Push and Pull Marketing - Everything You Need to Know... - Punch!

Push and Pull Marketing – Everything You Need to Know…

Hands up…how many of you know about push and pull marketing?

Okay, I’ll start with an easier one – how many of you are still keeping your New Year’s resolutions to get back to the gym?

Well if you’re still reacquainted with all the machines and free weights, you may have noticed something.

The exercises that you’re able to do can almost always be placed into two categories: push and pull. That’s because you need both to help build and grow your body, and in reality your business is no different. You need to push your message out to potential customers and also pull them towards you organically to grow.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about push and pull marketing.

The Basics of Push and Pull Marketing

At its core, push and pull marketing is a strategy that combines taking your proposition out to your target buyers, with other marketing tactics that will entice your buyers to come to you.

Push marketing and pull marketing can both be used to engage targets accounts of any size and the two elements are complimentary. However, the methodology usually works best when you segment your data and use one particular method on a certain size of company.

Whether using one tactic or both together, the key to successful push and pull marketing is making sure that your value proposition and messaging is consistent across both methodologies.

Pull Marketing

Let’s start with pull marketing, also known as inbound marketing. Pull marketing can be defined as a marketing method designed to organically attract customers to a service or solution, without being invasive or forceful. But how is it able to do that?

Primarily through the creation and distribution of content – blogs, e-guides, videos, infographics, case studies, white papers; they’re all content. There are a number of channels available to pull in and attract new customers but most will rely on content.

And the reason that content is so effective at engaging potential customers is that rather than trying to sell to them or at them, it addresses their challenges. Your B2B buyers use search engines mostly for information, they’re looking to solve a business challenge that they’re experiencing. Once they’ve identified a solution to the challenge, it’s only then that they begin to assess potential vendors like you.

Great content should help inform and educate your target buyers. Once they’re aware of how they might be able to solve them, you’re likely to be one of the vendors they’ll consider to help them.

Pull marketing is best used for attracting the kind of accounts that keep your business ticking over, but whom you wouldn’t necessarily actively target due to their size. So what marketing tactics should you use be using as part of your pull strategy? Try the following…


Search Engine Optimisation. Arguably the key part of any pull marketing strategy. That’s because the majority of traffic to your website usually comes from search engine queries. Optimising your website with the right keywords and phrases is a critical part of raising your profile on the search engines, helping you be found by potential new customers.

This is nothing new, but Google and the other search engines are regularly updating their algorithms to improve results. Long gone are the days when a devious marketer could engage in keyword stuffing, hidden text or cloaking.  If you want to improve your search engine ranking, you should keep an eye on the changes Google makes to its algorithms, and focus on creating great content that your target audience want to read and engage with.


Pay per Click. A way of buying visits to your website from the search engines, rather than earning them organically. It’s often used to guide customers to specific pages, such as landing pages where they can fill in their details to receive content. PPC is easier to achieve success with in the short term when compared to SEO.

Many PPC platforms will allow you to apply demographic segmentation, focusing your efforts. By targeting people based on gender, age, interests and location you can attract buyers who are more likely to convert. This will also increase the quality of your site traffic, with more engaged visitors spending longer on your site. The added benefit of the quality of the traffic going to your site, is that if Google increases the quality score of your ads, it will reduce the cost-per-click you’re paying.

Social Media Marketing

A method of promoting your brand and content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, or Pinterest. Social media can help drive traffic back to your website, increase brand awareness and improve brand engagement. According to Buffer, 58% of marketers see social media marketing as very important to their overall marketing strategy

It might seem like a more effective channel for B2C marketing, but B2B buyers still spend time on social platforms. In reality, 83% of B2B marketers use social media as a channel, making it the most common B2B tactic. It gives you an opportunity to engage conversationally with your buyers, increase brand awareness and put a ‘human face’ to the company. Whether that’s on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, there is no reason why social media marketing shouldn’t be a part of your pull marketing strategy.

And some would say it’s far and away the best channel for influencer marketing, which leads us onto…

Influencer Marketing

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience. You might assume that influencer marketing would be a B2C strategy, however it’s arguably more important in B2B.

