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3 Tutorials that teach Push and Pull Marketing
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Push and Pull Marketing

Push and Pull Marketing

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Differentiate between push marketing and pull marketing.

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what's covered
There is a famous line from a movie called The Godfather, which is, "Keep your friends close, but enemies closer." In a business sense, this translates to the notion that you want to make sure that you're keeping tabs on your friends--in a business's case, your customers-- but that you're also keeping tabs on your competitors too. This represents an example of pulling people closer to you--part of push and pull marketing equation. This tutorial will cover the concept of push and pull marketing. Our discussion breaks down as follows:
  1. Push Marketing
  2. Pull Marketing
  3. Push vs. Pull
  4. 4 C's of Social Technology

1. Push Marketing

Push marketing refers to using anticipated demand. An organization pushes information about itself or its product to a potential customer.

Examples of push marketing include:

  • Calling customers about a product
  • Sending emails concerning products or services
  • Emailing product coupons
  • Point of purchase displays
  • Trade shows
  • Direct selling
  • Packaging design

Another example of push marketing is something called interruption marketing. Telemarketing falls into this category. It involves a marketer interrupting you in something that you are doing to tell you about a product or service. It's not passive anymore; they are actively involved in pushing their message to you, the customer.

There are pluses and minuses of this method. One, it can be annoying to get spam mail or phone calls about a random product or service. On the other hand, it works. If it didn't work, people wouldn't do it. Therefore, this can be an effective form of marketing, depending on what it is you're trying to do.

term to know
Push Marketing
Using anticipated demand, an organization pushes information about itself or its product to the potential consumer

2. Pull Marketing

Pull marketing is exactly the opposite. By using actual numbers about demand, the organization develops methods to bring the market to them. This involves research and analysis to determine what the demand for a particular product is. Then, the company uses advertising to pull customers to them. They want to convince the customers to come to them, but they're not necessarily pushing information to them or interrupting them in their daily routine.

Examples of pull marketing include:

  • Traditional advertising
  • Referrals
  • Sales promotions
  • Customer emails with a question
  • Customer calls the company

A classic example of pull marketing is if you can get people to actually call you. Once they call or email you, then you can pull that customer into your marketing plan.

big idea
These instances of pull marketing are all passive in nature.

There are also ways to use technology with pull marketing. One example is banner ads that you see when you log onto a website. They are advertisements trying to get you to click on the ad and go to the company website. Another type of technology pull marketing is when a product or service is on a major network.


Being on popular networks like the Food Network, or CNN, or MTV can be a great way to pull people in to generate interest about a particular product.

term to know
Pull Marketing
Using actual numbers about demand, the organization develops methods to bring the market to them

3. Push vs. Pull

So, which marketing method should you use? There are benefits and drawbacks to each one of these, and to be successful, a lot of companies use elements of both. In certain tactics like display ads at point of purchase, you can see that there can be a gray area between push and pull. Is it really pushing a product to you or is it simply advising you and trying to pull you in to that particular product?

When Should a Company Use....
Push Marketing Pull Marketing
New brands that aren't well established

New lines within a brand that need additional promotion
Raise awareness about a product before available for purchase

Used to generate positive feedback about a company

If you're starting a new business or you're launching a new product, you don't have a lot of customer awareness in the marketplace. In this case, then, push marketing is a good option for you, because you have to push information to the consumer. You need to get the information in front of them and make them aware that your product exists. If you don't do this actively, then no one is going to know about your product--and if they don't know about your product, they're not going to buy it.


Sometimes retail stores push or persuade outlets or retailers to purchase and stock a product and pushing it promotionally. In this sense, the retail stores are pushing it to businesses who are also going to be their customers, because if those outlets or retailers can sell it to the end user, then they're going to buy more from retail stores.

Push marketing can also be raising brand awareness by building word of mouth, such as giving out free samples, asking, "Would you like to try this particular product?" That's a way to spread word of mouth about how good a product is.

When building a product around a consumer, having a target audience in mind as you're making the product can help with pulling the customer in. Suppose you have a new product, built it around a particular customer. You've considered all those elements of the marketing mix and developed this great new product that works for a particular group and a particular demand. You can use both methods and not rely solely on one or the other to make your business successful.

4. 4 C's of Social Technology

The 4 C's in this context are the 4 C's of social technology, and they define the levels of cooperation or involvement of customers in a company or business:

4 C's Description
Consumption If you're marketing something using social media or social technology, the first thing you want to do is get the consumer to consume your information. They have to be able to see it or read it. This can be accomplished through pop-up ads or word of mouth on a social network, for example.
Curation Curation involves the customer collecting and saving data about your business. They may add your website as one of their favorites and visit it or return to it more often. They also might save coupons, or download or print information about your particular business. Now they're going beyond simply consuming information, and going to that next level where they're saving the information and product promotion about your product.
Creation The creation phase involves creating a buzz--creating referrals or word of mouth about a particular product on the internet using social media. Did you hear about what company A did? Or, did you hear about this great new product?
Collaboration It's highly desirable to get your customers to the collaboration phase. In this phase, you can think of your customers as being a part of your virtual community. Not only are they creating word of mouth advertising, but they're working collaboratively with you. You are now part of their group, and you are working together, collaborating on your marketing strategy. In doing so, you're gaining repeat customers, because these are people who are now part of your "family," and they're helping drive your sales and marketing by being collaborative in their efforts with you. Pretty amazing, right? However, it's also very hard to do--but like anything else that's hard, if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth doing.

Today we learned about push marketing, which refers to pushing information out to a consumer about a product, casting that wide net. We also learned about pull marketing, or looking at the actual demand or a target market and creating a marketing strategy that, instead of pushing and interrupting people, actually pulls customers to a business or product.

We explore which of these marketing methods to use, push vs. pull, and found out that using them both together really does work well. Lastly, we learned about the 4 C's of social technology, which are the four levels of social technology as far as customers are concerned: consumption, curation, creation, and collaboration.

Good luck!

Source: adapted from sophia instructor james howard

Terms to Know
Pull Marketing

Using actual numbers about demand, the organization develops methods to bring the market to them.

Push Marketing

Using anticipated demand, an organization pushes information about itself or its product to the potential consumer.