Push and Pull Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

Passion Digital Passion Digital 20/06/2014 9 minutes

Developing your marketing strategy is a huge challenge as the digital ecosystem is constantly evolving and new technology increases the difficulty in navigating already choppy waters. A good place to start is dividing your marketing into push and pull, but what do these terms mean? Rituparna Chatterjee, from our Insight & Strategy team, takes a look at these marketing techniques and their associated benefits and challenges.

Differences Between a Push and Pull Marketing Strategy 

Push and pull promotional strategies are two of the most common marketing strategies used by businesses today. Push marketing strategies involve actively promoting products or services to consumers, while pull marketing strategies focus on creating awareness and interest in a product or service so that consumers will seek it out.

What is a push strategy in marketing?

Push marketing is a promotional strategy in which businesses attempt to take their products to the customers. This means that consumers are not actively seeking a product or service but are introduced to it through active promotion such as billboards, TV advertising and cold calling. The goal of push marketing strategies is to create awareness of the product or service and generate interest in it, so that consumers will eventually take action and purchase it.

Within digital marketing, push marketing is enacted by means of display advertising and cold emailing, again placing the product or service directly in front of the consumer in the hope of raising brand awareness and ultimately, making a sale.

Overall, the term “push marketing” envelops the idea that marketers are attempting to push their products at consumers. This form of marketing can therefore be associated with younger brands trying to build brand image and market share and can be employed particularly effectively in marketing Fast-Moving-Consumer-Goods (FMGC), inducing higher rates of short-term sales.

Examples of push strategies within digital marketing:

Display advertising

Display advertising helps create a wider exposure for your brand by displaying ads to a potentially larger and relevant target audience. Display ads are run through various advertising networks with Google Display Network being the largest. These ads appear on different websites and can vary in shape and size depending upon their location within the website. If you are targeting a sizeable audience and want to build brand awareness, display ads are a prime example of a push strategy and can be a great option to go for.


OOH (Out-Of-Home) advertising is another effective push strategy to build brand awareness and reach out to a larger audience base. Billboards are a classic example of OOH advertising, which are strategically placed in high traffic areas to grab as many eyeballs as possible. Within the digital landscape, we have DOOH (Digital Out-Of-Home) advertising. A few examples would be the digital billboards in high footfall traffic areas, dynamic displays in tube and petrol stations, digital directories in shopping centres, to name a few. A good approach would be to combine programmatic with DOOH to automate the buying and delivery process of the ads on outdoor digital platforms.

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is another form of a push strategy in marketing, which takes place in showrooms, trade shows and any brick-and-mortar store. It involves communicating directly with consumers to promote a product or service. Within the digital space, direct marketing can be done using emails, text messages, Google Ads and social media ads. Cold emails – a classic example of push marketing – is where the company will send out an email to people with a perceived interest in their product in order to increase brand recognition.

Benefits of a push strategy in marketing

Push marketing is a great way to reach your target audience and generate sales. Here are some of the advantages you could gain from using this marketing strategy:

  • Online push marketing allows you to reach out to your target audience through relevant social media platforms and websites, thereby raising awareness especially for brands less known or new in the market
  • You can optimise your ad campaigns using data analytics, such as Looker Studio or Google Analytics based on the performance of your online push marketing activities
  • They are much more affordable than traditional advertising channels like billboards or television adverts as you can narrow down on your audience and location thereby reducing cost

Challenges of a push strategy in marketing

Despite its benefits in reaching your target audience, push marketing has some disadvantages that could potentially affect your marketing efforts:

  • Initial marketing efforts can be expensive and short-lived since the focus is on building awareness and securing one-time purchase rather than customer relationship and brand loyalty
  • Generally, the product or service promoted is new, making it more challenging to accurately forecast demand
  • Push strategies, although seemingly sales-focused, can discourage potential customers from purchasing your product

When should you use a push marketing strategy?

Here are some common scenarios when you should use push marketing:

  • When you are introducing a new product or service – push marketing is a great awareness-driver and enables you to reach a large audience and drive-up demand for your offering
  • When you need to reach a large audience quickly – television, radio and print have huge audiences so if reach is your goal, push marketing could be for you
  • When you want to generate immediate sales – email marketing and other direct marketing channels enable you to reach an already-interested audience

What Is a Pull Strategy in Marketing?

Pull marketing is a promotional strategy in which businesses create content that attracts consumers to their products or services. This means that consumers are actively seeking the product or service and are drawn to it through engaging content such as blog posts, social media posts and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The goal of pull marketing strategies is to create interest in the product or service, so that consumers will eventually take action and purchase it.

Within digital marketing, pull marketing is enacted by means of content marketing and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. With the advancement of AI, search engines are now able to create content that is relevant and interesting to consumers in the hope of attracting them to the product or service.

Overall, pull marketing is a versatile tool that can be used to reach a targeted audience and generate interest in a product or service. However, it is important to create content that is effective and relevant to consumers.

Examples of pull strategies within digital marketing


SEO is where companies will attempt to promote their website as highly as possible on the organic results of a search engines results page to instigate interest.


PPC is where a company will pay the publisher for each click their brand receives. This form of pull marketing is conducted in order to attract the most appropriate people to your site and therefore increase conversion rate.

