Dr. Pradeep Salgaonkar elaborates on the concept of push marketing and why one shouldn’t be over doing it
We all, sometime or the other, have experienced the nuisance caused by unwanted phone calls, spamming our mail boxes, text messages etc. It is a belief among everyone who is involved in marketing and selling something that they have to be in constant touch with their customers and that they have to keep reminding the customer about their offerings. That may be true, but what is the optimum level of ‘being in touch’ and moreover how it is done, needs to be understood by marketers. Anything that is overdone is bad and so is push marketing, via direct contact through various means causing irritation and subtle development of hatred towards the brand/organisation.
Legislative Assembly elections in Goa just concluded and it was the season for political activism and experimenting innovative ways to market political parties and candidates. Instead every political party was involved in push marketing themselves. In addition to the mass marketing that was done via advertisements, banners, hoardings,
pamphlet distribution, social media promotions etc., the parties were vociferously involved in individual targeting via text messages, WhatsApp posts, recorded phone call messages, phone calls, personalised video messages, among others. They used different phone numbers to reach out to people. Even if one blocked a particular number, the calls continued from other numbers. I myself have blocked about 25 different numbers in one week’s time and still the phone calls continued. That is the harassment I suffered.
One of my close friends is involved in direct marketing of a category of financial products. He strongly believes in the idea that he has to continuously keep educating his customers on every development that happens in the financial markets. Similarly, he also strongly believes in the fact that he should be in the minds of his customers regularly as he subscribes to the famous quote in sales ‘Jo Dikhta Hai, Woh Bikta Hai’. And as such, he is actively involved in marketing via WhatsApp. He has a broadcast group where all his existing customers plus prospects are added. On a daily basis, he pushes two to three posts, on an average, including pictures of newspaper articles, videos of experts, his own opinions and very often advertisements and recommendations to buy financial products. He believes he is educating his customers and that most of them read and enjoy his forwards and content. The reality is the reverse – people who receive these posts, really do not consume them; secondly, it is nothing more than the news items that also come through various other sources, and most important is the fact that constant push to buy products, and telling the same things over and over again causes irritation to customers leading to their slowly developing a dislike towards the person or the brand.
Many people must have had similar experiences with vehicle servicing, whereby the dealers are involved in push marketing their services. Often in order to lure customers, they come up with schemes and offers or certain services as free etc.
In reality, this is an eyewash; as ultimately the customer pays for everything in some way or the other. In the name of informing customers about these schemes, continuous phone calls are made to customers, text messages and WhatsApp posts are sent regularly. And if one does not respond to certain numbers then a different number is used to call the customer. These calls are a real source of irritation as they cause undue disturbance.
So does that mean push marketing is bad? It is not all that bad. If done properly and in an optimum manner the results are as expected. However, it may have negative consequences if one is overdoing or over pushing the products
A push marketing strategy or push promotional strategy is one where marketers attempt to literally ‘push’ their products onto customers. The goal of push marketing is to use various marketing techniques available to push
their products to be seen and considered by customers. Customers are introduced to, or reminded of, the product by using big advertisements and attention grabbing claims to attract attention so that the products are registered into the minds of customers. The main objective of push marketing is to create quick awareness and generate immediate sales i.e. to reduce to as minimum as possible the time that elapses between the customer seeing a product and making a purchase decision to buy the product.
Push marketing strategies are often used by marketers to create awareness of their product. This is done especially in case of newly introduced products, though it could be used effectively for existing products, as well. It relies mainly upon traditional marketing techniques, such as print advertisements, hoardings, television advertisements, direct mail, telephonic calls, SMS, WhatsApp messages, video messages, social media etc. The main goal is to make as many customers as possible aware of the product, its benefits, and value to customers.
The marketers involved in push marketing strategy, continually push their products on to the customers trying to persuade them to take purchase action. In general, every company’s marketing efforts are aimed at working towards building long term relationships and fostering customer loyalty. However, push marketing is more concerned with gaining an immediate sale than with fostering relationships that create brand loyalty. It focuses only on pushing products towards customers under various pretexts, with no concern for loyalty or branding.
This overdoing of pushing the products continually on customers is viewed as a pain and irritation by most customers and many may develop natural hatred towards these products or people. Push marketing is an accepted marketing strategy among marketers, provided it is done optimally. It works fine for short term, as gains may be good.
However, the long term impact on customers and customer relationships may be negative thereby causing grave damage to the brand. Thus, it is sensible not to overdo push marketing or push products so very forcefully on to customers that the customers feel the irritation, pain and mental harassment; and as a result they start taking actions to avoid or mentally (and physically) block push marketers forever. So, one needs to be careful in the implementation of push marketing strategy to ensure that it is not overdone.
The writer is a Founder Director, Saldots Academy, Corporate Trainer and Facilitator, Former Chairman, Goa Management Association. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org