‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketing

Last time, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) designer Cecil the Cyclops discussed proper design placement techniques for printed marketing communications. This week Marka explains “push” and “pull” marketing strategy to marketing novice Cecil. Remember, fire = print.

It was a balmy afternoon and Marka and Cecil had reached the 18th hole of Vesuvius Fields, the best Olympian golf course available to non-deities. Marka was attempting to discuss “push” and “pull” marketing with the talented young Cecil, who still lacked an understanding of many marketing fundamentals.

“I think I like ‘pull’ marketing better than ‘push,’” Cecil said, wiping a film of sweat from his uni-brow. “Say you’re hanging off the edge of Mount Olympus – wouldn’t you rather be ‘pulled’ up than ‘pushed’ down?”

“I’m not sure you fully understand the two concepts,” Marka replied, trying to remain patient with her unpolished protégé.

“I admit it. I’ve just been trying to keep up with you,” Cecil said. “In reality, I’m more confused than Odysseus on the island of Circe.”

Marka was in a playful mood (plus, she was shooting even par). “Perhaps a visual demonstration is in order,” she offered, picking a golf ball up off the grass. “Say I’m a sales clerk in a store that sells golf supplies.”

“OK…” Cecil said.

“Buy this bag of golf tees,” Marka urged, dangling a bag of tees in front of Cecil’s colossal face. “If you do, I’ll give you a golf ball in that bin for free!”

“That’s ‘push’ marketing?” Cecil asked.

“Yes. A ‘push’ strategy consists of sales and promotional activities that suggest, or ‘push,’ a mutually beneficial solution on the customer, often at point of purchase,” Marka explained.

“I see,” Cecil said uncertainly.

“When you have a product that’s a commodity, or at least is perceived that way—like a particular brand of golf tees—‘push’ marketing is often necessary,” Marka counseled.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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