Is the age of push marketing over?
October 04.2013
Archived under: Marketing 

The habits of today’s consumer have changed, something that is evident when looking at where they choose to find their information.

While TV ads, radio jingles and print pages used to be dominant advertising channels, today, online venues and social media sites take precedent. Consumers are now more active in their engagement with advertising, and would rather search for things that they want than have to suffer through pushy ad campaigns for things they neither want nor need. In fact, according to Hubspot, there are over 88 billion Google searches conducted a month! Needless to say, pushing your message in front of consumers in today’s advertising-savvy day and age simply isn’t enough; you need to pull your target demographic towards your business.

Criticisms of Push marketing

As the new age of media dawns, some criticisms of push marketing have developed in recent years, primarily:

  • Ineffectiveness – One criticism of push marketing is that it focuses on quantity rather than quality. Placing a billboard above a busy street may guarantee you lots of eyeballs, but if the minority of those eyeballs are in the market for your product or service, it can render the advertising spend pointless and result in a weak return on investment.

  • Intrusiveness – Another critique is the intrusiveness of push marketing. By placing your advertising in front of an audience that doesn’t want to see it, it can breed animosity towards your brand and cause potential buyers to effectively “switch off”.


While there are some benefits to push marketing, it is often a tactic best reserved for start-up companies needing to introduce their brand for the first time, or large companies that have rebranded and want to raise awareness among consumers. That said, the vast majority of media-savvy organizations have already made the switch to a primarily Pull marketing strategy.

Benefits of Pull marketing

By using Pull marketing, rather than forcing your ads on consumers, you are drawing them to you by creating engaging, targeted content. By tweaking not what you say but how you say it, you can effectively “pull in” more customers by creating a smart, user-friendly online presence.

Through your website and blog, you can increase things like:  

  • User engagement – You can adopt a more friendly, conversational tone in your blog, social media and web content than the traditional “buy, buy, buy!” subtext that is often found in traditional media copy. You can also incorporate interactive elements like 3D animation and video tutorials to foster more interest. Users can “share” your site via social media with other like-minded consumers too, increasing the chances of more people that are genuinely interested in your company visiting your site.

  • Targeted results – Online stats reveal important information about your demographic, such as their geography, time spent on your site, method of traffic to your site and what they’re predominantly looking for.  You can use this feedback to tweak and construct elements of your brand, services or website to get a better response from your consumers.

  • Continuous presence – Garnering repeat business can be aided by things like social media feeds and newsletter sign ups, so once you’ve found people that are interested in your business, you can continue to reach them in a non-intrusive, cost-effective manner.

Advertising purists may argue a place for television, print and outdoor marketing, and they wouldn’t be wrong – there’s certainly still a place for it. However, that alone isn’t enough, and it isn’t right for every organization. The key to winning business, creating a strong recall presence and developing a recognizable brand that resonates with consumers is using the right combination of push and pull marketing to your advantage.