Study notes

Marketing promotion: what are push and pull strategies?

Marketing distinguishes between two kinds of promotional strategies: push and pull. What is a push factor? What is a pull factor? This study note answers these questions and gives you examples of each.

Push factor

A "push" promotional strategy makes use of a company's sales force and trade promotion activities to create consumer demand for a product: it takes the product to the customer - the customer knows about the product when they buy it.

Producer promotes product wholesalers > wholesalers promote product to retailers > retailers promote product to consumers

Examples

  • Trade shows
  • Direct selling

A push strategy tries to sell directly to the consumer, bypassing other distribution channels. An example of this would be selling insurance or holidays directly. With this type of strategy, consumer promotions and advertising are the most likely promotional tools.

A good example of push selling is mobile phones where major handset manufacturers, such as Nokia, promote their products via retailers such as Carphone Warehouse. For example, offering subsidies on the handsets to encourage retailers to sell higher volumes.

Direct selling and trade promotions are often the most effective promotional tools for companies such as Nokia.

Pull factor

A “pull” selling strategy is one that requires high spending on advertising and consumer promotion to build up consumer demand for a product: it brings the customer to the product - the customer is motivated to buy it.

Consumers ask retailers for product > retailers ask wholesalers for product > wholesalers ask producers for product

Examples

  • Advertising
  • Referrals (word of mouth)
  • Promotions
  • Discounts

A good promotional strategy will combine both push and pull factors.

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