The Difference Between Push And Pull Marketing, And How Both Apply To Social Selling On Social Media

I had a call from a cleaner yesterday asking a very good question. He asked: ‘What’s the difference between push and pull marketing?’

Much depends on what type of media you are using to send your message. Yes, there is a distinct difference between media used to convey your message, and even differences within that media. Case in point, Television:

  A TV show is a good example of pull marketing. The TV show offers entertainment, information or education to PULL you into the show.

  A TV commercial is a good example of PUSH marketing because it interrupts your show and gets into your face with its commercial message.

See the difference?

Advertising that interrupts you with a commercial message is PUSH marketing. But content that pulls you into viewing reading or engaging by using information, education or entertainment as the initial draw is PULL marketing.

A direct mail post card is a good example of push marketing as it is pushing your message out to prospective customers. Your message is added to a prospective customer’s pile of mail, and as they are sorting their mail into A pile mail (what I need to read immediately) and B pile mail (What I can read later or throw away), your post card and its message jumps out and interrupts their sorting. You can push your message out to targeted people, and even though your postcard may not make it to the A pile of mail to be read immediately, you interrupt the reader while they are sorting with your catchy and informative headline printed on your postcards, or with your amazing strong incentive or offer to do business with you. It may only last a fraction of a second, but you interrupted your target audience, and you made an impression.

I can’t think of a better example of PUSH or interruption marketing is a telemarketer. You are sitting down to dinner, about to enjoy a great meal because you are really hungry after a long day of working hard, and the phone rings. It’s a damn telemarketer or worse, a robo-call system playing you a pre-recorded message.

I think you get Push marketing now.

Now let’s talk about PULL marketing.

Pull marketing is a completely different approach to marketing. It’s extremely subtle, so subtle that one may not even know they are experiencing pull marketing.

An example of extremely subtle pull marketing is product placement. You know, when Michael J Fox drinks a Pepsi in the Back to the Future movie? Yes, Pepsi PAID to have their product consumed onscreen. That happens often, in movies, and television. There is a reason why logos get blurred out on reality TV show participants; the brands emblazoned on clothing didn’t pay to be shown on the show.

Infomercials are another example of pull marketing. Products being featured by hosts are being shown to you with an informational and educational stream about how to use the product or various features and benefits of using the product. The idea is the features and benefits or new uses being shown will attract and keep your attention, eventually resulting in buying the product. Please not these key words: Eventually resulting in buying the product.

Social selling on social media is a completely different process altogether. There is absolutely no place for push marketing within social selling on social media. Just like ladies tend to stand off and shun a desperate man pleading for a date, people on social media will rebuff and ignore a company screaming ‘buy my stuff’ on social media platforms.

Social selling is all about pull marketing. Social selling is all about getting your prospective customer’s attention, then attracting their interest, eventually drawing them into engaging with your brand, asking questions, discussing issues, committing to and giving a ‘like’, and finally, when the customer is ready, buying your product or service.

Yes, it’s a very long process. It takes a long time for every step in social selling to occur, but when it’s done correctly, it’s highly effective. Not many businesses, and few drycleaners, have the patience for social selling. But social selling is actually one of the perfect methods for drycleaners to deliver their message. Let me explain.

I believe many drycleaners have forgotten how to sell their services. The industry has become so focused on price that we have lost sight of all the other benefits professional drycleaning provides.

Dry cleaning is all about fashion care, making an impression on others with our personal presentation. Personal presentation and fashion is a visual medium, which requires visual elements such as photographs and pictures to truly convey ‘the look’ our services provide. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. But a picture alone is not enough. We need compelling copy and text to supplement images. We need to tell a story to educate, inform, and SELL the features and benefits we provide to our customers. We need to direct our customers to where they can find our services, and linking to your web site is an excellent director.

Social media is the perfect delivery media for social selling. It’s free, and it amplifies out message to thousands and millions of prospective customers. Almost everyone can afford free, or the nominal investment of time it takes to take or find a picture, and then write engaging copy to go along with it, and then post it to their Facebook page, rinse, repeat.

Once again, engagement features prominently. Engaging your customer is the vital step. Customers that have their interests peaked, will, in time, become engaged, which leads to purchase. You may have to make ten posts to get one person to ‘like’ your content. As you find your style, your voice, your audience will grow. As an old Chinese proverb says “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand”. Your prospective customer must be involved in order for social selling on social media to work for you.

About Darcy Moen

Darcy Moen opened his first drycleaning shop at the age nineteen. Over the next sixteen years, he built his first 600 square foot plant into a chain of 5 stores, creating and testing his own marketing programs along the way. Darcy is a multi-media marketer, working in digital signage, video, print, direct mail, web, email and is a social media expert certified by Facebook for Pages, Insights, and Ad systems. Please visit