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.
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…
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 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.
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!
“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 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.