Proactive marketing is an approach to marketing that allows businesses to take control of their activities and be more agile.
At its best, proactive marketing means that before you launch any campaign you’re in possession of all the data and information you need to make highly targeted decisions that will bring your business real benefit.
The point of moving your business from reactive to proactive marketing is to reduce or eliminate failed campaigns which are a huge waste of money and time.
All businesses sit somewhere on the scale of reactive to proactive marketing. The trick is to know where you are on this scale. So you can look at implementing strategies that move your marketing towards the proactive end of the scale (which is where the Worry-Free Marketing System comes in).
So how do you know if your marketing is more reactive or proactive?
The difference between reactive marketing and proactive marketing
- You see your competition doing something and copy it immediately
- You regularly change the channels you’re using, especially if performance dips in the short-term
- You make marketing decisions based solely on recent data without wider consideration of external market forces and longer-term trends
- You change your key messages regularly (i.e. more than once a year)
- You create a plan at the start of the year but then when you look back in 6 or 12 months you’ve done something completely different
- You can’t say which marketing activities are the most effective because you haven’t committed to doing them for long enough to gain statistically relevant data
- You’re always trying to add additional marketing activities to what you’re already doing ‘just in case’ those activities don’t work
- You often feel a sense of panic when considering your marketing!
- You have a great understanding of your competition which means you’re able to focus on gaining competitive advantage through your product or service and messaging rather than solely through marketing channels
- You know which channels work best for you so small dips in performance are noted but don’t change your course because you know consistency will pay off in the medium to long-term
- You have a good amount of data available to you which feeds into your marketing planning but is taken under consideration with all the other external and internal factors that may affect your business
- You spend time refining your key messages and stick to them to build your brand and communicate with your customers clearly
- You create a plan at the start of the year, stick to it without being distracted by what your competitors are doing and have processes in place to review it at regular points, which enables you to optimise it as you go
- You are able to say which marketing activities are most and least effective because you’ve committed to them, collected and analysed the data
- Any extra marketing capacity can be put towards more creative and innovative marketing solutions and is low risk because you know you have a solid base of marketing activities that will get you where you need to go
- You feel excited, proud and confident when considering your marketing!
If you’re more towards the proactive end of the scale, congratulations! Stick to this and you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and have fun while doing it! If you can answer ‘yes’ to the question: ‘are you confident enough in your marketing approach that you have enough time to lead your business?’, you are definitely on the proactive end of the scale.
If you’re more towards the reactive end of the scale, there’s work to be done but there are some easy things you can start doing today to move towards proactive marketing.
1. Spend some time understanding your competitors
Competitors are one of the biggest contributors to reactive marketing. Sometimes they strike gold and yes, you absolutely should consider following suit. But wouldn’t it be great if they were following you instead?
Once you understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and who they’re targeting, you can look at their activity and know whether it’s going to work for you or not. Remember, just because they’re doing something new, doesn’t mean it’s actually effective for them or you!
2. Map out the marketing channels you currently use
Channel mapping is a really useful exercise to give you a good picture of where you’re promoting your product or service. It’s surprising how many businesses don’t actually have the full picture of where they’re present and what they’re saying there.
By getting the full picture, you’re in a better position to create an effective marketing plan. The first question to ask is: do your promotional channels match the places your audience is spending time? If not, it’s time to rethink your channel strategy.
3. Keep on top of external market forces
It’s easy to become so absorbed and focused on internal factors within your business and assume you have full control over the impact of all your marketing. But more than ever, we can’t ignore external market forces. You need to be aware of external factors specific to your sector or industry as well as bigger external factors that affect everyone – the pandemic is a great example of this.
Think about political, economic, sociological, technical, legal and environmental factors that could affect your business and your customers. You can then adapt your marketing approach to mitigate any detrimental factors as much as possible and capitalise on any opportunities.
4. Agree your key marketing messages
As well as knowing about where to share your key marketing messages, you need to know what they are. Sounds silly, right? You know exactly what you want to say to the world. But double-check that you do know what you’re actually sharing with customers and that it’s consistent across your channels.
It’s also worth checking that your employees are also aware of your key messages and are sharing the same information with customers. It’s good practice to create a messaging document for yourself and for your employees to refer to so everyone understands exactly what you want to say about your business. It doesn’t have to be long and it’s a good idea to only pick 3-5 key messages that clearly communicate what your business, product or service is all about and stick to them.
5. Commit to your marketing plan
It can be hard to create a marketing plan, but even harder to follow it through. Take the time to create a plan and then use it as your complete guide to marketing. When you created the plan, you should have chosen specific marketing activities for a reason so give them chance to work for you.
It usually takes a while to build up momentum so if you change course after a month you’ll have no idea if it’s a good marketing activity for you or not.
6. Collect and analyse the data
Following on from the point above, once you commit to your marketing plan, you’ll be in a better place to start collecting the data and analysing it to refine your marketing approach. As I mentioned above, the data isn’t everything and if you fall into the trap of basing your decisions solely on data you’ll tip back towards the reactive marketing end of the scale.
But it is critical to use data to inform your marketing decisions alongside other information you have about your competitors, external market forces and audience insights. By combining all of this information, you’ll gain a huge amount of clarity about your marketing activities and will really start to gain a lot of confidence.
7. Be confident in your marketing approach
Finally, be confident! If you’ve followed all the steps above, you know your competitors, where your audience is, external market forces that will influence buying decisions, your key marketing messages, a consistently implemented marketing plan and a good data set, you have nothing to fear from your marketing approach.
There will always be an element of marketing that has to be reactive because no-one can predict the future. But it’s a lot easier to react when you have a solid foundation in place. Adopting a proactive marketing strategy can significantly help you weather the storms in your business and help you become a market leader in your sector.
We’re Freshbat – a strategic communications agency providing integrated marketing services to business leaders who embrace change and value marketing in a proactive and trustworthy environment.
Our goal is to give you more headspace, help you to make stuff happen and build better relationships by taking a fresh approach to marketing. We know you’re the kind of person who wants to be considered an inspiring and empowering leader for your business.
In order to be that way, you need to be in control of your marketing. The problem is you feel your marketing isn’t good enough, which in turn makes you feel confused and frustrated that you don’t have the resources, creativity or expertise to solve the issue.
We believe it’s just plain wrong that business leaders are tasked with keeping up with the rapidly changing marketing landscape on their own. That’s why we provide integrated marketing solutions through our worry-free marketing process.
Here’s how it works: we have an initial call to find out the things holding you back, we then create a bespoke strategy to reach your ideal clients and finally we implement your marketing plan for you so you can worry less and achieve more. We create tailored and integrated marketing solutions that bring order, strategy and results while having fun in the process (yes, it’s possible!).
Our core services include: 📈 Content marketing strategy 📱 Social media management 📧 Email marketing 👩💻 Blogging and web content
Contact us to see how we can help you take a fresh approach to marketing. Email email@example.com to book your discovery call 📧