it takes a little push to pull!

I have been in the marketing industry all my life and I can say that never before have I seen such an explosive growth of marketing experts than there are today. Very exciting and encouraging with new ideas flowing from everywhere. However the barrier to entry into the “marketing professionals” ranks has been a bit diluted with the new media explosion. I now see and work with clients who are inundated with professional claims of vast expertise. As I said, exciting and encouraging but I feel compelled to pause and remind some of the “new marketing professionals” a simple explanation of the basics of push/pull strategy.

The term ‘push strategy’ basically describes the work a manufacturer of products needs to perform to get the product to the consumer. This may involve setting up distribution channels or persuading middle men and retailers to stock their products. A great technique for lower value items. This term broadly encompasses most direct promotional techniques such as point of purchase (POP) displays or materials or even selling face to face. New businesses often adopt a push strategy for their products in order to generate exposure and a retail channel. Once your brand has been established, this can be integrated with a pull strategy.

Examples:

  • Trade show
  • Direct selling, showrooms or face to face
  • Package design
  • Point of Purchase

‘Pull strategy’ refers to the customer actively seeking out your product. A pull strategy requires a highly visible brand which can be developed through mass media advertising or similar tactics. If customers want a product, the retailers will stock it – supply and demand in its purest form and this is the basis of a pull strategy. Create the demand, and the supply channels will almost look after themselves.

Examples:

  • Advertising, mass media promotion
  • Word of mouth
  • Customer relationship
  • Sales promotions

Most all successful marketing strategies will usually have elements of both push and pull methods. If you are starting a new business or launching a new product and intend to sell a through retailers you’ll almost certainly need to persuade outlets to purchase and stock your product. You’ll also need to raise brand awareness and start building valuable word of mouth referrals. If you have designed a product around the consumer and have considered all elements of the marketing mix, both of these aspects should be considered and achievable.

I have heard lately that old techniques are dead and that we now live in a pull only advertising niche. Well I totally disagree with that statement and I am confident that I am not alone. Remember the many mediums are channels and it will serve each well to understand the need of each and when each is and should be used. At times some more than others but each when developing your strategy for a products introduction, growth, maturity and decline!

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