Most marketers, I hope, are familiar with traditional push-pull strategies.  But, me being me, I don’t like to assume things–we all know what happens when you do that.

If you’re unfamiliar with push and pull marketing, here’s the gist of it:

  • Push marketing aggressively seeks out the consumer, often incentivizing them with discounts and special offerings.  This strategy touts, or pushes, these deals to customers so they’ll buy.
  • Pull marketing generates brand awareness, essentially pulling the customer in because they want to learn more.

Not clear enough? Let’s look at some examples.

Traditional Push Example

Anything that urges you to strike while the iron is hot or claims to offer an unbeatable deal is typically a push strategy.  Think “limited time hotel deals” and the “McDonald’s Dollar Menu.”

Traditional Pull Example

Unlike push strategies which tend to be rather blunt, pull strategies are much more subtle.  They don’t simply use low prices to market their product.  They aim to build brand awareness.  Think Apple and Red Bull.

Apple rarely pushes their products onto their customers via special offers.  Innovative advertising and word-of-mouth pulls customers in.  Red Bull, which also uses innovative advertising, uses sponsorships–X Games, Formula 1, etc.– as well to rope people in.

While some companies lean heavily on the push and some heavily on the pull, most companies try to strike a balance between the two.  After all, it’s tough to generate awareness without putting your name out there.

Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about traditional marketing.  How does this tie into what you’re really here to learn about, online marketing?

A New Push-Pull Strategy for Online Marketing

Make no mistake about it–online marketing is still marketing.  All the general principles still apply.  And with Panda, Penguin, and any future cuddly updates, online marketers are being forced to get back to basics.

That being said, the Internet is a relatively new medium for marketers.  With social networks popping up left and right, the people, the customers, are out there. We’re no longer marketing to “Internet users.”  We’re marketing to people with faces, with online profiles full of information.

With those customers at our finger tips, it puts marketers in a unique position.  They have the ability to push products (*cough* spamming *cough*) but they also have the ability to study their customers and develop ways to pull them in.

Websites and blogs are pull strategies.  By fine-tuning them with on-site search engine optimization tactics, we’re improving that pull strategy.  Your website and your blog are your brand and you need to build that.  Even your company’s social media profiles, which may seem like push strategies on the surface, can in fact be pull strategies.  If used properly, they build brand awareness.

That brings me to content marketing, currently the industry’s biggest buzzword.  Companies are now their own publishers.  They create what they believe to be useful content for their customers and publish it on the web.  However, with customers so close to us on social media networks, it’s easy to push when we mean to be pulling–just think of all those “social profiles” who simply pump out articles and blogs without any real commentary.

In the end, you’re likely to see more long-term success through pull marketing online.  Of course, like I said before, though, some push is needed to help you get off the ground.  For example, an e-mail campaign, which can be effective if done correctly and sparingly, is a push strategy that I encourage you to employ.  You can also push certain offers through your social media profiles as long as that’s not all you’re using it for.

Marketing certainly isn’t anything new.  The Internet and how it’s used today is though.  That means we need to adapt our traditional strategies for the web while maintaining a healthy balance between pushing and pulling.

 

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ (AUG. 21, 2012) – Inc. magazine today ranked WebiMax No. 37 on its 31st annual Inc. 500, an exclusive ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.  In addition, WebiMax is the highest ranked New Jersey-based private organization on this list.

Kenneth Wisnefski, founder and CEO WebiMax, a leading online marketing firm founded in 2008, announced “in our first year of eligibility for the Inc. 500, WebiMax is pleased to be included in this famed list and be placed amongst the nation’s top tier of private organizations experiencing explosive growth.”

The 2012 Inc. 500, unveiled in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 21 to November 15 and on Inc.com), is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. To make the cut, companies had to be founded in 2008, and have achieved a staggering minimum of 770% in sales growth. The Inc. 500’s aggregate revenue is $15.7 billion, with a median three-year growth of 1,431 percent. The companies on this year’s Inc. 500 employ more than 48,000 people and generated over 40,000 jobs in the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 500|5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at http://www.inc.com/500.

