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Marshall McLuhan in 1963Erik Christensen/The Globe and Mail

Marshall McLuhan had it wrong, according to advertising wizard Roy H. Williams. The medium is not the message. In fact, the message is the message.

Thirty years after the death of Mr. McLuhan, one of the hottest notions around is the concept of push and pull in marketing. Some media are considered better for pushing a message out to recipients, while others are considered better for pulling in consumers and grabbing their attention and involvement.

In his Monday Morning Memo, he stresses that push or pull can be used online - or in traditional media. "Advertisers using a pull strategy in traditional media are seeing this new style of advertising work extremely well," he writes. And pull is where he argues you should be headed. If you just push out messages, soon you'll learn nobody is listening. But pull pushes you into considering relevance, positive attraction, connection, relationship and credibility. You'll learn you can't create an ad that relates to your customer and seems credible to them until you understand their wants, needs, hungers, fears and anxieties. "It's not about you. It's about them. How will your product or service change their condition? Tell them," he concludes.

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