I got into a conversation the other day with someone who was using “Push and Pull” marketing interchangeably with “Interruption vs. Permission” marketing. I don’t think these things are quite the same, and since I’ll use both of these terms when I’m speaking to someone, I figured that I should toss this out there and see if you guys agree with me on this:
Push vs. Pull
The MBA definition of push marketing would say it’s a top-down marketing where the person who manufactures a product sells it to a retailer, who in turn sells it to the consumer. Let’s simplify the definition and say that push marketing is generally business to consumer and doesn’t tend to have a lot of viral growth.
Push marketing requires reach. It is frequently based upon interruption (like radio or TV advertisements, for example), but you can push market without interruption. I think QVC, woot, and Groupon are good examples of push marketing that don’t interrupt your experience elsewhere. When you go to any of these places, you know that they’re going to market things that you don’t necessarily want to you, but that’s why you go there. If you visit Groupon, for example, I’d say you’re giving tacit permission to be push marketed to.
The classic examples of push marketing that is interruption-based makes up most of the industry. But “push marketing” shouldn’t immediately be a dirty word in the minds of permission marketers everywhere.
The business school definition of pull marketing is a product that creates consumer demand to the point where they go to the stores and request it. Examples of this are children’s toys and anything Apple has made during the memory of someone who’s just now graduating high school. For Internet marketing purposes, it can be business to business or business to consumer, but the key factor is that it has huge potential for viral growth.
Pull marketing draws you in through a channel that you have trust in. You have friends who follow @moonfruit, they tweet about a contest that the webhost is providing, and you find yourself pulled into the promotion. You didn’t have to give Moonfruit permission to market to you; they told someone who told your friend who told you, and because you read your friend’s tweets, you learned of the contest through a trusted source. Pull marketing without permission, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. How else would you learn about new things?
Interruption vs. Permission
You can probably see where I’m going with this now, but bear with me. Interruption marketing is the old model of traditional media: louder commercials, bigger billboards, splashier newspaper ads, all trying to get your attention in an increasingly advertisement-blind society. Permission marketing gets results. Whether you’ve got a list of a thousand emails that you carefully curate and send only items of interest to or ten thousand mobile numbers you can text a coupon to, if you’re considerate and thoughtful of your lists and don’t abuse that permission, you will always see ROI’s in the high hundreds (or thousands!) of percents on your campaigns.
Building permission lists takes time, and it takes even more time to curate them well so you aren’t abusing the permissions that you’ve been given. Properly done permission advertising blows interruption out of the water. If you don’t have that permission-based list, though, think about using some old fashioned push and pull marketing to build your brand and your lists before resorting to something ineffectual and damaging like buying someone else’s lists for your own use.
- Pros and cons of Push and Pull product positioning and differentiation (johngannonblog.com)
- The dangers of experiential spam (mumbrella.com.au)
- Is Social Media a Viable Venue for Business-to-Business Marketing? (inin.com)
- Hard Interruption vs Soft Interruption (avc.com)