Push And Pull Marketing Strategy - Know The Difference

May 29, 2020
Identify the differences between push and pull marketing and know when to use which. Learn more with a few examples from each marketing strategy.

Identify the differences between push and pull marketing, know when to use which, and learn more with a few examples from each marketing strategy.

push and pull marketing

COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on consumer behavior. Workplaces have gone remote and many workers are now following the work-from-home suit. Provided how unstable the current business environment is, the right kind of content marketing and branding has never been more important.

Marketing techniques usually fall into one of the two categories: push and pull. To understand which of these strategies to implement in your business, you need to have a vivid idea of what these terms mean. This article aims to break down the push and pull marketing strategies to help you understand them in detail.

What is Push Marketing?

Push marketing is a marketing strategy wherein a business attempts to take its products to the customers. The word push comes from the notion that marketers are trying to push their products and services towards their consumers.

A push strategy involves “pushing” the product through marketing channels to final consumers. The producer directs its marketing activities towards channel members. This induces the channel members to carry the product and promote it to final consumers.

Overall, a push marketing strategy is a marketing approach that involves the use of aggressive marketing promotion. This tactic specifically aims wholesalers and retailers. The aim of push marketing is to promote the product to distribution intermediaries. In turn, these intermediary bodies will sell it to the customers, thus pushing it onto the people.


Push marketing initiates demand with a top-down approach of sorts. This implies that the customer is not really looking for your brand or your product. Rather, you, as a marketer, are pushing it towards them.

For example, John Deere does very little promoting of its lawnmowers, garden tractors, and other residential consumer products to final consumers. Instead, John Deere’s sales force works with Lowe’s, The Home Depot, independent dealers, and other channel members, who in turn push John Deere products to final consumers.

Therefore, activities such as a mass media campaign or an advertising campaign on social media or any other technique that make the customers see your brand while they’re doing something else is push marketing.

What is Pull Marketing?

With the help of technology, today’s consumers are avid online researchers. Before buying a product, they read reviews, watch videos, and ask online friends for suggestions. Pull marketing gives you a scope to attract consumers looking for answers you provide. When a prospect finds an article, an eBook, or a blog about a product they want to know more about, pull marketing is at work.

So, pull marketing is basically the opposite of push marketing. This marketing strategy “pulls” prospects and customers towards your website or social media page. Simply put, pull marketing is equal parts science and art. It is a tactical practice of attracting consumers to your product.

Therefore, pull marketing is a promotion strategy that calls for spending a lot on consumer advertising and promotion to induce final consumers to buy the product. This in turn creates a demand vacuum that “pulls” the product through the channel.


Using a pull strategy, the producer directs its marketing activities towards final consumers to induce them to buy the product. These marketing activities primarily consist of advertising, consumer promotion, and direct and digital media.

For example, Unilever promotes its Axe grooming products directly to its young male target market using TV and print ads, web and social media brand sites, and other channels.

If the pull strategy is effective, consumers will then demand the brand from retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart, which will in turn demand it from Unilever. Thus, under a pull strategy, consumer demand “pulls” the product through the channels.

Simply put, pull marketing initiates demand at a bottom-up level. It is a marketing tactic that displays the product when consumers are seeking it.

6 Difference Between Push And Pull Marketing

Push and pull marketing have a vast difference in concept and implementation. Some of the key differences lie in the following aspects.


The core concepts of push and pull marketing are opposite to each other. Since it pushes marketing out to potential customers, push marketing is also known as outbound marketing. In this marketing tactic, you're looking for prospective consumers, and they're coming to you when they’re interested.

On the other hand, pull marketing is also known as inbound marketing. The term “inbound” means that your marketing efforts cause prospects to find you when they have an interest. They come to you for answers.


Push and pull marketing also differ in strategy. A push strategy is about generating methods to place a product or service offer before its potential consumers. This strategy often involves different types of paid advertisements including TV ads, radio announcements, and direct mail.

On the contrary, pull marketing makes it easier for knowledgeable buyers to find you. It focuses on spreading awareness, educating the mass, increasing brand visibility, and generating a lead.


Push marketing is mostly initiated offline. Direct mail is a good example of offline marketing. Push marketing often drives potential customers to a physical location, a website, or an inbound phone number. A promotional offer sent via email offer is another instance of how ‘push marketing’ drives consumers to a store or a website.

On the contrary, pull marketing is mostly an exclusively web-based method. In this case, you create online content that is designed to take prospects to a unique website or a landing page.


Push and pull marketing also differ in application. We’ll show you a few examples to understand this concept.

Example 1: SEO & Direct Response Print

In pull marketing, you prioritize on Search Engine Optimization and use keywords on your website that are pertinent to your product. A buyer can find your site online, call you, and place an order.