Social media

This involves advertising on social media to promote your brand to potential customers on websites like Facebook or Snapchat.

Benefits of a pull strategy in marketing

The goal of a pull marketing strategy is to create content or experiences that attract potential customers to your brand. This comes with a variety of advantages that could potentially help your marketing strategy grow:

  • Pull strategies have a more long-term focus by generating organic demand for a product or service and building strong customer-brand relationships
  • Since pull marketing strategies help generate organic demand, sales have a longer lifetime value
  • Customers are more likely to engage with the brand and provide their feedback which in turn helps businesses assess their existing products or services and/or make useful products

Challenges of pull marketing strategies

While pull marketing can offer numerous benefits, it also has its fair share of disadvantages that can potentially impact your marketing campaign:

  • As the focus is on brand building and brand loyalty, it can take some time for conversions as customers evaluate and compare the brand before purchase
  • It requires robust marketing efforts to convince customers to seek products or services on their own
  • There may be an additional cost for retaining customers through incentives including loyalty points, discounts, offers, etc., thereby increasing short-term costs

When should you use a pull marketing strategy?

Here are some common scenarios when you should use pull marketing:

  • When you want to build brand awareness – by creating engaging content, you can attract potential customers and brand fans
  • When you want to build a loyal customer base – pull marketing ensures a great customer experience and will encourage customers to come back for more
  • When you want to generate long-term sales – pull marketing builds relationships with your customers and they will become loyal to your brand and buy from you again in the future

AI in Push/Pull Marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the world of marketing and push and pull marketing are no exception. AI can be used to improve both your push and pull marketing strategy in a number of ways, including:

  • Improved targeting – AI can be used to better target push marketing campaigns to people who are more likely to be interested in your product or service. The ways it goes about this include looking at data on past purchases, browsing behaviour and social media activity to create detailed profiles of potential customers
  • Personalised messaging – AI uses data on past interactions to tailor the messaging to each individual’s needs and interests
  • Automated decision-making – AI can free up marketers’ time by automating campaigns

Multi-Channel Marketing

Overall, most companies benefit the most from a balanced use of both push and pull marketing strategies. For example, a start-up company cannot rely on pull marketing to bring in customers, as product awareness will not be high. Therefore, initial push marketing must be implemented in order to begin the establishment of brand recognition. Combined with a pull strategy, this will begin to drive consumers towards a brand and the use of remarketing will consolidate consumers by reminding them of their interest through adverts placed on other sites they visit, pulling them closer to a final conversion.

Many companies would love to rely solely upon a pull marketing strategy, with customers coming directly to them, intent upon purchase, but obviously it takes time and effort to establish such qualities in a brand. In all, both push and pull marketing strategies have their benefits and drawbacks, but a successful marketing campaign will certainly adopt the best of both worlds.

Which type of marketing is right for me?

Both push and pull marketing strategies have their benefits and drawbacks, but a successful marketing campaign will certainly adopt the best of both worlds. We know that each business is different so please get in touch with our team so we can formulate the best balance for you.

How do I measure the effectiveness of push and pull marketing?

An effective way to evaluate the success of your push and pull marketing strategies would be to look at your analytics tools like Google Analytics, social analytics, CRM, etc. Below are a few key metrics you might want to look at:

Push marketing

  • Analyse your conversion rate to see how many users have completed the desired action such as making a purchase on your site, downloading a whitepaper, etc.
  • Measure the Click Through Rate (CTR) to assess the performance of your ads
  • Monitor the bounce rate of your push messages. A high bounce rate might indicate an issue with your recipient list or the message
  • Look at the revenue generated from your campaigns to gauge their impact on your bottom line

Pull marketing

  • Monitor and analyse key website metrics like traffic sources, new versus returning visitors, average time on site, conversion rate, etc
  • Measure the engagement metrics on your social media including likes, shares, comments and follower growth
  • Track the number of leads you have generated through contact form submissions, newsletter subscriptions, gated content (whitepaper), etc

Analyse the performance of your blog posts, videos and other content assets through metrics like page views, shares, time spent on each piece of content, etc.

What are the best practices for push and pull marketing?

Best practices vary between push and pull marketing, since both have different approaches. Some of the key best practices for each are:

Push marketing:

  • Segment your audience into groups or sub-groups based on shared characteristics like demographics, preferences, etc. to send targeted messaging
  • Personalise your messages by using the recipient’s name and tailoring the message to suit their interests and needs whenever possible
  • Have clear and compelling Call To Actions (CTA) that tell the recipient what action they need to take. Avoid using multiple CTAs as that might confuse or overwhelm your recipient, thereby diluting your main message
  • Conduct A/B testing to test different elements within your message like headlines, CTAs, images, etc. to determine which variation performs best

Pull marketing:

  • Optimise your website and content to improve search engine visibility by using relevant keywords, meta descriptions, quality backlinks, etc.
  • Create engaging content that addresses the interests and needs of your audience
  • Engage with your audience on social media by having a schedule and posting consistently, responding to their comments
  • Ensure a seamless user experience on your website through easy navigation, fast loading times, among others

If you’re interested in learning more about push and pull, or just digital marketing in general, get in touch today. We offer SEO, PPC, paid social, CRO, social media, content marketing and so much more.