Pull Don’t Push

by | Sep 2, 2011 | Digital

Draw your audience in…
Instead of pushing your message out

From the beginning of mass communications as a discipline, the model has looked something like this:

This is the foundation of modern marketing, albeit with another arrow that has profit written on it.

So what’s wrong with that?  Well, nothing.  Except that the receiver constantly has arrows flying at them from every direction. Think of all the methods that you personally use to dodge those little arrows; DVRs, spam filters, RSS feeds, and just plain averting your eyes.

If you resist every arrow that you can, then why would you expect them to be positively received by your audience?

The secret of making great popcorn is knowing when to quit ~ Mark Dreistadt.

You need to understand when enough is enough and more pushing produces diminishing returns.

Now don’t get me wrong, from an academic standpoint the model works just as well as it ever did.  But one thing that Dr. Wilbur Schramm, the father of communications studies, did not account for in the model was the receiver developing an iron-willed resistance to the message.

And when the idea was applied to limitless direct marketing campaigns, this condition became an epidemic. Now marketers are trying everything they can to innovatively solve the problem with the same tactics that they used to create the problem.

Social Media
Social media, as we know it, is still relatively new as a field, less than twenty years old. The beauty of this emerging medium is its inherent ability to transcend the traditional model. Think about it… Social media is appealing; it is engaging; there is something fun about it. It’s interactive.

People engage because they want to engage. They go where they enjoy being. They feed on content that’s valuable to them.

When used effectively, social media draws people to the message and to the sender because they receive more than a marketing message. They receive relationship, community, information, answers, laughter, and news instead of pressure to buy.

The New Model
In order to make this new model work, social media communication must provide value to the user. This means your organization needs to provide things online that are truly valuable.

However, social networking isn’t just a handout-based relationship. Rather, it’s more of a leader and follower type of arrangement. You lead, and if people are interested in your direction, then they follow. Just be sure you provide the kind of leadership people will want to follow.

George Konetes