I read a great article recently by my friend Ford Harding and Robert Buday on getting the balance right between “pull marketing” (in particular using thought leadership to attract clients) and “push marketing” (direct outreach strategies like telesales or direct mail).
You can read the article here:
I actually worked at one of the firms mentioned in the articles and watched the rise and fall they mention first hand.
Their point is that you need avoid becoming over-reliant on either push or pull strategies. If everything is pure push – you can be overwhelmed by a competitor who catches the zeitgeist with a compelling new piece of thought leadership (re-engineering, for example in the 90s).
If you focus only on pull strategies via thought leadership, you can end up in trouble if the ideas run dry, or don't hit a hot button with enough potential clients.
So balancing push and pull makes sense.
The other area I find it's important to balance is breadth and depth.
High breadth marketing approaches like doing large scale presentations, sending direct mail our advertising are great in that they expose you to a large new audience.
But they don't make a lot of impact on each individual.
High depth marketing approaches like referrals or small seminars make a high impact on each individual you contact because you're interacting face to face.
But you don't hit many of them. And they tend to be better at converting existing contacts rather than bringing new people into your contact base.
So I typically advise using a balance of high breadth and high depth approaches.
Use direct mail, webinars, your website to make initial contact with new potential clients and make a good first impression (preferably with a “value in advance strategy”).
Use referrals and small scale seminars to make a big impression on people who've already entered your contact base – or who you're connected to via someone they trust.
That way you're constantly refreshing your contact base with the high breadth methods – while pushing people you're already close to towards becoming clients with the high depth approaches.
Like many things in life, balance is the key.
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