“WebiMax is one of the fastest growing private companies not just in the United States, but also in our industry,” states Wisnefski.  “Our commitment to delivering high quality and innovative online marketing services to more than 800 clients worldwide has earned us this distinction and I thank the individuals at Inc. magazine for this representation.”

Methodology

The 2012 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2008 to 2011. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2008. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2011.  The minimum revenue required for 2008 is $100,000; the minimum for 2011 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at www.inc.com/500.

About Inc.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.  Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today.  For more information, visit http://www.inc.com/500.

About WebiMax.

Led by serial web entrepreneur Kenneth Wisnefski, WebiMax has become the leader in online marketing services, including a focus on Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Paid Search and PPC, Website Design and Development, Reputation Management, and more. The company was named to the 2012 Inc. 500 (No. 37 overall) and was also selected as one of America’s Most Promising Companies (2011) by Forbes Magazine (No. 30 overall).  The company employs over 100 personnel in 12 offices including 8 U.S. based, and 4 International. Visit http://www.webimax.com/ for more information.

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ – Kenneth Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, the leading search engine optimization firm, announced an impressive first-half of 2012, and further indicated that “WebiMax is strengthening its processes and strategically revitalizing our products to better serve clients and continue to gain precious market share in the online marketing sector.”

According to a research study conducted by eMarketer, online advertising spending will surpass print advertising for the first time in 2012, and is projected to reach $40 billion.  Furthermore, online advertising spending is expected to reach $62 billion by 2016.

Wisnefski announced “2012 is a pivotal year for online marketers because advertisers have had some time to digest the results of other online marketing initiatives they have seen, and are starting to understand its real impact on brand visibility, and ultimately their revenue.”

WebiMax is certainly feeling the impact of a growing industry as evidenced by their success in the first half of 2012.  Revenue is up more than 5,600 percent from 2008, and the company is strengthening its balance sheet and income statement in order to further expand operations and continue to reinvest in the company including key areas of personnel and technology / innovation.  In addition, the company is on-pace to surpass 2011 revenues by a projected 150 percent.

In June, WebiMax announced the addition of Bill Slawski.  Slawski is the owner and operator of SEO by the Sea, a leading online resource for industry news, announcements, and statistics.  Mr. Slawski covers Google, Inc. and other related industry movers.  In addition, he successfully predicted the launch of Google Plus, a social networking site launched by Google in November of 2011.

In a recent company email, Wisnefski announced “Ultimately, in today’s ever competitive global market, it is very easy for businesses to fail from poor performance.  Fortunately, WebiMax has been able to leverage a growing industry and refine our processes with the changes to the global market to compete with larger and well-funded organizations. The second half of 2012 looks promising for WebiMax, as the company continues to reinvest in their core products and services and personnel.  In addition, the company has experience a 200 percent increase in new client acquisition in 2012.

About WebiMax:

Led by serial web entrepreneur Kenneth Wisnefski, WebiMax has become the leader in online marketing services, including a focus on Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Paid Search and PPC, Website Design and Development, Reputation Management, and more. The company was selected as one of America’s Most Promising Companies (2011) by Forbes Magazine and recently awarded one of Philadelphia’s Fastest Growing Companies (2012 and 2011) by the Philadelphia Business Journal.  WebiMax employs over 100 personnel in 12 offices including 8 U.S. based, and 4 International. Visit http://www.webimax.com/ for more information.

 

How many of you out there read on a regular basis?  In prior generations, the ‘newspaper’ was what most citizens could consider ‘objective’ information.  Today, some ‘news’ has changed (oh boy).

Yesterday, the pungent taste of news became more apparent.  While enjoying some local festivities, I had a chance to speak with some citizens about their interaction with news sources.

Paid?/Organic?
It’s easy to assume something offered by a major company is intellectually credible and not commercially infused.  Many people are astonished at the notion of SEO, of optimizing particular information, pushing it toward the ‘top slot’ of offered results.

One particularly bright young lady asked me about the difference in paid and organic listings.  I explained a brand could pay a search engine to list its results, and they are labeled and treated as ads.

She then began questioning me about organic listings.  I explained how my work, in part, is devoted toward helping brands get ‘ranked’ higher on particular engines, namely Google, the most popular one to date.

