Push vs Pull Strategy: How To Decide Which Is the Better Option for You

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Out of the four elements in the marketing mix, place, or what is called a distribution strategy, has a tremendous impact on marketing to more consumers and increasing potential revenue. Two of the most common distribution strategies are the push and pull strategies, which are direct opposites of each other. So how does a marketing team decide which is the best option for their business?

What Is a Distribution Strategy? 

Before we get into the details of push vs pull, we must first define clearly what is meant by a distribution strategy. In order for consumers to buy your product, they must have access to it. The place where they go to buy your products is an important thing to consider when you are creating a marketing plan for your business. There are two ways that a consumer can buy products. The first route is to buy directly from the manufacturer, whereas the second route involves a lot of middlemen that are meant to advertise the product for the manufacturer and sell it. The middlemen in a distribution channel are sometimes called intermediaries, and they are the retailers and wholesalers that buy from a manufacturer and sell to the end consumer. 

Distribution Is a Key Driver of the Overall Profitability of a Firm Because It Impacts Costs and the Customer Experience 

Never underestimate the impact of a good distribution strategy (or a bad one). The way you distribute a product greatly changes the budget you need to spend on your supply chain. On the other hand, your distribution strategy changes how a consumer perceives your product because it is part of their experience. For example, online and offline sales differ both in supply chain management and convenience to different customers. 

What Is a Push Strategy? How Do I Know That It Is Suitable For My Business?

A push strategy is one that aims to push marketing and advertising efforts on consumers in hopes that interested buyers will go through with a purchase. This is generally more profitable when there is already established demand for the product. For example, for the general population, it’s safe to say that soap is already a product with significant demand. There are also many varieties of soap. In this case, marketers push advertisements towards the consumer to showcase their product (soap) and try to convince them that it is better than other alternatives (other soap brands). This strategy is often the method used by businesses and organizations to gain exposure for their product, especially if it is new. 

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What Is a Push Strategy? How Do I Know That It Is Suitable For My Business

On the other hand, businesses attempt to increase the demand for their product. This means there is no established high demand, and the business is trying to pull consumers in with their promotional activity. This is useful if the product is unique and different. Pull strategy creates increased demand, and usually, retailers (intermediaries) respond by stocking up accordingly. A prime example of this strategy was the introduction of the iPhone. Although there were touchscreen phones before Apple started making them, what Steve Jobs was very good at doing was creating a desire for the products within the consumer’s psychology.

The push-pull strategies were originally used in supply chain management but have clearly found a place among distribution marketing. Learning which type to choose for your business according to its needs is important in increasing your business’ profitability. Remember to take into account the cost of distribution, your internal and external macroenvironment, and all other relevant factors before implementing a distribution strategy.

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