5 common mistakes in pull marketing

Posted on May 16, 2012

Old thinking and new technology

There’s always a tendency to apply old ways of thinking to new technology. So when companies first engaged with the Internet, they immediately applied ’print thinking’ – creating websites that were essentially online brochures. Slowly this changed and we learnt how to use the technology in the right way.


A similar thing is happening with pull marketing. And it’s completely understandable. This is new technology and that requires a new way of thinking. So to help companies new to pull marketing, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Five mistakes to avoid

1. Use pull technology for push marketing
Companies tend to use technology to shout louder – to go for a bigger push. This just creates a bigger problem (less trust, less access) and means that you miss out on technology’s bigger potential.

2. Treating pull marketing as a tactic
Pull marketing is often placed too far down the marketing process. If it’s not central to your strategy, then it’s a tactic and you loose many of the benefits.

3. No sales force buy-in
Reps are central to pull marketing and it actually removes many of their frustrations. But they need to understand this or they will see it as a threat.

4. No training
Without the right training and regular follow up, people will switch back to push communication because that’s the default setting in the pharma industry.

5. Applying old measurement tools
Technology lets us track the quality of rep visits. If you’re just measuring quantity of calls then you’re probably not doing pull marketing at all.

New technology calls for new thinking

Of these common issues, it’s probably number 1 that is the most common. It’s the classic example of using technology to do what you did before. But we should ask ourselves: “If healthcare professionals are experiencing an adverse reaction to your push marketing, should we increase the dose?”

Technology actually allows us to work in different ways. We now have the ability to engage with healthcare professionals individually, learn their particular needs and then provide relevant and high-value services. That’s pull marketing. And companies that master it will have greater access to medical professionals and enjoy a distinct advantage.