When you’re talking about a wheelbarrow or a golf cart, it’s easier to push than to pull. Maybe this is why all brand innovators feel like they need to create products and push them out to customers. But push isn’t for everyone. Push is only easier than pull when there are a number of factors on your side, like torque, momentum, and an appropriate centre of gravity. Torque and momentum are the reasons why Apple can sell products to customers who were still more than satisfied with their current version – torque being the ability to turn around new product ideas quickly, and momentum coming from their strong brand and loyal following.
Imagine that suddenly you and your wheelbarrow come to a steep hill (a market with lots of satisfactory, maybe even excellent, options). Suddenly, “pull” gains an advantage. If there are a host of customers at the top of the hill, who want the exact solution you’re carrying in your wheelbarrow, they’ll pull you to the top. Your pushing will still be required, but not nearly as important as simply steering the wheelbarrow and delivering what the customers want or need.
Push can get you somewhere, with something, but if you haven’t already achieved significant bench strength, you can make your life a whole lot easier using a pull strategy. A few simple steps:
- Pay careful attention to customers until the gap between what they have and what they want (or need) becomes obvious.
- Create a solution (don’t ask them to do it for themselves).
- Let them know that your innovation is ready (and what the problem is that it’s designed to solve).
- Stand back and steer while they pull you to the top of the hill, and
- If you’ve done it right, hang on! It might be hard to control that wheelbarrow.
Megann and Steve
PS, if you’re still thinking about a Push strategy, remember it’s a lot easier to wheel an empty barrow back down the hill after a successful delivery, than to try and make your way back to your starting point with a barrow full of useless stumps.