Push Pull Theory: The Basis of All Good Marketing

Push Pull Theory

The most effective marketing efforts are combinations of techniques. Depending upon where you are in your product lifecycle, your marketing efforts will likely differ. Push marketing is highly effective in the introduction and initial growth stages, where your focus is getting your brand in front of your target customers. Pull marketing is an essential strategy for companies seeking long-term growth or maintaining market share.  

 The push-pull theory of marketing is a combination of push and pull marketing combined in different ratios depending upon your goals. A successful marketing campaign requires give and take to establish audience trust. A winning marketing strategy results from observing basic marketing principles complemented with the techniques that support each pillar. But how do you know when to use push marketing or pull marketing? 

Push Marketing  

Push marketing is all about visibility. The name says it all: you are literally pushing your product or service in front of your target customer so that they will notice it. It is considered a more traditional view of marketing, utilizing radio, television, print, billboards, and direct mail. Reach is the most important factor for this technique.  

Push marketing takes a broad approach. It is a more aggressive technique and a fairly expensive one. Advertisers generally leverage this technique to generate sales quickly or for a short time period, such as seasonal or holiday sales. Some common forms of push marketing include radio spots, TV ads, PPC advertising, POS displays, targeted emails, and social media campaigns. A focus on push marketing generally occurs when businesses want to:  

  • Establish a new business or website 
  • Expand to a new niche 
  • Hold promotional campaigns 
  • Increase brand recognition 
  • Generate cash-flow 
  • Market during holidays or events 
  • Move product stock  
  • Release new products 

Pull Marketing  

Pull marketing is all about generating traffic. As the name suggests, this technique is designed to pull or entice the target customer to visit your store or website. It recognizes that customers are seeking your products or services and facilitates them finding you. Pull marketing differs from push marketing in that it requires the use of market research and inbound marketing tactics to create high-quality content to attract your customers. 

Pull marketing is less aggressive than push marketing and is more effective over the long-term. It is designed to feel more organic and less like a sales tactic. Types of pull marketing include posting informational blogs or articles, customer reviews, search engine optimization or SEO, sponsoring radio influencers, social media content, media coverage, and strategic product placement. Businesses will employ pull marketing when their goal is to: 

  • Enhance sales and revenue cost-effectively 
  • Establish long-term business growth 
  • Improve customer engagement at the top of the purchase funnel 
  • Improve customer loyalty 
  • Increase site traffic across segments 
  • Increase social media traffic and shares 
  • Maintain market share 
  • Promote brand recognition, visibility, and customer engagement 

Combining Your Approach  

The push-pull theory essentially uses both sides of the same coin. They create a synergy, where push marketing increases brand awareness while driving customer action through pull marketing. The combination is highly effective for improving lead generation and increasing conversion. The most successful businesses use a multi-channel, multi-strategy approach encompassing both push and pull strategies.  

Examples of a combined push-pull approach include: 

  • Radio ads – Standard aired ads are part of a push campaign, while radio influencer marketing is a component of a pull campaign.  
  • Content marketing – Blogs and emails are methods used to implement a pull marketing approach, while sending traditional emails represents a technique for a push approach.  
  • Digital ads – SEM is part of a pull strategy, while paid digital ads are part of a push strategy. 

The Benefit of Working Together  

Different marketing methods help you reach different customer groups. Both push and pull marketing require considering your goals and the audience. Push marketing works in bursts to make a large number of people aware of your product or service and create interest. Pull marketing is more targeted, designed to attract visitors interested in products or services like yours to come to your site.  

If you intend to grow your business, you need to employ both strategies. It isn’t always a linear path from push marketing to pull marketing, but each can be used at different times based on your business needs and goals. You may occasionally need immediate sales to shore up your bottom line, while at other times, you may want to focus on lead generation and customer loyalty.  Most businesses use both strategies alternately or concurrently, with the mix varying according to business needs or time of season.  

A Winning Strategy  

In a competitive marketplace, it is critical that you have a carefully crafted marketing strategy. The techniques used will vary depending on the outcome you seek. While awareness is vital for new products, you still need to convert that into sales. Balancing the pricier push strategy with more cost-effective pull techniques allows smaller businesses to market more effectively when they don’t have a huge budget.  

For example, businesses of any size can use their social media accounts to post informative and interesting content to attract interest, position themselves as an authority, and invite interaction, which is a pull marketing method. At the same time, they can hold giveaways, contests, sweepstakes, and other engaging activities to attract new customers and increase engagement with existing ones, employing a push strategy. Using a push-pull strategy can work no matter where you are in your product lifecycle. A combined push-pull marketing approach allows your marketing to reach further, resulting in a more strategic and effective marketing campaign.  

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