When marketing to new customers, are you a hunter or a trapper?

Posted by Bruce McMeekin

archer-1432557-640x480In your organization's marketing efforts, are you a hunter or a trapper? Most likely you are both. The bottom line is that the outcome is the same. Understanding the differences and how your organization approaches new business is critical and can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving. And, in today’s competitive climate, there is no room for barely surviving.

So as you begin to evaluate where your company is in the sales and marketing process, it is important to understand the internal marketing philosophy. Does it lean towards inbound marketing - which is about pulling customers in, ie. trapping - or are they interested in going out and pushing the marketing message to the prospect no matter if they are ready or not, ie. hunting? Both are necessary and having a deeper understanding of both and maintaining the right balance is critical.

A useful way to illustrate the difference between pull and push is to compare catching prey (your prospects) with a trap versus hunting with a targeted weapon like a rifle or bow.  The trap represents the pull marketing concept.  The prey has to find the trap (you and your message/content), be interested in the bait (your content), and choose to enter the trap at their own peril (your landing or registration page).  As you can see, you don’t have a lot of control.  Your prospects must find you, the bait must be very attractive, and responders need to make a conscious choice to engage. 

In contrast, push marketing more closely resembles hunting with a bow or rifle.  It’s on your terms.  You track the prey, choose the time in which to engage, and deliver a highly-targeted message/content “projectile” that “catches” the prey.  At best, this is probably a crude example, but it’s fairly effective at making the point. 

It’s not only helpful to understand your company's approach and strategy, but it’s helpful to understand the talent and skills of the people on the team. Many marketers fall into the trapper mentality. This is a necessary skill and is helpful in building a pipeline of qualified prospects. Many sales people consider themselves hunters. But with the new buyer reality today, where the buyer controls the sales cycle and is 70-80% through the buying process before they engage with sales, the trapper mentality is not a bad set of skills to have. Sales people should be helping the customer buy vs selling the customer what they think the customer is looking for.

When it comes to marketing efforts you must account for all facets of these approaches and be able to support the customers and your sales organization. So it is important to understand - are you going to wait for prospects to find you?  Or are you going to proactively and consciously target them?  The choice is yours.  However, I’d suggest a balance between both pull (Inbound) and push (Outbound).

Learn more about how you can balance your inbound and outbound marketing efforts to acheive maximum results by downloading our guide, Balancing Inbound and Outbound Strategies: Effective Integrated Marketing in Action


Topics: Direct Marketing