What is push and pull marketing and which is better?

By Heath Reidy / September 11th 2019

divider arrow

Push and pull marketing are terms that are thrown around in the marketing world, but what do they really mean, what are their pros and cons, and which is better for your digital marketing strategies? 

To push or to pull? That is the question. And we aim to make sense of it all.

What is push marketing?

This is a strategy where your products and services are pushed out to an audience. Television and radio advertising are both good examples of push marketing. This could include a TV advert for a pension company, which is broadcasted to millions during a prime time slot on a Saturday night.

The pros and cons of push marketing

On the plus side, push marketing like this goes out to a mass audience – on a Saturday night, for instance, this would be millions of potential customers. 

The problem with it is, however, is it has a forced agenda. For instance, in the case of the pension company’s TV advert, it:

  • Interrupts what people are watching – a programme that probably is not related to a pension product
  • Forces people see the product who aren’t interested in it – probably the majority of the television audience
  • Forces the potential customer to see the product at a time when they’re probably not thinking about it, and don’t want to think or learn about it

This means push marketing is made at the wrong time and wrong place.

Consequently, it has low engagement and low conversion.  


What is pull marketing? 

This is a strategy that doesn’t so much pull people in, but capitalises on customers who are already interested – they want or need a product or service. The best example of good pull marketing is search. This could include an on-page blog on a pension company’s website, which contains a CTA link to an information page about the business’s pension products.

The way pull marketing techniques could work in this case would involve a user, who wants to know about pensions, searching the internet and coming across the blog. They click on the blog, find it interesting and helpful, and click on the link to read about the pension products the company offers.


The pros and cons of pull marketing 

This type of marketing isn’t likely to draw the mass audience of push marketing techniques. However, rather than being forced, it has a more natural agenda. In the case of the pension company’s site blog, it: 

  • Doesn’t interrupt something the audience is doing and is available to access all the time  
  • Naturally attracts people who are interested in the product
  • Targets the potential customer when they are thinking about the product, and do want to see and learn about it


This means that pull marketing is made at the right time and the right place. 

Consequently, it has high engagement and high conversion. 


You’ve pulled! Pulling in and keeping your audience with search

Pull marketing shows how search isn’t just a way to build up your traffic and climb Google’s rankings. It can be a very effective way to promote your products or services to your audience when they are highly engaged and more likely to convert – more so than other push marketing advertising.  

There are different forms of pull marketing when it comes to search, including:

  • On-page content, like blogs, features and guides about subject matter relating to your products or services 
  • Outreach in the form of off-page content, such as blogs and features that you have published on blogger sites with links to your website. You can learn more about this in our blog, Understanding the value of links and outreach  

A content strategy that includes different forms of pull marketing like this won’t just pull your audience in, but will help you keep hold of them. This could involve writing a series of on-page blogs, which focus on topics and search terms related to your products or services. They’d also aim to answer questions the user might have about those topics.

In the case of the pension company, this could involve blog titles like: 

  • What are the benefits of having a pension? 
  • What should I look for in a pension provider?
  • How do I change my pension?


Marketing that pulls people in

Pull marketing techniques, like on-page and off-page content, can be used to make up your content strategy to draw more customers to your brand, your offerings, and increase your enquires and conversions. 

We’d love to explore how our content marketing strategies could pull in your potential customers and deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team, call 0845 485 6994 or get in touch.