What’s pull marketing anyway?

Posted on May 16, 2012

Fundamentals of pull marketing

There’s a lot of talk about pull communication within pharmaceutical marketing these days. And, as with any new discipline, there’s a fair amount of confusion about what it is and what it isn’t.

So for the sake of clarity, I’d like to explain the basic idea behind pull communication, look at why it’s suddenly become possible, and lastly explain how it can benefit pharmaceutical marketers.

The difference between push and pull

Put bluntly, a push communication is what I want you to know while a pull communication is understanding what you need to know.

So push communication is what I’m doing to you right now — talking at you. I don’t really know what you’re interested in hearing so I’m guessing. It would be much better if I knew what you wanted to hear and then provided it. And that would be pull communication.

Pull marketing is a responsive dialogue. It means engaging with medical professionals on a one-to-one basis and providing the information and services that matter to them.

Technology enables pull marketing

Pull communication wasn’t possible in a paper world. We simply couldn’t keep track of what each physician needed to know. Thousands of doctors, each needing slightly different pieces of information? Forget it! There would be one printed detail aid and that would have to work for everyone. And that’s the way it’s been until information technology advanced enough. Now everything changed.

We already have digital presentation systems that allow doctors to choose which information they are interested in. During a discussion with a company representative, they can actively pull the information they want and don’t have to sit through long presentations to get the bits they need to know.

Technology also allows us to record each healthcare professional’s particular interests as they interact with the systems. So, with pull communication, we can return later to provide more relevant information on a topic that they’ve already expressed interest in. And it continues this way – continually developing a better understanding that powers the provision of high value and very relevant information.


A new relationship with medical professionals

Pull communication, I believe, can help rebuild trust between industry and the medical professionals. By demonstrating an understanding of their individual situation and continually providing relevant and high-value information, we can re-establish the industry’s position as a treatment partner.