5 Reasons Why Push Marketing Used to Work

Marketing success used to come a lot easier than it does today. In this post, I’m going to tell you why I think that is. Hopefully my perspective will help you make better marketing decisions for your own business going forward.


1.  Idealistic Baby Boomers – Hey, they weren’t dubbed the “Me” generation for nothing. Mothers of Boomers nurtured them more intensely than any prior generation, and as a result, they grew up extremely self-absorbed.  They believed they deserved the best and that attitude drove their purchasing decisions. All marketers had to do was position their products and services as a way to enjoy an idyllic life and Boomers bought into it. They sold dreams to a generation of idealists and made a lot of money doing it.

2.  People Were Easier to Reach – Twenty years ago marketers could use broadcast television to reach 91% of the viewing public. Today that number is less than 45%. Satellite radio, CDs and Ipods are having the same effect on local radio listenership, though at a slower pace. The Internet has replaced the newspaper as the hub for information gathering. And with more and more people working from home, even billboards aren’t getting as much attention as they used to.

3.  Less Competition – In 1980, 80% of American workers were employed by companies with greater than 1,000 employees. By 2007, that number had shrunk to 40%. That’s a pretty good indication regarding the growth of small businesses in America. The big conglomerates can no longer just throw advertising dollars out there and expect a good return on their investment. People have more choices than ever before and have been burnt and lied to for so long that they’re motivated enough to explore all their options.

4.  Lack of Interconnectivity – Word of mouth has grown into a muscular beast that moves with lightning speed. Social networking sites, chat rooms, blogs, instant messaging, text messaging, and cell phones are ensuring that word gets out, good or bad. If someone has a bad experience with you, everyone in that person’s sphere of influence hears about it by the end of the day.

5.  What You Were Selling Was All That Mattered – In previous decades, it was all you had to do–promote features and benefits. Tell them why yours is better and what it can do for them and the sale was yours. Today it’s much more about who you are. We’ve moved into a Civic era where consumers want to know if you share their values and perspectives. Yes, you have a desirable product or service, but are you worthy of getting their business?

In my opinion, these are the principle reasons why classic push marketing is working less and less with each passing day. The tables have turned, folks. The power has shifted. Exchange your hard push for a gentle pull and you’ll have a much greater chance at success.

Can you think of some more reasons why push marketing is no longer as effective as it used to be? Share your thoughts, we’re interested to hear them.

Tags: online business, website advertising, website marketing

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  • Brandon R Allen

    Another reason I can think is that you can only hear a message full of hype so many times before you become cynical.

    • Michael Drew

      True, selling hope like its crack cocaine works in exactly the same way, you need a larger load of hope for it to work each time…

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