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Archive for February 2009

Push Advertising vs Pull Advertising

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Push Advertising vs Pull Advertising

Push Advertising is what traditional advertising is all about. Interrupt a viewer while he is watching television and push your ad in front of him, and the same goes for radio too. Or intersperse your content in the print medium (newspapers/magazines) with Ads. Basically push your ads on people using any communication vehicle. And it was ok for traditional advertising to be based on push advertising, because it was non interactive, and limited by geography.

But the Internet is completely an interactive medium, and more appropriate for pull advertising, because everyone is just a mouse click away.

Digital advertising presently is more of push advertising, wherein a brands ad is placed in sites that a viewer is visiting. Such ads by nature are interruptive and intrusive. And brands are getting disillusioned by the digital advertising solutions that are all technology led. Somewhere along the line, the fact, that brands need to tell a story was forgotten, and that a brands need to use rich media to communicate was ignored. Text ads, Banner ads, and the odd micro-site was not the solution, nor was reducing a brand to a thumbnail and a price.

Pull advertising is where the consumer on his own accord consumes brand communication or interacts with the brand. For instance, if he visits your website, or if there is an online game with a brands branding built onto it, and there are players wanting to play the game, or consumes entertaining content sponsored by the brand. Pull advertising is based on the principle of offering perceived free value, for the consumer to want to interact with the brand.

Some of the different forms of Pull Advertising is


Community Building Sites

Online Games

Entertainment content


Information content


Social causes

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Unlike Push Advertising, where the consumer might or might not be interested in your brand, with Pull Advertising you can be certain that the consumer is interested in your brand, or in the free value that you are offering him. Brand Marketers need to have a mix of Push & Pull Advertising strategies to make their brand successful.


Pull Advertising – through online community building

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Pull Advertising – through online community building

All brand marketers understand the value of a brand community, and in the offline world have been doing so by way of loyalty programs, DM’s to customer database, special offers, invites to special events, maintenance camps etc… But most of this is limited to existing customers.

Today, most brand marketers are looking for ways to build their brand online, and understand that if a community can be built around a brand, marketing online would become easy. But, is there an opportunity to build a community around every brand? The answer is definetly NO.

So what type of brands can easily build a community around their brand? Brands that are ICONIC and are action oriented can easily build an online community around their brand. Eg. Harley Davidson – for a community of bikers. Categories that promote showcasing of results, can easily build a community too. For example a camera brand can easily build a community around photography, that allows members to showcase their photos, share tips etc… Likewise communities can be built around activities like traveling, cooking, gardening, sports, parenting, hobbies, etc… or communities can be built around interest groups such as eco-friendly, save the species, fashion, film personalities etc… and brands that build such communities will be able to build strong brands.

What does it take for a brand to build a strong community online? The foremost being a strong focus on building a community, and not on selling your products. Which means, be a neutral platform, and allow your competitors too on this platform (for example: if it is on photography, allow photographs shot on your competitors cameras too to be featured. Because the community is about photography, and not a particular camera brands photo showcase). Remember, the advantage you have, is that you alone will have access to the database of users, which you can make use of for brand promotion. Secondly you can provide a space for your brand to advertise, which need not be made available to your competitors.

The online world presently still has space open for brands to build communities, and the early community builders will have the first mover advantage. The internet community building gold rush is on, make your move now!