Push Vs. Pull – Punching and Blocking Discipline

We all know about the conversion funnel. Figuring out how to move people from not knowing anything about a product to not being able to live without it is our job and our burden. Within that dilemma is the conversation about the tactics of push and pull marketing. Now, what is that? In this blog post, we are going to dig into the basics of what push vs pull is, when and how to implement them, and whether or not one is superior to the other.

Push, Pull? What Are We Even Talking About Here?

If the terms “push” and “pull” are unfamiliar to you, it’s essentially a way to describe and categorize different marketing methods. The basic concept is that every tactic you use to try and convince someone to purchase a product falls into either a push or a pull method, meaning that you will either:

  • Push them towards the product with techniques like targeted ads or a time-specific offering.

  • Pull them in with an enticing headline or meaningful branding.

The better one depends on the goal of the campaign and the specific elements of your target market, but most of the time a marketing portfolio will contain both. 

Rather than having an argument over which method is ‘superior’ or makes the most difference in the long-term, we want to focus on finding a style that fits with your strategy, your budget, and your target clients. The balance point will be different for everyone.

Think of it like you are sparring with your audience. Sometimes, you take the chance to reach out and strike (push), and sometimes you pull back and wait for them to come to you (pull). You wouldn’t spend the entire match doing one or the other, rather you would flow between the movements as the round progresses. As we go further into depth about the two techniques, think about where and how each of them can benefit your conversion funnel.

Push and Pull Marketing Signs

Push: The Punch

Push marketing is about bringing the product directly to the customer. Using push marketing like Pay-Per-Click Advertising allows businesses to reach out and speak with customers in a more immediate manner than other techniques allow. The goal is to move a customer from awareness to conversion as quickly as possible. Going with our boxing idea, think of push marketing as the quick jab that strikes at an opponent. Now, of course, we aren’t looking to attack our audience, but reach out to them, propelled by the message we are sending.

Compared to pull marketing, push marketing can feel aggressive, characterized by techniques that interrupt customers’ day rather than integrate into it. It may even evoke images like the mall stall salesmen, hawkishly picking over any passersby who dares to even make eye contact. Some customers have certainly grown tired of the entire interaction, which may be why techniques like PPC have seen a sharp decline in usage over the past years.

When used correctly, push marketing can be a very powerful way to reach and engage with potential and current customers. Pull marketing is in your face, and even if you push past it without taking any immediate action, you can’t deny seeing it. 

An old-school version of this would be something like a billboard along a major highway. Even if you aren’t interested in the specific product, it’s impossible to completely ignore a billboard sign as you drive by it. Another example is pre-roll video advertising on websites and apps. This type of advertising is impossible to avoid without leaving the site or app you’re on, and the content that you are interested in is on the other side of the advertisement.

Push and Pull Marketing with a Block

Pull: The Block

Pull marketing is all about forming a connection with your audience. These methods are typically enacted over a period of weeks to months, and don’t usually sell the product in such a direct manner. Most content marketing efforts, such as blogs and white papers, fall under pull marketing.

Because pull marketing is more subtle than push, it takes a bit more effort to act on the information that you’re given from these advertisements. An example of this would be free content available on a company website. This content is often geared towards providing information to the customer but requires very little return on the part of the client. The hope is that by providing this content, the customer will be more likely to want to buy the product or service that the company is selling in the future.

Finding Your Personal Style

The biggest mistake we see being made when it comes to understanding push and pull marketing is that you have to choose. So often when we see two options, we feel that these options are mutually exclusive. Thankfully, that is not the case. 

You don’t spend a round in an MMA fight only blocking or only punching, right? There’s a rhythm to it, the two forms moving together to win the fight. That is what we are doing here. At times, you will spend a great deal of effort establishing pull marketing efforts, and at others, you will be releasing a barrage of push marketing campaigns. The point isn’t to optimize either forms, but to use each form to move you towards increased conversions.

So what does that take? A great deal of practice for starters. Nothing can replace honest experience. Thankfully, the experience doesn’t have to be completely your own. By working with professional digital marketing specialists, you can get a good sense of what tactics and strategies work best for your unique business. 

At the same time, you can also learn more about the unique marketing options that are available to you. As digital marketers, we are always trying to find new and better ways to move people through the conversion funnel. We spend a great deal of our time figuring out what tactics work best for our clients based on experience and, of course, data. Data runs so much of our lives and, as digital marketers, we are constantly trying to find ways to make sure that our data-driven decisions result in positive outcomes for our clients.

Push and Pull Marketing Competition


We hope this blog post has helped to clear up any confusion about push vs pull tactics and when and how they should be used. As always, we are here to help you with all of your digital marketing needs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help you create an SEO and marketing strategy that uses both approaches to get people interested in your product and drive conversions. Ready to learn more? Connect with us today and claim your free ARC report!

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