Reactive and Proactive Marketing (Definition and Differences)

Reactive and Proactive Marketing

Reactive and Proactive marketing holds major significance in marketing decision making. Reactive marketing is one that takes action after happening of events whereas proactive marketing is one that takes action prior to the events happening.

What is Reactive Marketing?

Reactive marketing is one of the widely used marketing concepts that assume the employment of tactics when opportunities and challenges arise. It believes the forces or factors of the marketing environment are unpredictable and uncontrollable in nature.

For example, a stronger consumer health movement can particularly affect the sales and profit of the company that produces noodles with MSG. As adopting reactive marketing company may need to eliminate MSG. Mayos once was temporarily banned for containing MSG. It then reacted with an advertising campaign claiming the noodles had no added MSG.

Reactive marketing has somehow no predetermined marketing plans i.e. adjustments happens only after a change in the marketing environment. Basically, it takes place because of the competition that is unforeseen.

As reactive marketing does not take prior actions, it might give a fewer amount of profit than proactive marketing however it gives bearable risks than proactive marketing.

The salient features of reactive marketing are ass follows:

  • No written marketing plan or strategy.
  • Referrals occur whenever the customers decide to call.
  • Marketing is inconsistent and weak.
  • it depends on bottom-of-the-barrel approaches, such as Groupon.
  • When marketing is done, it is usually a, “Let’s try this latest fad.”
  • The attitude towards marketing is exasperation, rolled eyes, and resentment.

What is Proactive Marketing?

Proactive marketing is an approach that has predetermined plans for marketing activities. It develops the original campaigns, means avoids the other businesses’ practice.

Proactive marketing emphasizes the marketers to be creative, think before customers about the products and services that they are going to seek. It forces marketers to be real-time, data-driven, and adaptable to this everchanging marketing environment.

Although the components of the marketing environment are uncontrollable and unpredictable, proactive marketing believes that can be influenced by proper planning. It involves the implementation of prepared strategies. It requires a lot more work the result is much better than other forms of marketing.

As proactive marketing is involved in taking prior and different actions, it is expensive than reactive marketing, however, it brings greater profitability than reactive marketing if a planned strategy is successfully implemented.

Features of proactive marketing are:

  • Creating a written marketing plan, based on homework, analysis, and research.
  • It is viewed and treated as a manageable business process.
  • It is not done based on desperation, but only with time-honored methods.
  • Referrals are regularly generated through incentive programs, social media, and means.

Implications of Reactive and Proactive Marketing

Reactive marketing is a risky proposition. Moreover a there is that risk of taking too much time to respond to a change in the business environment. Sometimes it may result in loss of market share due to a competitor already in the process of implementing the strategy that was being planned by the company. The company may have to shut down some of its business lines due to the inability to adjust to changes in market behavior or a breakthrough in technology leading to the current technology capabilities becoming obsolete.

On the contrary, proactive companies following stringent procedures, having a strong research capability, a strategic planning system in place, proper business intelligence tools to help make key decisions, and employing specialists. For example, marketing coordinators and analysts to predict changes in customers patterns and the environment have a competitive edge over their competitors.

To summarize, a reactive company responds after the event has taken place with no preparation or anticipation of such things. A proactive company on the other hand foresees these changes and has the action plans ready to face them. Companies adopting proactive marketing are well prepared and have information from various sources, to counter a variance in the business environment. Companies adopting proactive market approaches hence are more successful than the reactive approach.

Different Between Reactive and Proactive Business Strategies

Reactive Business StrategyProactive Business Strategy
A reactive strategy waits for a crisis to
happen and then reacts. For instance,
if sales decline, the response maybe
to invest in promotions or to clear
remaining inventory ahead of a new
product launch.
Proactive business strategies are used
to achieve predetermined goals.
For instance, a proactive marketing strategy
carries out research, development, and
promotional objectives for the business.

Companies outline message and media
strategies within the marketing plan.
Companies that want to shift gears or
move ahead of an environmental change
uses proactive strategies. For instance,
some companies proactively cut budgets
ahead of anticipated slowdowns in demand.
Reactive strategies usually are more
conservative because you wait for
external influences before taking action.
Proactive strategies typically develop from
a company’s analysis of internal strengths
and external opportunities and threats.
Companies that rely too much on reactive
strategies may miss new or emerging
business opportunities. In extreme cases,
companies react too slowly to industry
or market evolution and succumb to
more aggressive competitors with
advanced offerings.
Though risky, proactively leveraging your
strengths and moving ahead of threats is
often crucial to stay ahead of competitors
and maintain long-term stability and growth.
Reactive marketing is often done as
a response to your competitor’s actions.
In some cases, you imitate your opponent’s
strategy and create a more appealing
marketing strategy to get customer’s
The proactive strategy uses new ideas as
a response to your customer’s needs or
demands and less responsive to your competitors.
You market your products or services
before a customer asks for them.

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