“So though you have the talent to write, how do you decide who you ‘help’?”

“Well, I get assigned work, so…”

“So, brands pay your agency to eventually rank?”

“Er, kind of, yes…”

I went on to explain my line of work and that of other online marketers in more detail.  But, her immediate grasp got me thinking.  Consumers do need to be hesitant about what Google or any search engine serves up.  They need to apprehend that information with a grain of salt.

The industry experienced a few tremors from the release of Panda and Penguin.  More friends are sure to follow.  The ‘need’ to release such ‘fixer-upper’ updates is an insult to the informational integrity of the Web.  Google felt like its open information source was looking more like a neglected pile of ‘junk mail’ accumulated from years of ongoing abuse.

 

Old News as New Business
Another modern-day informational concept came to my attention yesterday.  I read an article in the New York Times about the purchase of a San Diegan newspaper, the U-T San Diego.  The paper was recently bought by a local developer and hotelier.

What the Times reporter, David Carr, points out is probably on the minds of those who know a little about the new owner, as well as on the minds of more people since reading the article…the new owner has agendas, and just might use a source of ‘objective’ information to support them.

Immediately the new owner is known for being against ‘big’ government, taxes, and gay marriage.  Additionally, he wants a new football stadium in the city.  While the new owner offers lip service, ["We totally respect the journalistic integrity of our paper and there is a clear line of demarcation between our editorials and our news"] some are wary of this future intentions and use of the U-T to pursue them.

In one incident, a standing U-T sports columnist was opposed to running ‘charged’ stories related to convincing readers of the need for the new stadium.  Tim Sullivan was soon dismissed from his position.  However, recently the owner has voiced Sullivan’s lot has to do with multimedia integration and not his position on stadium politics.  As Carr reports, Sullivan’s Facebook status now reads as “on vacation,” his time with the U-T may not be done afterall.

It’s no new news that old newspaper brands are struggling to keep up with the popularity of online behavior.  However, is the new business of the news more like the above search engine dichotomy and less like the old “news”?

These days, what really constitutes organic, objectified news?

 

He did everything he was supposed to.  He sacrificed his free time to study.  He was in band, SGA, and helped at a local convalescent home.  He got rave reviews from several teachers and the principal of the high school.  But, it wasn’t enough.  A former student of mine didn’t get into his ‘A-list’ school.  He got denied, despite paying close attention to the ‘algorithms’ of the situation.

What happened?  Why, though he had it down to a ‘science,’ did my former student get denied?  I don’t know the answer.  He never found out either.  But you know what?  It is six years later; the dude’s in medical school now.  Failed algorithmic realities couldn’t outrank his fervor to make his own future.

Today, I read an article in the New York Times about the future of robo-grading.  I know some former peers are cheering.  They’re likely the same teachers who didn’t like skimming student papers for writing or logical elements.  “That’s for the English teacher!” is a far-too-oft philosophy of some.

I get a quasi-upset stomach in thinking of standardized testing as well; but, we need to judge the kids on something.  We must rank them somehow…just like your brand’s Web pages.  Google has built an algorithm, which subjectively objectively judges your page and domain worth… just like some sort of system was weighed upon my former student’s future.

“Oh come on, Anthony.  We need some sort of system to ‘make sense of things.’”  Yes, we do.  Does more standardized thinking make sense in valuing the information of others?  Google thinks so; and, so does particular academics, who champion the notion of statistic wizards hammering out a computer system that can grade papers ‘just like’ humans.

Recently, a competition took place, asking programmers to engineer a system which would predict the scores of human graders.  As mentioned in the article, the system’s predictions were very close to the human notions of graders.  There’s another competition on its way, one that will predict who, based on historical claims data, will be admitted to hospitals in the following year.

The computerized system may become a force within educational circles and districts.  Some of the notions seem viable.  The computerized system would save teacher time, mark papers, and offer additional assignments…because students are more likely to learn from computerized markings than human ones, correct?

