Imagine a spectrum. On one end are products in mature categories, products for which the need is readily apparent and recognized by your target audience. On the other are products in more nascent categories, products for which the need may not be so apparent — i.e. prospects may not even recognize the relevant issue or “pain”.
Where is your company on this spectrum? Is your marketing challenge simply being in the right place at the right time, available for prospects already shopping for your type of solution? Or do you need to create the need, and the awareness that your type of solution exists in the first place?
Where you are on this spectrum, between what we might call “evangelist” and “order-taker”, can help guide you as to the types of demand generation programs that are likely to be most effective. Evangelists need to invest more in push programs such as e-mail and direct mail, broadcasting their message to a targeted audience. Order takers can rely more on pull programs such as SEM, content syndication, and online advertising. Their challenge is creating a sufficient presence online (and perhaps in print) so that prospects actively researching their particular category find and engage with them before the competition.
Keep in mind, “push or pull” is not strictly an either/or proposition. The ideal solution for almost any company is typically a blend of the two.