A 2017 US study revealed that 19% of sales are driven by word of mouth. However Jay Baer of Convince and Convert found that 91% of B2B purchases are driven by word of mouth. That, combined with the fact that the average purchase size in B2B is much greater than B2C means that it can be a very effective channel if you know how best to use it.

Push Marketing

Push marketing is any kind of marketing where you’re pushing your solutions and services into the path of your customers, think of it as interruptive, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Traditional commercials on TV or radio are examples of push marketing, as are ads in print media. The types of push marketing that we’re looking at however, are tactics that you can integrate into a B2B marketing mix.

You should consider using push marketing for your largest target accounts, the kind that could make your quarter or even your year. These could be the top 100 accounts on your A-list; the big players in the market. These companies won’t often need to go out to the market for services and solutions as so many suppliers will be approaching them, keen to win their business. This means that pull marketing won’t have the same impact as it will for the smaller organisation. However, with a great push marketing strategy, you can really make an impact at some of your big target accounts.

1 to 1 Personalised Video Marketing

Sometimes it can seem like there are an infinite number of companies competing for your buyers’ attention. Too much content, too much noise, and at times, too much marketing full stop! Which is why it’s important that you can differentiate yourself with your approach to your target buyers. Approach them in a way that’s different and they’ll be far more likely to engage with you. It’s easy to mentally filter out yet another email or sales call, but a personalised video message is much harder to forget.

It gives you an opportunity to show that you’ve bothered to research the account you’re targeting. They aren’t just another company to you, but an organisation that you’d love to work with. You know what their strategic goals are, what challenges they’re experiencing and how your company could help to achieve them. Integrating a calendar link into the end of the video provides a call to action for a more in-depth conversation.

Email Marketing

I’m sure you don’t need me to explain what email marketing is. But since the introduction of GDPR in May 2018, the B2B email marketing landscape has changed a great deal.

To engage with a potential B2B buyer via email, they don’t need to opt-in. However, you do need to be able to justify the approach to them with what is called ‘legitimate interest’. This clause means that you have reason to believe a person would have a legitimate interest in engaging with you.

And whilst they don’t need to opt-in, you must offer them an option to opt-out of further emails. As the general public have become aware of GDPR and their rights, you might have noticed your unsubscribe rates steadily increasing.

These are challenges for marketers but change has been long overdue. It means that we have to make our emails more relevant and valuable to the people we’re trying to engage with. We have to make them more personalised based on the buyer. Essentially GDPR pushes us towards buyer-centric messaging. And that can only be a good thing!

Direct Mail

“Hang on…direct mail? Is this a 90’s nostalgia thing?” Absolutely not. Few companies do it any more, and even fewer do it well, which is exactly why it’s so effective. This is particularly true in ABM, where you can dedicate more budget to a select number of target accounts.

You don’t have to be a social psychologist to understand the excitement of receiving a gift, especially when it’s nicely packaged, and even more so when it’s unexpected. An impactful gift that’s sent to a key decision maker of one of your target accounts and opened at their desk is guaranteed to create some ‘buzz’ if done right.

By building a marketing campaign around a theme that aligns your buyers challenges and what it is that differentiates your product or solution, and delivering a direct mail impact item tied into that theme, you can really make your company stand out. Think about themes and direct mail items that could excite your target accounts. Perhaps you’ve designed a campaign around a sci-fi theme and you decide to send light-sabers to their offices?

Account Based Advertising

Account Based Advertising is used within an account based marketing strategy that focuses on a smaller number of specific high value target accounts. By using IP lookup technology, you can serve adverts only to the target accounts that you’re aiming to reach. Not only that, most account based advertising platforms use other data to send those adverts to your target decision makers and influencers at that account.

So the ads are reaching the right people at the right accounts, but how can you make them more effective? By customising them for each target account. Account based advertising allows you to create customisations, such as using a company’s name and logo in the adverts. The call to action for these adverts can take the buyer to an landing page that is also customised especially for their company.

Native Advertising

Native ads are paid adverts that match the style and function that they appear on. This could be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or a web page, but the defining factor is that they should not look like ads. They should be non-disruptive, getting advertising content in front of a target audience without being overtly intrusive.

