A client asked me the other day to define what this meant. So I thought it would be helpful to share this more widely.

PUSH marketing is used to generate a response from customers and is about a company putting a message out there for general consumption. It’s cost-effective for communicating the same message to large, homogenous audiences (like traditional advertising for example, on TV, outdoor and print, or online advertising) but it can also be segmented to a degree, using direct mail and e-shots). The downside of push marketing is the wastage…..not all customers will pay attention and some of those who do might also be engaging with something else. To illustrate this, according to Google/Ipsos/Sterling research, 77% of the times that viewers watch TV, they are also browsing another device (nearly half of them with a smartphone and a third with a laptop).

PULL marketing (also known as inbound marketing) is when a company produces a great website that attracts customers who are looking for information or an experience. Those with high visibility perform well here, making search engine optimisation and engaging content vital components. This type of marketing can be more interactive, encouraging two way feedback, initiated by the customer. So the numbers reached are far smaller, but the quality of leads generated will be better, by the very definition that the customer has sought you out.

“So where does social media sit?” she asked. A good question….

In the middle really. It can be used for both push and pull marketing. For example, tweeting about a new service is a push, whereas a branded LinkedIn page is more PULL.