Until recently, most marketing was “push” marketing. Advertised sales and special promotions pushed consumers to act; telling us when, what, and where to buy. Products and services were pushed into the marketplace with the goal of an immediate boost in sales. Branding was based on product lines, not on the company culture. In the last few decades, the internet has fueled the rise of “pull” marketing; a subtler conversation with consumers that invites us in as friends, rather than demanding our attention.
Here’s why “pull marketing” should be a major part of your marketing strategy.
Sit in a room full of puppies or children and shout, “come over here, come over here, come over here.” Odds are, they will ignore you, or even run away. But if you do something interesting, entertaining or otherwise engaging, those pups or kids will naturally gather around you – and they will stay as long as you continue to pique their interest.
Target is a prime example of a retailer committed to pull marketing. Their commercials are bright and colorful – lots of movement and music and fun. Target is promising just the sort of experience that room full of puppies or children would run toward.
Build a rapport…
With Millennials (now the largest generation) and Gen Z flooding the consumer market, “pull marketing” becomes even more important. These digital natives can instantly learn everything about your product – and do a price/feature comparison between your brand and others in seconds. They already know how to buy, where to buy and what it will cost. You don’t need to tell them that. All you can influence is “when” to buy, “why” to buy, and “what” to buy – and you do this by using your marketing to build a rapport that pulls them in and builds a relationship.
Be genuinely social…
One huge mistake business owners make is ignoring the “social” in social media. They feel that the purpose of social media is strictly to get their own message out – to talk at people. Who is the person you avoid at a party? Is it the one who seems interested in you, the one who entertains you and makes you laugh – or the one who talks only about herself all evening?
Case in point: Wendy’s sassy Twitter exchange with a consumer who accused them of using frozen meat – complete with a mic drop ending – went viral last January and instantly turned Wendy’s Twitter feed into a “must-read” experience.
If you blast out posts that are the equivalent of standing at a party yelling “look at ME, look at ME,” you’ve written yourself out of the conversation.
Social media marketers follow various ratio rules, such as the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your posts can be persuasive call-to- action pitches for your services and products, but eighty percent should be informative, entertaining, and sharable content. That’s how you build your brand, extend your reach and keep the attention of your audience. In Forbes.com, May 15, 2017 article “12 Of The Worst Social Media Mistakes And How To Avoid Them” the Forbes Communication Council wrote, “think of promoting your business as a “commercial break” among other content that provides value.” Yes, that’s a lot of work, but that’s how you get results. If your audience wanders off to talk to someone else at the party, you’ve lost your ability to talk to them at all.
Marketing has generally become more conversational and personal. Today’s consumers have high expectations and short attention spans. That calls for a fresh approach to your marketing strategy.