Participatory Marketing – Pull Marketing’s New Push

For more than 50 years, push marketing ruled the industry. But as the internet, new technology and communication channels emerged, so did a new paradigm that included asking and gaining permission in the hopes of growing truly one-to-one dialogues and improving marketing efficiency.

Now, with the emergence of the social internet — where consumers are more efficient self-organizers, hyperconnectors, and expert recommenders of products and services -— more emphasis is being placed on peer interactions. I call this new era of marketing participatory marketing.

To date, more than 1 million visitors to have viewed the “I’m In” video, and more than 1.25 million hours of community service have been pledged

Additionally, the program received national recognition from powerful influencers, including Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Winfrey, for example, mentioned it on her popular television show.

The “I’m In” program is an example of how marketers who think outside of the box and add a little participation sweetener to their efforts can not only build a brand, but help change the world.

Michael Della Penna is co-founder and executive chairman of The Participatory Marketing Network, a New York City-based industry association dedicated to helping marketers transition from push and permission marketing to participatory marketing. He’s also the founder and CEO of Conversa Marketing, a firm that helps brands build social and email marketing programs. Reach Michael at

Publish date: October 1, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT