Considering the Context: Push vs. Pull

Video Marketing Push vs Pull

If you want to make a video to promote your company or organization, you need to ask a lot of questions.  What is the concept? What is the budget?  Who is the audience?  What is the core message? How long will it run?  What is the call to action?  All of these are important questions, but the most important may be:  Where will it be seen?

Considering the context of the video is important because it dictates the type of video you are going to create. Context deals with the circumstances including time of viewing, place of viewing, size of the screen, and mindset of the target viewer in question. Will it be embedded on the home page of your website?  Posted on your social media channels?  Played as a pre-roll advertisement? Shared on blogs?  Run on television? Run before the trailers at a movie theater?

If your answer is “all of the above”, you may have a tricky time with optimizing the story to work in all of these contexts.  To simplify, it comes down to push vs. pull.

Push Video Strategy

In marketing, push and pull are terms used to describe how consumers are approached by the brand. In push marketing, the goal is to invade the consumers mind-space, pushing your message to people who wouldn’t otherwise request it.   This is the essence of traditional advertising.  You essentially interrupt the viewer with an ad that gets in the way of what they really want: To watch the show, read the article, or listen to the song.  Here are a few examples of the type of videos used in a push strategy:

  • Television commercials
  • Pre-roll & sponsor advertising on video sites like Youtube.
  • Paid featured video content on social media feeds.
  • Video banner ads posted on websites and blog articles.
  • Digital video billboards on in public spaces and tradeshows

When you are using video with a push marketing strategy, you are challenged with getting the viewers attention, and replacing whatever thought was occupying the viewers mind with something more interesting, funny, or entertaining.

Pull Video Strategy

In pull marketing, you have already gained your customers attention.  The challenge now shifts to giving them what they want.  If a customer is on your website, it usually isn’t by accident.  They are there to research your company, your products or services, and ultimately to get their problems solved.  It may not make sense to place a video of your 30 second ad with call to action to visit your website for more information, they are already on the website.  It’s time to elaborate, educate, compare and tell engaging stories.  Examples of pull video include:

  • Company profile stories (About us)
  • Product walkthroughs and demonstrations
  • Tutorial, training and FAQ videos
  • Recorded conferences and speaking engagements
  • Corporate news and updates

Pull video strategy is not limited to videos on your website. Your Youtube channel or Facebook page may be a great place to post your pull-focused videos.  The people that see these posts are subscribers or fans of your brand, not innocent bystanders you paid to reach.

The Grey Area

If you are lucky, your fans or subscribers might share these videos.  The video content you created to pull one audience is now being pushed on another.  The best thing about this situation is context.  The sharer (your follower), is personally recommending that their followers watch the video. In this case, you are entering the grey area of push vs. pull. These uncharted digital waters include:

  • Viral videos
  • Fan made and crowdsourced videos
  • Customer created product reviews and testimonials
  • Customer un-boxings
  • Customer made tutorials

Producing a video that both entertains and informs is possible, and a great video can cross the line from pull to push seamlessly.  In any case, defining the context of the view and whether you are going for a push vs. a pull strategy will help you plan your video production more effectively.

Contextual Information

Another thing to consider is the information that will accompany the video wherever it is viewed.  If you are trying to decide what information, text, or titles to include in the video itself, do not forget context.  If your video is going to be viewed on a website, social media channel, or video portal, chances are there is a place to add a title and a description.  Most viewers will read a title and at least the first sentence of a description before clicking the play button. If your video is made to be seen as a pre-roll ad or display for instance, there will be no supplementary text, so the video itself will need to contain enough information on screen to stand on its own.

Photo courtesy of Tomislav Medak.