The Proactive Marketing

Reactive marketing is marketing undertaken in response to the actions of a competitor. Many reactive marketing campaigns are forms of imitation, functioning as variations on a similar campaign. For example, if a company decided to advertise a product using a sports star, a competing company using a reactive marketing campaign might hire another celebrity. Similarly, if a company advertises new, lower prices, a reactive marketing campaign for another company might trumpet its new, even lower prices.

The proactive approach of performing a dedicated analysis for a product’s performance across the customer lifecycle, serves as an invaluable way to zoom out and identify trends in larger sets of data than the information that the field surfaces through the reactive approach.

Ranging from quantitative to qualitative, large sets of data within organizations offer product marketers the opportunity to do deep segmentation and come to data-informed conclusions of exactly where a challenge or opportunity exists within the field.

Below, you’ll find five actionable takeaways for implementing both of these approaches in your organization.

Proactive marketing:

  1. Implemented based on own "marketing guts” or actions.
  2. Begins before production and/or establishment. .
  3. Mostly long-term orientated & aimed at brand-image building.
  4. Mostly deployed by new companies or start-ups (in established or new markets)
  5. It takes place in less competitive markets.
  6. It mostly takes place in times of economic stability and/or booming.

The Reactive Marketing


A proactive marketing campaign develops not as a response to a competitor's actions, but as an original creation. A company working in a proactive mindset, instead of using the same advertising media as another firm, might decide to market its product using an entirely new medium.

The reactive approach of having field teams such as sales, customer success, implementations, and support directly share challenges and opportunities they perceive from their interactions with the market, is a surefire way for maintaining a pulse on adjustments that could be critical to make for a product.

Let’s take a step back and think about how each of these field teams are often uniquely measured – Sales needs to reach their quota, customer success needs to reach their install base movement goals (retention, expansion), implementations needs to reach their implementation volume or timeline goals, and support needs to reach their customer satisfaction score or time-to-resolution goals.

When these teams voice challenges and opportunities that they’re perceiving in the market, they’re essentially saying that one of the cylinders within the “customer lifecycle engine” is misfiring and jeopardizing their ability to reach/surpass their goals.

And it’s these cross-functional measures that act as a proxy for determining the success of a product in the market.

Reactive marketing

  1. Implemented based on marketing “threats” or reactions.
  2. Begins after production and/or establishment.
  3. Mostly short-term oriented & aimed at (re)winning customers from competition or as a result or brand-image damage.
  4. Mostly deployed by established companies (in established or new markets)
  5. It takes place in highly (price) competitive markets.
  6. It mostly takes place in times of economic turbulence and/or recession.