Is it Push or Pull?
I read an interesting post by Seth Godin (who does know a little something about marketing) in which he very briefly defines a push message verses a pull.
(On a side note, if you don’t subscribe to Seth’s blog you are really missing some great thought.)
The example of push marketing he uses is the current day classic, SPAM E-mail. If one wants or needs a perfect example of push marketing you need look no further. In Spam e-mailing the message is literally pushed out to millions of receipients who have not made any effort at acquiring the message through their own actions.
A pull message is by nature, one that elicits an action from the intended recipient whereby they actively seek out information from you.
Now, where this becomes interesting is when he defines and provides examples of pull concepts. Seth states that a blog is pull distribution in effect. I agree with this. Next he states that RSS is push as once you subscribe in one way shape or form to a blog, the content is then pushed to you via RSS.
Readers Have Total Control Over RSS Delivered Content
I have a slightly different take on this as when one adds an RSS feed to a feed reader/aggregator it pulls the message from the blog. The reader actively reaches out and checks to see if there are any new posts to the blog. One of the elements that people like about pulling in content via an RSS feed is that they have TOTAL control over it. If they want to cease receiving a feed they simply delete it… end of story.
Seth also states that the Internet transforms TV from an offline push medium to an online pull machine. What do you think?
These are the sort of issues I urge you to consider as you design products and all of the marketing communications and channels around them.
Take it even further and look closely at all of your existing marketing efforts. See if you can twist the message and/or delivery of it to take it from a push to a pull.
The rapid technological changes taking place today are opening up new horizons of marketing channels, while at the same time forcing some of most established advertising mediums to make radical changes themselves or go the way of the dinosaurs.
Case in point and one of the biggest budget, highest profile examples… Television Advertising – a typically PUSH oriented advertising channel!)
It is no secret now that with the advent of Tivo and other digital video recording solutions, consumers are now able to literally fast-forward past the ads that for years invaded their living rooms as they attempted to watch their favorite shows.
This new technology enables the consumer to choose whether they are going to sit through any ad or simply skip it and give their direct and indirect attention only to the show they are trying to watch.
This New Technology Enables The Consumer To Choose
This is a very troubling situation for the television networks who for so many years were able to charge exorbinant sums in exchange for companies securing a 30 to 60 second spot in the middle of their broadcasting. In the past the target audience was close to being a captive, basically having to endure commercials in an effort to watch their favorite TV shows.
That has all changed now.
What is the solution for television advertisers and the networks selling ad time?
Well, the short-term "band aid" some networks are testing is to go way, way back to an earlier era when ads were comprised of live "plugs" for products during the feature show. These ads were more a part of the show than an ad, making them all but completely unavoidable to the viewing audience.
One great example of this "back to the future" tactic being used are the ad spots soon to be running on late night talk show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as well as the Garmin spot recently aired on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno". Initial data collected for the spot aired shows it to be much more effective than traditional spots run in recent days.
There is a Much Deeper Problem
Now, while this flashback marketing solution seems to make sense on the surface, I propose that there is actually a much deeper problem to be faced by advertisers and their marketing teams.
I believe the question to be asked is "Why are consumers fast-forwarding through ads to begin with?"
What cacophony of praise might we have heard if the collective cheers of all DVR users could have been voiced simultaneously when they realized commercials could be skipped?
Should there be that strong a reaction?
Could it be that the public has long been growing more and more tired, if not at times disgusted, with the constant and often blatant advertising that is shoved under their nose?
Do advertisers need to shift their efforts to even more, dare I say, "creative pull marketing" as opposed to the typical "push" efforts most use?
Technology is Forcing Advertisers to Change
It is obvious that technology is forcing advertisers to change the way they do things. This is not going to stop.
What I ask you then is this:
Does the marketing industry as a whole need to step back and evaluate the effects their messages and methods have upon consumers before yet another advertising medium joins television ads on the endangered list?
What do you think? Share YOUR comments with us…
Onward & Upward!