Modern Marketing: Today's Marketing Tug-o-War

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February 15, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Evanne Schmarder

For many years, consumers and marketers alike understood how products and services were sold. Print advertising, television and radio commercials, direct mailers, press releases – even the dreaded cold call were tools marketers used to communicate or “push” their messages to the consumer. Marketers controlled the type of media used. Studies and focus groups were conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of an image, how specific text was worded, the best media venue for reaching the market, performance goals were set and the campaign launched.

This push method is exactly as it sounds – pushing a message out to a vast number of recipients with the hope of capturing/converting a certain percentage – typically a small number. You might say push marketing success depends on being “found” by your market. We also refer to this as outbound marketing. While many of the traditional avenues of push marketing were the hallmark of yesterday, their technological counterparts are still valid and widely used.

In the mid to early 1990s the Internet was getting legs … a little shaky but, like an infant, soon it would be standing, walking and eventually running. This tech development has brought “pull” marketing – or inbound marketing – to the forefront. Inbound marketing relies on your market “finding” you – primarily your business’ website and/or presence – through various online techniques including social media and content marketing – think Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and search engine optimized press releases. Prospects are narrowed providing marketers a very interested and targeted list. Today’s inbound marketers work hard to create and sustain relationships with their target market, listening to what they have to say about brands, products, services and customer service. The natural evolution, of course, is a soft call to action.

Which Method to Choose?

One might think that because of where we are in the technology-development cycle, inbound marketing is where they should be focusing their efforts, right? Wrong. Savvy marketers know that a mix of outbound and inbound techniques will garner the best results for their businesses. Potent combinations might include a print ad directing the viewer to the advertiser’s website, a direct mail campaign urging the recipient to learn more about the offer via a YouTube video or a site map inviting guests to connect on Facebook or Twitter.

They also know that the same type of media – used in a different manner – can serve as an outbound tool and an inbound tool. When developing your marketing mix, don’t overlook tried and true methods. Instead, be aware of how they can serve you in delivering benefits of both push and pull.

For example, let’s look at social media marketing. Certainly it should be used to understand what’s being said about your product or business, what consumers are talking about, and entering the conversation with the intent of building relationships. But once established, these networks can also be a place for you to push your message – specials, events, sales, new products, etc.

E-mail marketing could be considered both. To build your list, chances are you’ve got a subscription box on your website and maybe even an invitation to sign up in your printed collateral – you’re pulling prospects into your funnel via the offer of interesting content. But you just as easily could have taken advantage of the GoRVing lead database – pushing your message to a large number of semi-qualified leads and hoping your message encourages them to take action (subscribe).

Using permission marketing allows you to send a newsy, info-rich e-newsletter to subscribers on a frequent basis keeping your brand top of mind and is a pull. Advertisers in your e-newsletter are pushing their message out.

Press releases sent to media outlets with the goal of obtaining coverage – a story, mention, interview, etc. is great push marketing. Add specific, well-researched keywords and phrases to the mix and distribute via the many online press release distribution sites that offer a portal into search engine submission and you’ve morphed a traditional marketing tool into a dual performer. Your business’ website will have a much better chance of being found and visited – a pull.

Changing Channels

Whether you are an outbound or inbound marketing advocate, one thing is for sure: the channels available to all of us have widened considerably and show no signs of saturation. Trade shows, while still the way of showcasing your product or service, are being augmented with webinars and virtual trade shows; newsprint newspapers are being replaced with digital editions; radio’s gone satellite and our favorite TV shows (a huge advertising platform) are being TiVo’d to avoid commercials; not many of us actually get up in the middle of dinner anymore to answer a telemarketing call thanks to caller ID and the do-not-call registry; and hard selling methods are rejected faster than you can say “wanna buy a timeshare?”

There’s no time like the present to review your marketing mix, analyze your results, review new opportunities and take action. Join me on this wild Internet ride – Modern Marketing – and each month we’ll take an in-depth look at technology and modern marketing at its best. Until next month, market smart!

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