pushmipullyu and push pull marketing

Dr Doolittle and Push Pull Marketing

Dr. Doolittle–remember him?  The man who could talk to animals?  In the original 1920 books he meets a rare gazelle unicorn cross with a head at each end of its body. The Pushmi-Pullyu has a hard time getting anywhere because both heads want to go forward at the same time.  They obviously get the job done.  If they hadn’t they would never have met Dr. Doolittle.

Marketing is something of a Pushmi-Pullyu.  It has two main ways to go . . . push marketing and pull marketing.  Each exists for a reason.  Each can be effective. Content Marketing creates and opportunity to really exploit good solid Pull Marketing. However, lets first review just what is Push Pull Marketing.

Push Marketing

Push marketing starts with the producer who pushes a product down the supply chain.  The producer must convince the retailers to stock and sell its product.  They can give the retailer incentives to sell more of their products.  They can create desirable packaging to help the retailer choose their product over another.  Basically, they push the product down the line till it gets to you, the consumer.

Pull Marketing

elmo and push pull marketingOn the other hand, pull marketing focuses its efforts on the consumer.  Advertisements, testimonials, contests and other give-aways are all aimed to pull the consumer towards the product.  Remember Tickle Me Elmo’s appearance in 1996?  Classic pull marketing.  This $35 plush toy became the hot black market item–fetching over $1500 in some cases.  Tyco, Elmo’s producer, didn’t go after the retailers directly.  Tyco went after the consumers who then put pressure on the retailers to carry the giggling red toy.

Content Marketing

Content marketing relies heavily on the pull.  Creating valuable, accessible, content is the name of the game.  For the most part consumers want to be educated.  They want to know about what you offer and how it compares to your competitor.  Take a look at this commercial:

These are informed consumers.  They’ve done their homework.  They know the content.


Are you providing valuable, accessible content or are your customers being pulled to others?


Pushme-Pullyou photo courtesy of Fender5 on Flickr Creative Commons.  Elmo photo courtesy of Toywhirl on Flickr Creative Commons.