Push vs Pull
Last week I drove in from the beach to do the radio show. Right before I left I took the above picture of an area in the rocks where the water seemed to be in a constant battle with itself. The wave would come crashing up through the channel and just as it was starting to recede back into the ocean a new wave would come powering through and the two would battle it out until, finally, the incoming wave prevailed and the water came gently washing up to where I was standing.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been immersed in marketing over the past few months out at USC but I saw this as a bit of a parable. In marketing there are, traditionally, two forms of taking a product to market. The first is to “push” it to market through retailers, distributors or other established distribution channels. The second is to “pull” the market to your product through direct advertising. Picture billboards, TV and Radio commercials, mailers and other expensive and flashy marketing hoopla.
Enter The Age of Modern Marketing
Although those two types of product marketing exist today I see a different type of “push” and “pull” happening thanks to the flourishing social media channels. I call social media “The New Pull” and I’ll tell you why.
The social aspect of social media is what makes it so amazingly powerful. The ability to engage a customer and connect with them at an individual level allows a company to deepen customer loyalty to a level that has never existed before. A company opening a Twitter account but then just constantly pushing information out is missing the point. It’s about engaging the consumer.
My favorite good example happened to me a little over a year ago. I went to Home Depot to get a part I needed and was frustrated that they didn’t have it. At the time I was testing out FourSquare (which I opted against using long term) and posted through that site to Twitter a note expressing my frustration. Within an hour a representative from Home Depot contacted me and asked me if there was anything they could do to help me locate the part.
A bad example is PayPal. They have a twitter account but from everything I can gather it is used like a bullhorn, one way, and not a way to engage their customers. I think this happens when a company has dominate market share and isn’t worried about a few people being frustrated that PayPal shut their accounts down without warning and held their funds for 180 days. Sure, it’s in their Terms and Conditions but an explanation would be nice.
The New Pull
If you’re going to be on social media sites, you have to be social. Remember what your Mom always told you and mind your manners. If somebody tweets something good about you say thank you. If you let somebody down say you’re sorry and do better next time. Being polite in business is what social media is all about.