April 25, 2013
Having recently worked on the rollout of the branding for the exciting Association of Online Publishers (AOP) B2B Media and Marketing Conference, we were invited to fill our boots with a day of digital insight. Among the thought-provoking themes that emerged was the effectiveness of Pull vs Push Marketing. The latter, as the name suggested, can be an assertive, loud and sometimes aggressive form of marketing in which a brand boldly promotes its product or service. Direct mail is one such example; often uninvited, it greets you on your doorstep and bombards you with what it has to offer.
Pull marketing turns the approach on its head. It provides an environment, be it an online hub of useful information or an exciting event, which engages customers and enables them make the first move in getting to know how a brand can help them. Pull marketing requires more consideration but can create far more effective results.
Why Content is (still) King
What does Pull marketing boil down to? Content. It has to be good; accessible, interesting, engaging, relevant and practical. Stan Woods, Co-Founder of Velocity Partners reminded the AOP conference once again that “Content is King” and “content marketing is turning your insight and advice into campaigns that change people’s minds and incite action.”
Good content is also crucial to aid searchability since Google launched Penguin and Panda and swept the rug from under the feet of those with ‘thin content’. Stan advised that brands need to become magnets for their audience and if the content is good, customers and potential customers will give permission for a brand to speak to them.
Another speaker at the AOP conference, Stefan Heeke, Digital Director of Marketing at Siemens, claimed that 80% of customers say they “found a service or product” rather than saying that they themselves were “found” by a brand seeking them. It seems that being accessible and relevant has never been more important.
So how do you create an environment for audience invitations? Chuck Richard, VP & Lead Analyst at Outsell spoke at the AOP conference of a recent shift in marketing budgets towards event management, stating that advertisers spend almost as much staging events as they do on digital platforms. If the core of your brand is about selling products, listening to what your audience is interested in and offering them insight or advice through an event or digital conversation may put you at the front of their minds more than a sales brochure.
We recently created a digital campaign for Expedia, known as Where in the World? which provided an online hub of employees’ expert travel advice. The content was authentic as it was based on real-life experiences and segmented into personal interests such as partying, shopping and relaxing, for easy navigation. By providing engaging content, customers were attracted to interact with Expedia not to purchase a flight or hotel, but to be inspired, thus raising the travel company’s profile as a knowledgeable and inspiring brand – complete with real people with personalities!
Customers often don’t want or need to be pushed into buying into a brand – Richard Robinson, Director of B2B markets at Google pointed out that “prospects are 70% of the way towards the buying decision by the time they get in touch with a brand”. So perhaps it’s time for brands to wise up from a one-size-fits-all way of shouting ‘buy me’ to a more customer-by-customer approach of responding to what their audience is interested in by first asking a simple ‘how can I help you?’.