By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
Consumers are bombarded with more messages than ever before. Refining and clarifying your target segment is becoming evermore important as mass-messages are falling upon deaf ears. Specific, tailored and relevant messages, combined with consumer engagement and empowerment are elemental in the new marketing era. Less and less are market leaders dictating consumer needs through “push” advertising. By way of digital networking and publishing tools, consumers are creating consumer needs. To identify the key forces driving this marketing shift, we synthesized insights from over 40 industry professionals.
From Company Push to Consumer Pull
What is push and pull marketing? Push is the 30-second TV / radio spot. Push is the billboard and web banner. Push is the full-page magazine / newspaper spread. Push is becoming evermore difficult to push. The converse of push, is pull. Pull marketing is engaging; interactive; a two-way line of communication. To illustrate the push / pull marketing dynamic 15 years ago, if you were in the market to buy a TV, what resources would you have at your disposal? TV, radio, billboard, direct mail advertisements might have influenced your decision. Those messages are finely crafted to be persuasive. In essence: they’re bias. For a more objective view, you might turn to your friend that knows something about TVs. Or, you can go to Best Buy and they might be able to educate and inform your decision. In short, advertisements and a handful of “experts” were your resources. That was the push / pull dynamic then.
In the digital era, we can better manage and prioritize the influence of each resource. With the ubiquity of the internet, resources are seemingly endless; therefore you can choose which are more important as you refine our decision. Where in the past your decision was constrained to a limited number of resources, in the digital age, there are countless information hubs to help you choose one product over another. With the extensive consumer conversation on social media sites and product pages, what weight does the mass message—pushed from TV, billboard, radio, etc—carry when you’re making your decision? Though consumers will still soak up push marketing—and factor those impressions into their spending decisions—the internet and its vast networking reach typically bypasses traditional push media. In the past, the number of resources was limited—therefore each opinion meant more and consumers were just consumers. In today’s age, consumers are researchers, advocates, creators, promoters and marketers.
Reallocation of Marketing Efforts
In response to this consumer empowerment, companies are developing new strategies to adapt and grow in this different marketing world. Consider the marketing landscape only 15 years ago. If a company wanted to launch a product, they would allocate X amount of dollars to cast a wide net of impressions to influence a buying decision.
In a world influenced by the digital consumer network, even the word “consumer” is limiting in its simplicity. In the most innovative marketing efforts, consumers are the creators, advocates, promoters, marketers and buyers. To have a presence in the new consumer world, marketers are facilitating the conversation and activities through valuable tools and concepts online. The most engaging marketing tools can be implemented in the digital world. With a multi-sensorial experience and a multitude of engagement opportunities, brands can enhance their consumer experience beyond the conventional marketing tactics.
Pull marketing combines viral, blogging, social media, SEO, internet marketing, RSS etc. into a methodology where consumers engage and build something with the brand. No longer is advertising an interruption between news, or a distraction in nature’s landscape. Marketing is more about choice and engagement, less than it is a distraction. If you are relying too much on heavily push media today, now is the time to embrace the paradigm shift towards consumer-powered marketing.
Image by Dominik Gwarek, from Stock.Xchng