The business world is awash with jargon and buzzwords, which are used to describe different commercial disciplines. Marketing is no exception to this rule, particularly in the digital age where brands have access to a huge range of promotional channels.

At its core, however, marketing is defined as the activity of creating, communicating and delivers a business’s core value proposition to target customers. So, whilst you may use integrated campaigns and variable techniques to market your firm, the underlying objective remains the same.

Push and pull marketing offer relevant examples, as whilst they work in different ways the ultimate aim of both is to build brand awareness and optimise sales conversions. In this post, we’ll look at the difference between these two types of marketing and ask how you can leverage them successfully in your business.

Push and Pull Marketing – The Basics

In simple terms, a ‘push’ marketing strategy seeks to build awareness of your brand whilst also taking products and services directly to customers.

This means targeting consumers who are not actively looking to buy products or services that you’re aiming to sell, primarily by using active and mass media advertising channels that raise awareness amongst a vast audience.

These channels typically include staples such as television advertising and billboards, which place products directly in front of consumers and create an intrinsic link between your sales items and the overarching brand.

Aside from reaching as many potential customers as possible, push marketing techniques must also promote each products unique selling points and core value proposition.

Push marketing

This will create a higher level of engagement within your target market, whilst hopefully triggering a higher rate of sales conversions over time.

In contrast,  a ‘pull’ marketing strategy relies heavily on the existence of customers who will actively seek out your products or services as they’re already familiar with the brand.

This means that you may use pull marketing techniques to build on the success of a push campaign, as this can help to establish a brand that becomes synonymous with value for money, customer satisfaction and an exceptional level of service over time.

To this end, pull marketing campaigns typically utilise channels such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and targeted Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads, which enhance your business’s visibility online and make it easier for your target audience to locate you.

Another key facet of pull marketing strategies is the use of a blog and social media content, which can be used to drive higher levels of engagement with new customers and help to establish your brand as a prominent thought leader within its field.

What are the Key Differences between Push and Pull Marketing Strategies?

With a clear understanding of push and pull marketing techniques and their fundamental principles, the next step is to determine the key differences that help to define them.

Below, we’ve provided a breakdown of these subtle variations, whilst asking why these differences are important.

  • Strategy: Given the fundamental differences that exist between push and pull marketing, it should come as no surprise that there are also considerable strategic variations. More specifically, push marketing strategy is focused on maximising brand exposure and highlighting the unique selling points of your offerings, whereas pull techniques are designed to build on this awareness by optimising online visibility and making it easier for customers to identify your brand.


  • Channels: We’ll touch more on the use of different channels a little later in the piece, but it stands to reason that push and pull marketing strategies should make use of variable techniques. To this end, push marketing leverage accessible, mass media channels such as direct mail and television, whilst pull strategies use more targeted techniques such as social media marketing, SEO and PPC.


  • Methodology: By its very nature, push marketing can be extremely disruptive (especially when used in a competitive market that includes several established players). This means that it’s rarely the most engaging marketing strategy, but this is not a major issue as your main objective is initially to raise awareness of your brand. Conversely, pull marketing is dependent on how effectively and accurately a campaign engages your target audience, as customers are already aware of what you have to offer them.


  • Cost: As push marketing requires you to actively target a large audience and raise brand awareness, it’s generally more labour and cost-intensive for your business. The same cannot be said for pull marketing, as this compels customers to seek out your brand directly and typically leverages low cost marketing channels such as social media platforms. To understand this further, simply consider the differences between cold calling and Facebook marketing and ask how they impact on your business.

How to Make the Most from Push and Pull Marketing Techniques

At this stage, you should have a basic awareness of how push and pull marketing strategies can benefit your business.

It should also be apparent that these strategies must be combined as part of an integrated marketing campaign, particularly if you have a burgeoning business that has only recently started out.

But how exactly should you leverage these strategies to achieve the optimal impact? Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Budget Carefully when Considering Push and Pull Marketing Campaigns

As we’ve already said, it’s often more expensive to implement a push marketing strategy than it is to deploy pull techniques.

This is built on one a fundamental marketing premise, which suggests that it’s more than five-times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Whilst pull marketing may not necessarily target customers who have previously completed a purchase, it does engage those who have existing of the brand and its product range.

Given the disparity in cost and the labour-intensity of push and pull marketing techniques, it’s crucial that you budget carefully when developing individual campaigns.


As a general rule, you should set aside a larger amount for your push marketing activities, whilst spending less on pull techniques and attempting to make the most of cost-effective social media channels.

Try to budget as accurately as possible by determining the intricacies of each campaign, whilst you should also make allowances in instances where push and pull marketing strategies cross over.

This is a likely occurrence, as it’s important to try and convert consumers when they’re most engaged with the brand.

Remember that there are Some Channels that can be Used Across both Strategies

Whilst there may be numerous differences between push and pull marketing strategies, it would be wrong to suggest that there isn’t any crossover between these two entities.

This is borne out by the fact that some advertising channels can be used as part of both push and pull marketing campaigns, with billboards offering a relevant case in point.

In terms of push marketing, billboards provide an engaging and relatively cost-effective channel that enables brands to reach an unusually large target audience. An estimated 71% of consumers regularly look at the messages published on roadside billboards, for example, whereas bus shelter ads reach a staggering 92% of the UK population each and every week.

Billboards can also be placed at various strategic and high-traffic locations throughout the UK, and often within close proximity to your store or place of business.

Billboard leeds

As a result, they can be used to direct local customers who are aware of your brand directly to your store, increasing real-time conversions and contributing to the estimated 92% of UK purchases that are thought to be impulse buys.

Billboards also serve as an effective driver of so-called assisted conversions, meaning that it plays an increasingly pivotal role at different stages throughout the modern customer journey.

Not only this but by using them throughout an integrated marketing campaign you can create a central point of engagement that helps to drive brand recognition.

Consider Push and Pull Strategies in Line with your Distribution Model

In order to plan your marketing efforts in finer detail, it’s important to consider push and pull strategies in line with your underlying distribution model.

For example, let’s say that you’re a brand that sells exclusively through third-party retailers rather than from a website. In this instance, there’s no real need to invest in pull marketing techniques, as retailers themselves spend huge amounts of driving traffic in-store and optimising sales conversions.

Instead, you can pour the majority of your marketing resources into a push strategy, so that you build awareness around your brand and ensure that it becomes familiar to shoppers over time.

In contrast, brands that commit exclusively to direct selling online or through an independent store will need to spit their attention between push and pull techniques.

New retailers should focus primarily on push marketing techniques, however, as it’s important to make customers aware of your presence and create traction before you spend heavily on engaging them.

The Last Word

So there you have it; an insight into push and pull marketing strategies and how they can be used to drive the long-term growth of your venture.

The key thing to remember is that both forms of marketing can play an influential role in promoting your venture in most instances, so it’s important to make room for both and manage your budget accordingly.