Is your marketing push, pull, or N/A?

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Today’s blog discusses a key distinction in marketing: push vs. pull. There’s lots of debate about the proper mix of each style of marketing in your mix.

Push marketing is the traditional in-your-face, brag-about-your-services type of marketing. It includes direct mail, advertising, cold calling, and other techniques that push your services. Usually the push approach includes a pitch that tries to sell your services in one step.

Pull marketing brings people to you. It is a softer, lower-key approach. It includes using proactive referral systems, speaking, writing, being visible in your community, and following up with prospects with educational materials — once they have given you permission to do so. It’s not a passive approach, and still requires lots of hustle and creativity.

N/A marketing, referenced in the title of this blog, is what too many IT professionals do. It is no marketing at all, but rather hoping that people will spread the word about you and waiting for the phone to ring.

My style and professional experience — along with the experience of other professionals — favors pull marketing. So I invest lots of time writing (in blogs like this), speaking, sharing articles on my web site, and generally working to establish myself as a “thought leader” in the industry. There’s lots of room for web designers to do the same thing.

In today’s marketplace most prospects are too skeptical to respond to push marketing techniques. As a recent Direct Marketing Association newsletter article noted, push techniques are akin to asking someone to marry you the first time you introduce yourself.

But it’s not all black and white. It’s a continuum. For instance, cold calling can work — if you focus on a very specific niche, research each business/prospect before hand, and personalize your message to them (e.g. “I’ve reviewed your web site, and believe that it ranks 5th compared to your nearest competitors. Here are 3 things I can help you do to put it in first place in terms of attracting more business….”).

And I can show you quite a few businesses that still get the bulk of their revenue via traditional push techniques. But increasingly, they seem to be the exception.

So today’s questions:

One: Is your marketing “push,” “pull,” or N/A?

Two: How will you change your marketing to hit the ideal mix for your style and target market?

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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