Push vs. Pull Marketing (Embrace the Latter)

This is a conversation about content and why firms and businesses build their marketing strategies around it. One of the greatest misconceptions about content marketing is that it is a tool for people who can’t afford to advertise. To show you how false this premise is, look back to 2017 when the Chief Marketing Officer of GE decided to stop advertising on television. The only exceptions they made were the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl. If your firm can afford to run ads on either, I encourage you to. However, people have embraced the idea that they can do far more with less when they rely on content. If you haven’t, then you should. 

When I first meet with clients who have decided (wisely) to begin generating content, I can sense a degree of hesitation. To give them a better idea of why this works, I talk about streaming platforms like Hulu. When presented with the option to pay $7.99 for content with advertisements or $17.99 for Hulu (No Ads), which are they more inclined to choose? Even people who decide on the cheaper option do so because of the price rather than because they enjoy watching commercials. 

People avoiding advertisements is not a new concept. In 2019, The New York Times published an article titled “The Advertising Industry Has a Problem: People Hate Ads.” As much as people despise advertisements, they love content. Why? It comes down to the concept of push vs. pull marketing. In Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing, Rebecca Lieb writes, “Consumers are bombarded with a never-ending stream of ‘push’ messaging; advertising, the marketing of interruption, of insistence and of distraction.” Seeing an ad is not what you want at that moment. You are not interested in an insurance commercial during Mad Men.

The opposite holds for pull marketing because they can choose how and when they interact with it. If you are an attorney who publishes a monthly blog, it’s hard to imagine anyone counting down the minutes until it is released as if it were a Taylor Swift album. Even though a legal blog will never compete with her, that doesn’t mean it’s being overlooked because of it, either. As an attorney, accept what your content is intended to do. (Hint: It’s not meant to be entertaining.)  

As a law firm, your content is a roadmap to a solution. Someone who just discovered they are getting divorced wants to know whether they are going to lose their children, how much they will pay (or receive) in child support, and what their next steps are. These are the moments when they will turn to a legal professional’s content. It’s what they need at that moment; for this reason, they are eager and willing to engage with the content you have created—which is the opposite of the commercial. And even more importantly, there is nothing sinister or malicious about this. There’s no psychological misdirection and no tricks. If you are a family law attorney, you enjoy being there for your clients during some of the most challenging moments in their lives. Your content is a source of support. It’s an extension of you and your values. Ultimately, your content may lead them to you—because you are a problem solver. The service-based industry lives off this premise. 
This is the power behind pull marketing. The prospect or future client willingly engages with your content marketing because they will benefit from it. Even though I have mainly focused on blogs as examples, this applies to video content, newsletters, and podcasts. The key element is that the content gives something of value. Prospective clients willingly give you their time in exchange for you providing them with needed information. Instead of driving past the billboard, they stop, get out of their car, and say, “I’m willing to listen.” So, what do you want to say?

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!