Two Ways to Open Doors

These two words open more doors than any other.

1) To exert force on someone or something (typically with one’s hand) in order to move away from oneself
2) To exert oneself to attain something or surpass others

It is easier to open with a PUSH. Simply extend your arm in something similar to a Heisman pose; and you will make it through with ease. Hands full? Back into the door and spin as you walk through the doorway without loosing a step. We simply expect the door to open for us and everything else to get out of our way.

This seems to come naturally or intuitively with physical doors. It also applies for the mental and emotional doors that we attempt to open with our marketing and sales messages.

We describe an overzealous or outwardly determined sales representative as being ‘pushy’ and often attempt to resist their tactics. The same applies to the ‘push’ marketing of paid media – TV programs, video streams, news articles, leisurely strolls, etc. are interrupted in order for someone to push a commercial message upon us. Hundreds of thousands of commercial messages are pushed upon us every day.

The good news for us is that our brains are extremely good at ignoring such messages. The bad thing for us is that marketers find increasingly more ways to push onto us every day.

The good news for marketers is that there are more and more options every day to push messages to broader audiences. The bad news is that most of these are very inefficient at actually connecting with an audience.


1) To exert force on someone or something (typically with one’s hand) in order to move towards oneself
2) To cause someone to buy or show interest in something – to attract

When we PULL a door open, something altogether different happens. We must stop for a moment, grasp the handle, move out of the way, and exert force towards us. If our hands are full, we must awkwardly put down our things, or rely on someone else to help us.

The beauty is that through the ‘pull’ process, we are exposed, vulnerable, and often left relying on the humanity of others.

Just like it works with doors, a pull strategy with marketing is about inviting people into our conversations. The crucial difference is that these are lead by the interests of (potential) customers. So we must make sure that we are interesting to them and invite them to engage.

It shouldn’t be surprising that pull strategies coincide more closely with the way people actually make purchasing decisions (for themselves or for business). Today, nearly 80% of the purchasing process happens before buyers make contact with would-be sellers. Our vendor research is often focused on things like peer reviews and social context.

  • How many 5-star ratings does this vendor have?
  • What is their reputation for quality, speed, service, delivery, etc?
  • How do they treat their employees, environment, community, etc?
  • Do their products/services actually do what they claim?

Content, inbound, social, engagement, and advocate are all terms that have been used to describe or illustrate various aspects of ‘pull’ marketing techniques.

Regardless of which techniques you choose, it is crucial that your messages and invitations are authentic, genuine, and fully integrated in the culture of the company. Not doing so increases the risk being perceived as manipulative.

About David Frick
David brings a holistic approach to business growth that unites advertising, marketing, sales with aspects of leadership and operations. As the founder of SuccessVentures, he is driven to help build people, build value, and build business