very valuable strategy to use depending on the circumstances, but the evolution to Web 2.0 and the continued decreased effectiveness of mass media means that Pull marketing (option 2) may be a more effective strategy for a lot of small business owners.

It’s not that simple

Of course like most things, there isn’t an easy black and white answer on how you should market.  Most people would agree that you should be using a combination of approaches to really be effective.

As an example, here’s a great post from DoshDosh on Push versus Pull Marketing for websites.  As you’ll see on the post, Pull is all about creating an identity that people will seek out holistically and Push is more targeted on a particular product or service.

Not to further complicate things, but as Seth Godin points out – Push can become Pull (and vice versa).  That may be important because the style of how you communicate across the strategies is likely different.  If I’m trying to pull, I might be more focused on getting the right keywords mentioned so the search engines will pick up my post.

Pushing is generally more direct.

Having said that, I think the really important point is that it probably makes sense to adjust your overall mind set to a Pull first mentality.  You’ll still need and want to use Push strategies and tactics, but the bigger picture goal is to get people to seek you out.

To become known.

Or as Scott Ginsberg puts it – Be the bulls-eye, not the arrow!  I think Scott makes a lot of great points and I absolutely think it’s important to adopt that philosophical approach.  It’s a real uphill battle (that’s also expensive) to continually keep pushing yourself at your prospects.

It’s not easy to create a personal brand and it takes a lot of time (which is one of the main reasons to use both strategies -especially at first).  But if you can create an identity that stands out, that’s different in some way than everyone else, if you can be Remarkable, then you’ve suddenly got a marketing machine that runs mostly by itself.

Isn’t that what you really want?

So what kind of marketing are you using?  Are you pushing or pulling?  Share your thoughts here.

Shawn Kinkade