The Fall of Push Marketing

Justin Bieber isn’t a business man, he’s a business, man! Okay, that may not be quite accurate either. But now that I have your attention, I can actually talk about something I have seen transforming for quite some time. Push marketing.

Simply put, the idea of pushing a product onto a consumer and influencing their decisions to buy cette item. Push marketing is or was a traditional form of marketing where you’re pushing your products to consumers. However, as we have seen with the advent of instant communication and a plethora of digital stores that offer custom everything, this method of sales seems to have dwindle.

Still, what exactly is push marketing? Those bargain magazines you get in your letterbox – push marketing. The billboards you spot while driving to work – push marketing. The adverts on your Facebook newsfeed – push marketing. John Oliver telling you not to vote Harper – well that’s just awesome, but also push marketing.

In some aspects push marketing works brilliantly – it creates brand awareness which is often a good thing. However in this fast paced digital world push marketing is slowly losing the marketing strategy game.

The advertising industry is a living, breathing thing. Like the Tardis. It is constantly in flux, with new technologies and trends spreading through the industry and/or space and time like wildfire. With these emerging technologies appearing every day, agencies also need to find innovative ways to continuously adapt to the changing environment in order to help clients truly compete.

Two of the best at this are Critical Mass and Sid Lee. New-comers to the digital game are consulting firms, like Deloitte and Accenture; now cleverly coined Deloitte Digital and you guessed it, Accenture Digital.

Large traditional firms were having trouble staying in the game, so they adopted the foundation to keep up with a trending culture. But still, one must ask, what has led us to this point where the small digital agency underdog appears to be triumphing over big box brands like DDB, BBDO and McCann?

Thanks to Digital, Bigger Isn’t Always Better and in some cases not even relevant.

justin bieber background image

In the good ol’ days of Don Draper and Mad Men, consolidating work to one large ad agency made sense for large brands from a consistency and financial standpoint. The large agency came up with the big idea and actually had the manpower to execute it across all traditional channels. But then something happened to turn this model on its head. Digital came along, bringing with it new specialties and required skill sets, a fresh batch of small and innovative digital agencies, and more efficient ways of reaching an audience (not to mention a few big challenges for the traditional agency). Let’s not forget the issues of synergy and the value proposition involved when merging what was once two competing firms. The value would be realized, but at what cost and more importantly, how long would these synergies take to manifest and truly help the branding and workplace culture?

People don’t want to be told what to do, they don’t want to feel as though they’re a blip on a huge corporation’s radar. Push marketing is much like an annoying Aunt Gladys at a family reunion, shouting out about her great deals and things you MUST BUY RIGHT NOW. After a while it gets frustrating, then it becomes awkward and eventually background noise. Soon enough you no longer even realize Aunt Gladys is even there.

Push marketing doesn’t create a long lasting relationship with the consumer, and it is this which is leading to its downfall. The fall of push marketing sees the rise of content marketing and an emphasis on engagement and involvement. This would fall under pull marketing, where a brand works to bring consumers in. In the pull strategy, consumers actively want to be part of the brand.

Apple…..anything – pull marketing, Windows 10, ok bad example. Doc Martins, well back in the 90’s – completely pull marketing. Here’s a little depiction of the US Smartphone market, a marketer’s wet dream.

mobile device sales figures

Let’s get a little technical now.

Through options like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, paid search, email marketing and mobile, brands can easily reach consumers on a much more targeted basis while tracking each campaign’s effectiveness at a granular level. This is where the big advertising agency gets tripped up.

They know TV, radio and print, but digital is a whole new beast they have very little experience with – especially when it comes to successfully tracking, analyzing and optimizing campaigns to improve ROI.

Ad firms pay their employees to execute these monstrous campaigns. However, if the internet cuts these costs off at the knees, why would a client pay top dollar for a big box agency when the smaller fish have a greater user experience and some top notch pop culture aficionados that are experimental and innovative.

That hands-on experience, along with a proven track record, is crucial to successful digital marketing because each individual channel requires such a unique set of skills that don’t apply to the traditional advertising channels. Plus, the digital world is always changing at such a rapid pace that keeping up requires flexibility, quick adaptation and to be able to avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde – something the traditional agency’s can’t quite manage with their big box stature.

“What advertising clients need is the right idea and right team to execute that concept in a new way that truly reaches its audiences. The digital disciplines are so new and evolving at such an incredible pace that only a few agencies, big or small have the expertise or track record to make a credible difference.”

How do they do this you ask?

Well, buy them a scotch (or milkshake) helps. Then once they mildly trust you, you create valuable and interesting content for their needs. You engage your audiences on their level, and you build a relationship with them. Talk to a bartender, rapport sells, whiskey just helps.

In truth there is a slight downfall when it comes to content marketing. It exploded recently with such force that everyone started producing content; so much so that the digital world became saturated with it, and most of it is absolutely hopeless. Thanks for that Twitter.

Thankfully both Facebook and Google are constantly working to weed out useless content which doesn’t have a high value. Well, ok, maybe just Google. This is done mainly by analyzing how long a person spends on that particular web page. If they linger for a while then it’s an indication that the content was at least interesting or engaging, if they leave instantly then clearly this wasn’t useful. True, there are numerous issues with that type of methodology, but hey it’s a start.

So in short – if you want to market your products effectively, forget about pushing it at them and instead work on slowly reeling them in.

With a bit of creativity, planning, and dedication you’ll be at it in no time and will start to see effective results! The other option is to keep doing what you’re doing and hoping for a different result.