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Marketing online: Do you want to push or pull?

Marketers may argue over what is the most effective form of online advertising until the cows come home. Whether you believe in the push or pull marketing techniques, the fact of the matter is that it comes down to a variety of factors in terms of how you want to approach the consumer. In essence, are you pushing your product or service to someone not yet actively seeking what you offer, or are you pulling those towards you who are already on the hunt.

Team Push

In terms of online marketing, the push method will focus strongly on display advertising, in which you’ll blast logo and text advertising to potential customers who might not have otherwise thought about your company. This could come in the form of email marketing, a standard banner advert, or even a more ‘interrupting’ and proactive method, such as 20-30 second advert on YouTube or Spotify. One way or another, your message is being delivered to an audience and will hopefully garner interest.

Team Pull

While not exactly easier, the pull method is more subtle and designed so the consumer will hopefully seek out the product and or service on their own terms. This has an overall aim of creating a loyal brand/customer relationship through options such as Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click and social media. In fact, in an article on ConversionXL, it was reported that users took roughly 0.05 seconds determine whether a site is appealing or not. This has made web host servers such as 1&1 more important than ever, as they seek to help young businesses and SMEs to created good looking websites without the need for training in HTML.

Though many companies use Spotify’s music streaming service for the push effect, the company themselves have mastered the pull method by integrating the service seamlessly with social media sites Facebook and Twitter. In fact, all Spotify users since September 2011 have been given the faster and easier option to register with their Facebook account. However the two sites are entwined to an even greater extent than this. With well over six million ‘likes’, Spotify’s collaboration with Facebook has been greatly used to persuade users to join the premium music streaming membership, as regular posts often promote content and competitions that only premium members can access.

The way to which Facebook friends can share music has become much easier, as sending music in messages requires a few clicks, in addition to seeing what everyone else has been listening to on Spotify. The two giant corporations have perfectly complemented each other, as the demand for easily accessible music, then with the ability to share the discovery with friends has risen from the partnership between Spotify and Facebook. This is all part of the trend of people needing to feel connected; where the compulsion to give ‘recommendations’, is as important – if not more – than the desire to receive them.

Always with the intention of being cool and funny to the public, viral marketing is quickly becoming an effective tool for companies employing pull marketing. Most recently, Peugeot’s new ad campaign for their 208GTi is designed to be watched over and over again, but more importantly than that, designed to be shared with friends (the Facebook type, not necessarily the real ones), family and co-workers across the world. This was down to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it link embedded within the video on YouTube that, when found and clicked, would take you to a special page detailing more facts and specifications concerning the car. Users are made to look for a wolf somewhere in the clip then require lightening quick reflexes to hit the link to the special page.

Not only is the advert itself entertaining, but the genius and divergent move of adding a ‘secret’ link worked wonders for the pull marketing, as Peugeot could essentially sit back and watch the viral spread of their unique addition. In addition, President Obama himself is getting in on the viral action, by oh-so-subtly mentioning the deadline for signing up to his health care plan, in a recent video in tandem with BuzzFeed, retaining the same pull method that makes the public somewhat unaware that they’re even being sold something.

It’s a tie

In the future companies will need to construct effective push and pull marketing campaigns. Small businesses and start-ups especially simply won’t have the social media presence or budget for high-end SEO. With time and effort to establish themselves though, companies can have a nice balance of pushing and pulling that will bring in new consumers by pushing the boundaries of conventional online marketing, while at the same time pandering to the familiar.