Native ads work particularly well on mobile, as you don’t have the same space on a mobile for display ads. This means that the advertising content can sit on a mobile alongside the rest of your content in your social feed. They usually contain a number of elements, such as a headline, image, content URL, and some further descriptive text. Research from Outbrain found that native ads generate an 18% increase in buying intent, and that consumers look at them 53% more than display ads.

To find out more about how Punch! use push and pull marketing as part of an account based marketing strategy – check out our ABM methodology and consider whether your key target accounts could benefit from an account based approach.


One-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, programmatic, lite…it’s understandable why account-based marketing can seem daunting at first! But regardless of the ABM terminology being used, the basic principles are the same. Putting more resources into fewer target accounts who are more likely to convert, and provide a greater ROI. Which kind of ABM approach you should adopt depends on a number of factors. In this blog you’ll find out what the 3 types of ABM are, and which is right for your business.

the three types of ABM

So you’ve decided that adopting an ABM strategy is right for your business and that’s definitely a wise choice.


It’s understandable that you might have some concerns, running an ABM programme requires a shift of mind-set. It takes sizeable marketing ‘balls’ to shift resources from more typical marketing strategies to account-based marketing.


But that’s exactly what organisations are doing – the number of companies with an advanced ABM programme doubled from 2017 to 2018. And why?


Simple – because in a recent study, 97% of marketers reported a higher ROI from ABM than other marketing campaigns. Any successful ABM campaign is one that balances these three measures –


  • The likelihood of a given target account buying
  • The resources required to acquire them as a customer
  • The potential ROI to your business if they convert

The differences between the 3 types of ABM are driven by a need to align these factors, so let’s look at exactly what each approach involves and what factors should inform your ABM strategy.

One-to-one ABM

The original and probably best known of the 3 types of ABM, and the approach you’re most likely already familiar with.

One-to-one ABM is a strategic approach that treats your most valuable target accounts as their own individual markets. This means engaging with each of them in a specific and bespoke way.


A typical one-to-one campaign would involve targeting 5-10 key target accounts, the ones whose business would make your year or even change the direction of your company.

The resources required to engage with each account in a one-to-one ABM campaign are significant. With that in mind, it’s vital that you have deep insight into how likely the target account is to buy. Intent data is a great way to choose your target accounts based on whether they’re starting a buying journey.


By focusing on 10 accounts that you know are likely to buy, you can allocate more resources to engaging with each, knowing that they are more likely to convert and provide you with a great ROI.

You should consider one-to-one ABM as your strategy of choice if –


  • You can research the accounts in detail and gather detailed insights on how likely they are to buy
  • Your products and solutions are high-value and high-consideration
  • You’re selling into a mature or even saturated market
  • Your opportunity to close rate is high
  • You have clear and genuine points of differentiation from your competitors
  • Each account has a large number of key stakeholders from whom you need buy-in
  • You have the resources available to create content bespoke to each account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account

One-to-few ABM

One-to-few ABM, or ABM Lite as it’s also known, is a way of using the one-to-one ABM principles and applying them at scale to a greater number of target accounts.

For example, you might be dedicating 40 days per month to your top 5 accounts in a one-to-one strategy.


If you then wanted to reach out to your top 30 accounts, you most likely wouldn’t be able to scale up the same approach unless you have 240 days worth of resources available to do this. So what’s the answer?


Your best strategy would be to focus on small groups of target accounts, rather than individual accounts. These groups can then be treated as their own individual markets, in the same way as individual accounts were with one-to-one ABM.


The most common way to organise accounts into groups of 5-10 is by sub-sector. If you’re targeting the retail sector, your sub-sectors might be fashion, groceries, DIY and homeware.

You can then build specific content that will resonate with that sub-sector, identifying trends and solving their challenges.

Consider one-to-few ABM as your strategy of choice if –


  • You have a small addressable market of target accounts
  • You’re selling high-value, high consideration solutions or products
  • You have to get buy-in from 3-4 key stakeholders at each account
  • You’re able to gather insights into the challenges facing each target sector
  • You have the resources available to create sector specific content
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your product or solution has clear points of differentiation from its competition

One-to-many ABM

One-to-many ABM takes the ABM approach and scales it so the principles can be applied to a larger number of target accounts.


How many? That’s up to you, as there are no hard and fast rules as to where one-to-few ends and where one-to-many begins.


