Difference Between Push Strategy and Pull Strategy

Both push strategy and pull strategy are business terms originating in logistics and supply chain management. These two concepts are also used in marketing, particularly in determining or evaluating distribution strategies. They essentially pertain to a specific approach of moving a product from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

What is the Difference Between Push Strategy and Pull Strategy?

A push strategy is a marketing and distribution approach that involves the use of intensive marketing promotion to include advertising and specific sales promotion tactics aimed at wholesalers and retailers. The goal is to promote the product to distribution intermediaries so that they can sell it to the consumers, thus pushing it onto the people.

On the other hand, a pull strategy involves promoting the product directly to end-use consumers. The goal is to create public awareness and demand, thus pressuring intermediaries to carry and sell the product. In other words, this approach to marketing and distribution pulls the product through the distribution channel.

A push marketing strategy essentially centers on building and maintaining relationships with the distributors while a pull marketing strategy focuses on promoting the product or the brand directly to the consumers so that it will create demand that in turn, would encourage distributors to resell.

Which One is Better Between a Push and Pull Marketing Strategies?

The choice between a push strategy and a pull strategy has important implications in marketing promotion. Push marketing is generally a business-to-business promotional transaction that might involve using communication channels for the business audience, sales calls or direct sales, and participation in trade events, among others.

Meanwhile, pull marketing is a business-to-consumer promotional transaction. It uses popular channels or mediums for mass communication to reach end-use consumers. These channels include broadcast and print advertising, as well as digital marketing activities to include online advertising and social media marketing.

There are organizations that use either one of the two. A push strategy is usually more suitable for products geared toward a defined target market. Examples include machineries and equipment for industrial use. A pull strategy is more suitable for products destined for mass markets to include processed food and household items.

Of course, it is also essential to determine a complementary balance between the two strategies. Choosing between a push and a pull marketing strategy should be done with a thorough understanding of business requirements, marketing and sales goals and objectives, and the product or brand.

FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES

  • Liu, H-W. and Huang, H-C. 2015. “Tradeoff Between Push and Pull Strategy: The Moderating Role f Brand Awareness.” In ed. Spotts H., Marketing, Technology and Customer Commitment in the New Economy. Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science. Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-11779-9_98
  • Sarbjit, S. 2017. “Study on Push/ Pull Strategy Decision Taken by Organizations for Their Products and Services.” Universal Journal of Management. 5(10): 492-495. DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2017.051004
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