Traditionally, marketers have satisfied their sales quotas using conventional media channels such as television, radio and print. However, in the wake of the online age and, more recently, the explosion of social networking platforms, businesses are revamping their marketing strategies.
Traditional marketing tactics such as advertising via radio, television, billboards and direct mail are generally considered forms of push marketing. When using these, it’s the marketer who controls the situation by convincing the consumers that they have a need for the product. This approach is most advantageous to industry giants — those that can afford to swallow the enormous price tag of reaching the masses through the most popular mediums.
In contrast, pull marketing plays on new social norm of personal independence. It’s the consumers who run the show — they know what they want, and they seek out a vendor to get it. Pull marketing uses methods such as:
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media
- Word of Mouth/Ratings and Reviews
In the pull marketing world, many targeted demographics are becoming increasingly resistant to mass media advertising. Consumers are beginning to veer in the exact opposite direction from which they’re led for fear of becoming simply a puppet lacking control.
Hal Niedzviecki sums it up in an article he wrote for Realm Magazine, “In a world of fakes, we crave authenticity. Not ‘the real thing’ Coca-Cola promises, but the capacity to have substantive experiences without feeling like we are being reduced to quota numbers, statistics or cogs in the machine. This isn’t something we can buy or sell.”
According to E-Tailing Group, more than half of buyers start their shopping online using a search engine. Consumers would rather do their own research rather than rely on media ads, product descriptions or in-house experts.
So how do you lead a demographic to your product or service when they have no desire to be led? The answer is: let them find your product on their own.
Remember that one of the most basic forms of pull marketing lies within the realm of search engine marketing. Positioning your Website so it can be found effortlessly allows your target market the easiest access to your brand. And, because those who are searching specifically for your product are preparing to actually make a purchase, you’re more likely to land the sale.
By hooking one of your consumers, it’s possible for you to gain a whole network of followers. After all, who is a more trustworthy authority — a Facebook friend or a giant billboard sponsored by a corporate giant? Econsultancy found that 90 percent of online users trust opinions of people they know and 70 percent continue to put their trust in unknown sources.
Many shoppers are doing their research across multiple sites and networks including social media platforms. According to eMarketer, when making purchase decisions, up to half of consumers consider information they found via their social networks. Those ages 18-24 put even greater trust in what their social network had to say about products.
Now, instead of relying on push marketing, your brand’s successful endorsement lies in the hands of online communities that are creating a common wisdom. Studies show that most consumers are willing to share their opinions of a brand or product with their social circle. In fact, 53% of people who use the social networking platform Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets. As you market your product, you need to be involved in this conversation and start building relationships, which will encourage trust in your product.
The utilization of Website ratings and reviews is another segment of pull marketing. According to a study by Nielsen, while only 14% of consumers rely on traditional advertisements, 78% put their confidence in other consumer recommendations. Moreover, it’s not a select group of individuals offering up their insights. Over one-third of consumers rate the products and services they’ve purchased.
Research has shown that when positive ratings and reviews are showcased on a Website, visitors are more likely to:
- Browse Websites more actively
- Purchase higher priced items
- Spend more per order
Not only do ratings and reviews help shoppers choose your brand, but it helps product development on your end. Through this online feedback, you can gain invaluable market insight and use it to modify your product to meet your constituents’ needs.
Assure you’re managing your online reputation, especially the conversations on social networking sites. When facing poor reviews, don’t deny the problem, make improvements and then tell consumers about the changes you’ve made so you can build up their trust once again.