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Push-me, Pull-you Marketing 9 April, 2007

Posted by varoom in Marketing Plans.
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The generation of sales leads is a crucial aspect of any business at any stage in the business growth. The natural tendency of any new business to adopt a push marketing approach. This is where you try marketing direct to customers convincing them of the need for your product and generate directly sales leads for your business. This “Push-me” approach can be effective but puts most of the work, generating sales leads, on your shoulders.

The opposite, and more productive, approach is to generate market pull, the “Pull-you”, causes potential customers to come direct to you for your product. This market pull is caused by some external influence, which you have generated, and is sometimes not obvious to the customer.

The simple way to demonstrate Push-me and Pull-you techniques is by giving some examples. If you have a product which is sold by distributors or a retail channel you can generate business by the following methods.

Firstly you can push your distributor to acquire a mailing list of many thousands and do a telemarketing campaign to sell your product on a customer by customer basis. This can be a very inefficient, time and labour consuming approach. Secondly you could do some analysis of the target market and assess the best way to promote your product, by using advertising mechanisms, to generate pull-you. This is where the customers go direct to your distribution or retail channel to buy the product after seeing your promotional activities.

Much advertising can be clearly categorised as generating market pull, TV advertising promoting actual products like toothpaste, drinks and fast-food will generate demand. Another type of advertising builds brand awareness so that when the customer comes to a point of choosing a supplier they think of the main brands first.

Some of the more objectionable pull marketing techniques are those used by some drug companies marketing their brand of medical cure. They announce a new chemical or drug aimed at a particular patient profile and tell them to go to their doctor and ask for their new drug to be prescribed. I personally object to this type of market pull as it does not take account of the fact that many people, who are not appropriate patients with the correct illness, will demand such drugs from their doctors.

It may appear, at first glance, that the right thing to do is Pull-you marketing in every case. This is not the correct conclusion in every case as it depends on your marketplace demographics. If you have a small, specialist or diverse market sector often the only way to be sure of connecting with the customers is through a direct sales approach. You should analyse your market and define how they get information about products they use, car enthusiasts, fashion shoppers, web users, sports people, computer engineers, academics, business travellers and so on. They may be members of clubs, associations, subscribers to magazines or mailing lists, visitors to tourist attractions. All of these market sectors gain information through their associations with other people. This classification will dictate whether push-me or pull-you marketing applies.

Greville Commins