by: Thomas Young
Let’s dive deeper into the differences between pull and push marketing and how they impact traffic generation to your website and your overall strategic digital marketing efforts.
Pull and Push Marketing Defined
As we learned in the previous week’s blog post, push marketing involves tactics such as finding customers through prospecting, cold calling, traditional selling and other techniques. It is the process of the sales and marketing team pushing prospects to the company. Pull marketing is a strategy that involves creating an environment where customers find you and are pulled, or attracted, to your company. Pull marketing is now a preference for most people as they research in anonymity online and are very knowledgeable before they purchase or talk to a sales person. These preferences have changed the traditional sales funnel and how companies should understand the new prospective customer.
People Prefer Pull Marketing Approaches
Prospective customers prefer pull marketing techniques. They want to research and find you, rather than getting a cold call, and the data supports pull marketing. Take a look at these findings from ThinkWithGoogle, a Google research study.
- 80 percent of consumers research before buying in business-to-consumer (B2C) markets.
- 57 percent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers research before making contact.
- Four out of five consumers use multiple devices to research, and mobile devices are a constant companion in their research.
- These numbers are increasing over time and are conservative estimates.
Your goal is to get found during their research on multiple devices, platforms and websites. This is the essence of pull marketing and the biggest differentiator from push marketing. Also, pull marketing requires that you know prospective customers very well.
Understanding the New Prospect
The Internet has influenced buying habits in many ways, and out of this has come a new, educated consumer and prospective buyer with many options. Here are a few key points to remember about the new consumer and your prospective customer in B2C and B2B markets.
- They scan content for value and will read on portable screens.
- They want quick, concrete, relevant and timely advice.
- Most just read; some want to comment or ask a question.
- They look for organized websites that they can trust.
- People are more important than companies or brands.
- They are very skeptical of what they don’t know.
- They can see through the sizzle and marketing hype.
- They look for transparency to build trust.
The New Sales Funnel
The new sales prospect and the growth in pull marketing have resulted in a new sales funnel. The sales funnel is a visual representation of the actual steps in your company’s sales process and selling cycle. It is large at the top because more time is spent on those action items and more people enter the funnel at the top than come out the bottom as buyers. The change toward an emphasis on pull marketing has led to a new sales funnel, as seen below.
In this new sales funnel, prospecting is replaced by lead generation from pull marketing strategies that generate qualified leads, much of this coming from online marketing. These leads are educated about your services and products by reading your content and contacting you once they establish value. Your content should be plentiful, relevant and available on the web.
Qualifying your target market is much more focused and based on self-service research efforts from your target market. This is driven by content marketing. Your presentations are very targeted and customized to the prospect’s needs. Any prospects that fall out of the funnel at any time should become part of your stay-in-touch program. Closing takes less effort, is a natural part of the process and is not forced. This is a new approach to selling milestones and the sales process is brought on by pull marketing. Share this information with your sales team and use it to coordinate efforts between sales and marketing.
Salespeople as Content Experts
Salespeople should become strategic digital marketing content experts. Whether they are writing blog posts, networking in social media or performing a variety of content marketing tasks, their customer and company knowledge is essential to pull marketing success. Not all salespeople will succeed at this and many will have nothing to do with writing content or marketing online. However, you may find hidden gems in your sales team that love online marketing and can make your pull marketing very successful. Finding a strong salesperson who loves to write is key to this strategy.
By not paying attention to pull marketing, it is possible that your company will see declining sales and lost market share without being aware of why it is happening. Your targeted buyers will migrate to competitors that have implemented effective pull marketing strategies. Stay ahead of your competition and make pull marketing an engine of sales and marketing growth for your company. Also, don’t stop selling or using push marketing tactics that work. Keep in mind that it is the coordination of efforts between push and pull marketing that can lead to excellent results and help you drive more leads and sales.
- Educate your sales and marketing teams about pull and push marketing strategies.
- Develop your sales funnel with key milestones based on pull marketing approaches and strategies.
- Set targets and goals for each step in the process.
- Include this in your content marketing and strategic digital marketing plans.
- Share this information with your sales team and recruit their help with implementation.
- Visit competitor websites and evaluate how they are using pull marketing techniques.
- Research your “new” prospective customers to understand how they will research your company online and what will motivate them to contact your company.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.