Similarly, you might be wondering where to draw the line between one-to-many ABM and just ‘marketing’? Well you’re not alone, there’s not a clear agreement even among leading practitioners of ABM.


It depends on the lifetime value of those accounts to your business, the greater the value, the fewer you should go for.


The average number of accounts for a one-to many campaign according to the ITSMA sits at around 100. However you may choose to go for more than this and dedicate fewer resources to each, or use an approach closer to the one-to-few model, and dedicate more resources to engaging with each account.

You should consider one-to-many ABM as a strategy if –


  • You want to increase brand awareness whilst also creating engagement at key accounts
  • Your solution is new to market, or the market need educating on its potential
  • There is one or a couple of key stakeholders at each target account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your pipeline to close rate is low and could be improved
  • You don’t have access to information on which accounts are starting a buying journey
  • You need some accounts to convert more quickly in order to see ROI sooner


In these times of uncertainty, making the most out of your marketing budget is more important than ever. In Account-Based Marketing you reduce the number of accounts you target significantly and then increase the amount of resources you spend on them. This makes the actual account selection process very important because you can’t afford for an account that receives significant resource to just fall by the wayside. So with that in mind, here a five tips for best practice account selection.

Have you thought about targeting different industries?

People are getting scared and more cautious about taking meetings and calls. So, who is engaging?


Some industries are booming at the moment such as:


  • Video conferencing technology
  • Project management tools
  • E-learning
  • Ecommerce
  • Gaming

With an influx in demand, they might just be looking for your solution. But for industries heavily effected, you need to rethink your GTM strategy to be as humane as possible; if your solution is something that would be deemed essential to these businesses – keep helping. If it’s more of a luxury, consider targeting different industries where an influx of demand means they might be on the lookout for your solution.

Sales and Marketing, Name a Better Duo

We always talk about the importance of sales and marketing alignment, but it comes into play with regards to account selection as well. A common mistake is allowing one department to select all of the target accounts for a campaign.


If the sales team are solely responsible then you run the risk of them giving you all of the ‘problem’ accounts that they have yet to achieve any traction with. As Jamie Hardin, Senior Marketing Manager of ON24 explains “ABM should be viewed as augmenting the current strategy, not a ‘Hail Mary’ initiative on an inactive account.” Similarly, it would be foolish for marketing to be solely responsible without using the information that sales already have on the accounts that they’ve been engaging with.

This could be information on which accounts are reaching a contract renewal date, previous positive conversations with the clients, or even contacts that could have used your services in a previous role at another company.

By combining the information marketing has alongside insights from sales, your account selection can lay the foundation for a successful campaign.

Are you intent on this?

Utilising intent data is the best way to select accounts. This helps you understand which companies are in a buying window based on the websites they’re visiting and the content they’re consuming. However, platforms such as Bombora and Nexus aren’t at everyone’s disposal, which is why a combination of the above tactics gives the next best chance of selecting accounts that are most likely to convert.


Account selection is perhaps the biggest factor in the success of an Account-Based Marketing campaign. Good accounts, that fit your ICP and are showing intent are bound to be successful, whereas accounts that aren’t selected on insight and reasoning are likely to fail. There’s never a sure fire way to pick accounts that are destined to convert, but by following these tips you’ll have a solid foundation for your ABM programme.

Do it early!

One of the most consistent mistakes we come across with account selection is doing it too late in the ABM journey. After first defining your ideal customer profile or ICP (link to other blog) and selecting your sector, you should be looking to choose your accounts. Prioritising selection early on in the process will give you ample time to gather insight into them, allowing you to really personalise your message that will resonate with the target DMU.

Make Sure They Fit Your ICP

Using an ICP to frame your account selection ensures that your target accounts are most likely to be a good fit for your business. It also ensures that you don’t fall for those ‘dream’ accounts that you may have put on the list because you want the logo on your website, or you’ve always dreamed of working with. If they aren’t right for the programme, you shouldn’t be targeting them. It’s not about if you want them, as much as it’s about if they want you.

So, you’re thinking about adopting Account-Based Marketing…

Fantastic! But there are three different types of ABM; one-to-many, one-to-few, and one-to-one. So, which one is right for you? Luckily, we have a handy little calculator that will tell you exactly that.