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Push vs. Pull Marketing: What Is a Pull Promotion Strategy + How To Create a Winning Coupon Strategy

April 14, 2022

When you have an online business, most advice on the internet tells you to adopt a pull marketing strategy, and for good reason.

Most digital marketing tactics involve some form of inbound marketing strategy. But in this competitive ecommerce landscape, businesses will benefit more from adopting a mix of marketing strategies.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

Push vs. Pull Marketing

Two of the most common promotional strategies companies use are push marketing and pull marketing. Every business needs a mix of both strategies, depending on its goals.

If you're looking to drive sales or sell out existing items, you need to learn what is a pull promotion strategy and what is a push strategy.

A push promotional strategy (also known as an outbound marketing strategy) is recommended. If you want to build a long-term customer base, a pull promotional strategy (or inbound marketing strategy) is key.

Push vs pull marketing

Push Marketing — An Outbound Marketing Strategy

Push marketing is an outbound marketing strategy adopted by early marketers. The term “push” comes from the idea that marketers “push” products to customers.

Push strategies usually involve traditional advertising methods and sales tactics, such as:

  • Cold calling
  • Direct selling to distributors and retailers via showrooms and trade shows
  • Setting point of sale displays

Push marketing is also characterized by the use of disruptive advertising and mass-media channels, such as TV, radio, and billboard advertising.

If you have a new business and want to raise brand awareness or sell out a product to the market, adopting a push marketing strategy is recommended. The downside is that it can be costly.

Pull Marketing - An Inbound Marketing Strategy

Pull marketing attracts customers to your brand. It’s called an inbound marketing strategy because its goal is to “pull” customers to you, or come into your sales funnel.

It’s important to figure out what is a pull promotion strategy because pull marketing is especially popular and effective in internet marketing, where content is created for a target audience.

These potential customers do a quick search when they are interested or in need of products and services.

Ultimately, the customer decides which content is right for them, and researches the product on their own time.

Modern pull marketing methods use different marketing channels to make the product or service visible to prospects. An inbound marketing strategy is the best method to cultivate brand loyalty and customer engagement.

Some common pull marketing examples include:

  • Brand websites
  • Digital marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing

Knowing When To Apply Push and Pull Marketing

It’s generally believed that with an outbound and inbound marketing strategy is that outbound marketing is for big businesses with budgets for mass media advertisements. On the other hand, some people believe inbound marketing is only for niche products.

This isn't the case.

Push and pull marketing tactics are not exclusively confined to their general use. Businesses need a mix of both push and pull marketing strategies — hence the term multi-channel marketing.

For instance, a startup ecommerce company with a niche product should know what is a pull promotion strategy, as it can make use of pull marketing by targeting customers looking for a specific product.

The company can then also leverage push marketing to raise awareness for its brand.

While pull marketing is recommended for companies that want to generate demand for a product, it can also be used by popular brands whose products are already sought after.

For instance, Apple is currently using a push marketing strategy by “pushing” or improving its other product lines, such as the Mac. But it also has a pull marketing strategy in place by focusing on branding.

You can also apply pull marketing principles to a known “push” strategy, and vice versa. For example, social media marketing is a pull marketing technique, but when used in terms of social ads, can be considered push marketing as well.

Another example of a push marketing tactic that can be done using pull marketing principles is coupon marketing.

Leveraging Pull Marketing on a Push Marketing Strategy: Coupon Marketing

When you learn what is a pull promotion strategy, consider coupon marketing.

Coupon marketing is one of the oldest techniques businesses use to entice customers. By offering deals, businesses pique customers’ interest to buy.

Coupon marketing has been used in traditional formats, but can now also be used on ecommerce shops by running an online campaign.

Benefits of Coupon Marketing

  • Can be tailored to meet goals: Send your customer a coupon in exchange for taking action such as leaving a product review.
  • Build your prospects list: Ask your customers to subscribe to a mailing list in exchange for a discount and use the data for future campaigns.
  • Get rid of slow-moving items: Offer a big enough discount just to break even on items that aren't selling.
  • Incentivize customers to spend more: Increase average order values by offering a spending threshold. Use enticing statements like, “You're $15 away from a 15% discount!”
  • Measure channel effectiveness: You can offer different discount codes per channel and see which one attracts the most buyers.

Steps to an Effective Coupon Marketing Strategy

  1. Set clear goals: Why are you implementing coupon marketing? Do you want to segment your mailing list or get rid of stored inventory? Set clear goals for your marketing strategy.
  2. Decide which channels to use: Once you know your goals, decide whether to implement a push or pull marketing strategy. Are you doing a social media or email campaign, or are you going to include traditional coupons on each order that reaches a certain amount?
  3. Set your coupons up for success: Ensure that your coupons communicate their perks effectively, encourage customers to take the action you want, and most importantly, create a sense of urgency.
  4. Track your coupons’ performance: Learning from your campaigns will help improve results for future promotions.

Final Thoughts: Push vs. Pull Marketing: What Is a Pull Promotion Strategy + How To Create a Winning Coupon Strategy

Set your ecommerce store apart from others with a mix of push and pull marketing strategies. Decide which strategy to adopt based on your business’s goals.

You can increase sales and measure channel effectiveness when you learn what is a pull promotion strategy. You can also make use of both an outbound and inbound marketing strategy for coupon marketing.

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Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

Maddy Osman is a WordPress expert and WordCamp US speaker. She is a WordCamp Denver organizer and also operates The Blogsmith, an SEO content agency for B2B tech companies that works with clients like HubSpot, Automattic, and Sprout Social. Learn more about The Blogsmith's process and get in touch to talk content strategy: www.TheBlogsmith.com