In the case of push marketing, you run a Direct Response Print that offers a free trial for your product. The responder either calls to place an order or visit a landing page.

Example 2: Social Media And Direct Mail

Pull marketing works like this. Imagine you’re a seller. You post a 30% off promotional offer on your Facebook and Instagram page. One of your consumers sees it and shares it with a friend. Then, they both download the coupon on their phone and go to your website to purchase your product.

Push marketing works differently. You mail your target group a limited edition 20% off coupon. The respondent will go online to purchase the coupon and then use the code they find on the postcard. Otherwise, they will directly call you to purchase the product.


You can make push marketing work really well if you do it right. For example, sending customized mail to individuals using customer data can make them feel really special. It also drives them to take action sooner.

Since the prospect shows interest and takes action first, pull marketing generally enjoys a higher level of engagement. That being said, you should also keep in mind that pull marketing can fail if your content doesn’t cater to your consumer needs.

Price Difference

Push and pull marketing also differ substantially in terms of expense. For instance:

  • Push traffic is usually cheaper per click, i.e. somewhere around $0.5 per click.
  • Pull traffic is relatively more expensive. Just so you know, the most expensive search keyword costs around $25 per click.

5 Pull Marketing Content Types

After knowing all about push and pull marketing, you’d perhaps like an in-depth view. So, here are a few instances of pull marketing content you can use for an effective marketing journey.

Design Optimized Content for Discovery

You can design blog posts, informational guides, and general interest ebooks to educate your audience on a particular topic. This is an intuitive way to attract new customers searching for resources on something specific.

Guest Post on Relevant Websites

Guest posting is a brilliant way to catch the attention of a new audience. Always remember that the aim of pull marketing is to pull them towards your brand. So, do not focus on making a sale right then and there.

The purpose here is not to get a link. It’s to gain an audience and a potential customer. To know more about backlinks and guest blogging, you can read this article on what is a backlink.

Co-Create Content

A co-created content can be anything ranging from an e-book, a blog post, videos, or even a webinar. The advantage of co-authoring a content is that you have someone by your side to do all the promotion to their audience. Make sure you choose your partner wisely. Team up with someone who is not a competitor but has an audience similar to yours.

Engage in FAQs And Q/As

Being aware of your surroundings and search insights can help you discover amazing opportunities to educate your customers. You can also provide them with credible and helpful sources of information.

Create Engaging Social Content

High-quality social content is an effective way to pull marketing. Remember to include specific key phrases and hashtags that optimized for discovery.

This can not only bring you in front of a new audience but also help you to establish thought leadership. It implies that you are up-to-date with the newest trends and lets you engage with your consumers.

Integrating The Promotional Mix

Some industrial-goods companies use only push strategies; likewise, some direct marketing companies use only pull strategies. However, most large companies use some combination of both.

For example, Unilever spends $8 billion worldwide each year on consumer marketing and sales promotions to create brand preference and pull customers into stores that carry its products. At the same time, it uses its own and distributors’ sales forces and trade promotions to push its brands through the channels so that they will be available on store shelves when consumers come calling.

Additionally, companies consider several factors when designing their promotion mix strategies, including the type of product and market. For example, the importance of different promotion tools varies between consumer and business markets. Business-to-consumer companies usually pull more. They put more of their funds into advertising, followed by sales promotion, personal selling, and then public relations.

In contrast, business-to-business marketers tend to push more. They put more of their funds into personal selling, followed by sales promotion, advertising, and public relations.

Balance Is Key

With the advent of technology, the difference between push and pull marketing has become less significant. In fact, what used to be definitive rules in the past have now become blurred.

For example, in the past, a company needed to spend millions of dollars in mass media campaigns to push their product to customers only to build its brand image.

Today, with targeted ads or online campaigns through search engines, it has become possible to reach a large number of people who are actually looking for a product or service.

Hence, both push and pull strategies aim to generate demand.

Now, brand and conversion are deeply interrelated in the real world. A more renowned brand might indicate better conversion. Therefore, focusing on both push and pull strategy is important for any brand. Successful marketers look at the strength of each approach and often combine them.

For example, you need a push strategy to reach out to prospects who might not have heard of your brand. Push marketing is also needed for communicating with qualified leads as well as existing customers to increase sales. On the other hand, you need a pull strategy to attract those in the buying stage. These individuals are searching for your product or service. In this case, you need to promote your business as an opinion leader.

As a result, you need a mixture of both push and pull strategy for successful marketing and building a tight relationship with your consumer.

This article was aimed to give you a comprehensive idea about push and pull marketing. We sincerely hope this was a useful read through which you got a thorough idea of both the tactics. Let us know your two cents on this!

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