So, this computerized system, is it any different than attempting to learn from particular textbooks, which house graded examples, answers to questions in the back, etc?  Why even host a teacher in classrooms altogether?  Do you need a marketer?  Just adhere to Google’s Webmaster guidelines…  I mean, the guidelines are written to satisfy an algorithm and not the human spirit, but…

Aren’t teachers, in part, supposed to ‘market’ the learning of their subject matter?  Wasn’t a part of my job to be an inspiration, a model, a facilitator of learning?  Did that human element contribute to the knowledge ascertained?  I would like to think so.

But, just like Google, perhaps the ‘system’ thinks it is more convenient to create algorithms to judge people and their performance, to make them rank a particular way.  Perhaps this way we can teach kids to write the ‘Penguin’ or ‘Panda’ way.

That’s what I want young people to learn, that they are only as good as the algorithm allows them to be, that their human fervor, the human spirit, can be called out like a robotically-demented Babe Ruth; but, this Babe doesn’t have time to sign any baseballs, visit sick kids in hospitals, or shake the hands of young fans.  This one is just about the ‘facts’ of the matter.

That’s how you would like your marketing progress to go as well, correct?  Never mind your consumers and the people element of marketing; an algorithm has your best interests, your best future in mind.  But in case that gives you a quasi-upset feeling, there are a few marketers who don’t mind staying ‘after school’ to help explain things to you in human terms…

 

 

I just read a story in the New York Times related to Jiffy Lube and it’s recently changed and newly-lubed marketing approach.  The oil-change brand is infusing some humor into its ads and fresh-penned tagline, “Leave worry behind.”

Ha ha, I get it, Jiffy Lube; you’re poking fun at consumer anxieties.  Good one!  I chose to write about this because the topic is fresh in my mind.  About three months ago, I brought my Jeep Wrangler  in for an oil change at a local mechanic shop.  I moved to a new area about four months ago.

When I picked up my car after the oil change, something I’ve come to almost expect (sarcastically) confronted me.  “You got a leak.  You’ll need a new water pump.”  Admittedly, I can wrap my head around ‘water’ and ‘pump’; but, I have no idea what a “water pump” does, costs, looks like, how to assess if it’s damaged, etc…

It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.  Is this mechanic taking me for a ride, especially since I’m a ‘noob,’ a new person in town?  Maybe it is paranoia, maybe it is experience, but I can’t help but ask the question…

The mechanic mentioned the job would tally over $300.  I’m just a poor writer.  I opted to let it go for a while and get other recommendations.  Two days ago, I brought my Jeep to another mechanic, my landlord’s (who is also my friend) friend.  I told him I needed another oil change and told him about the leak.

For one, he advised me that shops, that solely do minor jobs like oil changes, can ‘beat him out’ on the price of oil changes.  He charges $80.  A “jiffy” place may charge half that or a little more; they get price breaks on oil apparently.  I like having money…but I also like doing business with honest people…  I may shell out the additional $30 to $40 just because this guy was honest.

Additionally, he looked at my ‘leak.’  He did mention a slow leak but nothing I should be immediately concerned about.  I thought that was odd since the first mechanic, from three months ago, mentioned there was “no way” I could let that water pump go for another month (“at the very latest!”)  Hmm…seems two ‘experts’ have a difference in opinion, yes?

Well, let me bring it all in together.  So, Jiffy’s new ad series will poke fun at situations like mine.  From NY Times story:

“Because most people are not proficient in the mechanics of a car, they’re worried when they bring their car in for something that a mechanic will find something different that they weren’t aware of.  There’s always that uncertainty: ‘Is the work being performed on my car really necessary?’”

How many out there, receiving some form of online marketing or SEO advice or services, feel the same way?  I feel your anxiety!  However, I’m not sure if I would lampoon your anxiety to promote online marketing services.

Ethically questionable or unscrupulous practices are not a laughing matter in my world.  I don’t think making light-hearted attempts to express a dark side of an industry is a way to assuage the anxieties of unknowing consumers.  It would be comparable to an SEO company attempting humor at simulating situations of ‘burned’ clients, while simultaneously trying to attract clients with the same needs.

Alternatively, if I’m a brand that recognizes injustices, I may engineer my ads to express an upstanding personality, like the one of the second mechanic, rather than possibly add to the insult of my industry through humor.  What are your thoughts?