Tug O’ War? Push and Pull Marketing in the Age of Social Media

Traditionally, companies have communicated with their consumers by bombarding them one-way, mass media messages or “pushing” their marketing to consumers.

However, with the extraordinary rise of social media, that model is no longer reliable as a sole method of communication. Consumers are seeking content and interactions that are of value to them and they are then choosing to engage by “pulling” that content. The key is to use marketing science to facilitate a two-way interaction with potential customers, motivating them to seek out your brand. Companies should consider establishing an equilibrium between the two in order to develop successful marketing programs.

Examples of push marketing tactics are below:

• Trade show promotions to encourage retailer demand
• Direct selling to customers in showrooms or face to face
• Packaging design to encourage purchase
• Point of sale displays

Examples of pull tactics are below:

• Word of mouth referrals (increasingly social media outlets)
• Targeted, direct marketing
• Customer Relation Management
• Discounts and promotions

Consumer reviews and word-of-mouth communications are becoming as important as company-driven marketing messaging. Social media is now a daily activity with most consumers investing several hours a month on various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Blogs. Consider, for example, that Facebook users spend on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site and that more than 250 million people access Facebook with a mobile device.1

Companies need to facilitate consumers’ online social engagement experience. At the very least, some level of participation is necessary. But, in order to do so effectively, you must engage in a meaningful way that creates real value for the consumer. Blogs are an effective platform for creating value. Companies are now using Blogs more and more frequently — rising from 16% in 2007 to 43% in 2012.

Social media is beginning to have a significant impact on the purchase process, especially in the automotive sales and service markets. But having just a Facebook page – does not a social media marketing strategy make. You should consider ALL of the online outlets available as potential areas in which to engage. The biggest area of growth for purchase information was blogs.2 Also, consider two out of five users accessing social media are using their smartphone. A mobile presence will allow your company to be available when the consumer is ready to engage.

Combining a direct mail piece with a QR code that links to your Facebook page, a personalized URL, or microsite with an online video, provides consumers an easy and immediate way to begin a “two-way conversation.” Utilizing more of the marketing tools at your disposal will help you develop more successful marketing programs.

It’s not a question of push OR pull tactics, nor is it a question of push vs. pull. This should not devolve into a tug-of-war. Integrating social media and traditional push marketing strengthens both.

1. http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/09/02/20-stunning-social-media-statistics/
2. http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2109891/social-media-changing-means-marketing

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