As a pull marketing agency, also known as inbound marketing agency we are often asked which is the best: pull marketing or push marketing.
If the client’s product or service is brand new, then push marketing is best, at least initially.
View push marketing as an introductory process. You are introducing a new product to a market sector. This is best done with advertising, specifically in trade publications for those involved with B2B marketing.
However, if this is not a new product or service introduction, or if a push marketing (advertising) program has already been in place for several months, the next step is to move to a business pull marketing strategy.
B2B consumers have heard of the product because of the advertising, have an idea of what it does, but now they want to know what it can do for them. This is typically accomplished with content. Content fills in the missing pieces, which cannot be conveyed in an advertisement.
While “words” are still king when it comes to content and pull marketing, videos, infographics, and even podcasts can also be enormously influential. In fact, a mixture of all formats is highly recommended in many cases.
Here’s an Example
We have been working with one client for more than 15 months using this push/pull approach. We are helping them introduce a new product line. The push/pull marketing strategy we developed with them included the following:
- We began a print advertising campaign in all the major trade publications in their industry sector. An online advertising program also was started.
- Then a blogging program was developed. Blogs are key to a pull marketing strategy and serve many purposes, including improving search engine optimization, as well as more thoroughly explaining how the product or service works.
- Finally, a social media program was created. All the blogs were automatically uploaded to the client’s social media platforms. From there, we manually distributed them to LinkedIn “groups” in the client’s industry sector.
To determine the return on investment of this push/pull approach, we decided there were four key indicators we had to keep our eyes on. These were:
- Changes in site traffic to see if more people were visiting the client’s site
- If there were more calls from distributors interested in marketing the product
- Increased sales for those distributors now carrying the line
- Increased sales of the product directly from the client’s “store”
The results over the past 15 months show the following changes:
- Months one to three: no noticeable upticks in any of the above indicators.
- Months three to six: Site traffic increased as did sales of products in the client’s online store.
- Months six to nine: Site traffic further increased; current distributors reported an uptick in sales; sales in the store also increased.
- Months nine to 12: More site traffic; more sales reported by current distributors and in the store; inquiries from more distributors interested in marketing the product.
- Months twelve to 15: Increase in all four areas, several distributors signed up to carry the product line and several more are inquiring about it in both the U.S. and Canada.
The pull marketing takeaways:
The program is working.
While the client did have a cold calling program in place – calling distributors to promote the product line – there was relatively little interest in the line until distributors started reading the blogs and social media posts.
Initially, the client decided they would wait two years to see if the program was worth their time and investment. They agreed by the 15th month that it was.