If you run a business and you’re looking for something to invest in, damn near every decision maker will ask every time for a strategy that is proven to be successful, particularly in marketing. A sure thing is always appealing, but game changing campaigns and tactics are the ones that challenge marketing and excite consumers in new ways. Proven marketing is definitely worth the investment and can help your consumer base in more ways than one, but it’s important to understand that playing it safe, especially with online marketing, simply means you could be falling behind.

Sharing is Caring

Let’s face facts here people: it’s very easy to repurpose what already exists, particularly online. The same number of people have access to the same number of tools, all of which point in the same direction. We particularly experience this behavior with social media, as sharing information has become far easier than actually creating it.

From our own DigitalRelevance social accounts, over the past seven days we posted 180 updates across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. From all those, we received 252 clicks and 77 interactions, meaning that roughly 1.5 people clicked through each link, and for every time someone retweeted or liked something, 3 people clicked through the link. Not too shabby. However, when looking at specific updates, certain posts received fewer clicks than interactions, sometimes none. Essentially these people are passing the information along to people they think would be interested, without ever consuming the information.


This type of action is what we’re going to call reactive online marketing.

Reactive Online Marketing (ROM): noun

Identifying what people search for, want to consume and creating / sharing content based on demand.

ROM is classic Marketing 101. You identify a group of people, analyze what they want right now, and then give it to them. Trust me folks, it works, and I fall victim to this just as much as the next guy. We work in the field of marketing. We find interesting marketing content and share it with our marketing buddies because we know they want to read it. This is the basis for most advertising and marketing, whether through television ads, PPC campaigns, social media or even SEO, all of which will yield results.


Data has become a massively cool tool but unfortunately also a massive crutch in our industry. We are so reliant on data to prove everything that when a solid gold idea falls into place, if it is too radical and new without any data to support it, it gets thrown in the trash. Then as soon as another company or person takes a risk and goes for it and it becomes successful, it spreads like wildfire and everyone follows suit. Case in point: Who didn’t care about YouTube and Twitter until Old Spice did it well? Who here is thinking about Snapchat for brand campaigns now?

In order to gain those massive jumps in traffic, conversions, hits, impressions, shares or whatever else you are looking for, you need to balance reactive online marketing with proactive online marketing.

Proactive Online Marketing (POM): noun

Using data to analyze trends and audiences, then making a more profound decision based on what your audience will be looking for in the future.

This strategy requires an already established and streamlined reactive marketing strategy, intense research and some guts. It’s far from taking a stab in the dark. It’s just using the data analysis we have access to in order to understand where we need to go.

Designing a successful marketing campaign informed only by historical data of what's worked in the past is like coloring by number. Don't be afraid to take a chance on something never done before.
Designing a successful marketing campaign informed only by historical data of what’s worked in the past is like coloring by number. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on something never done before.

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” This holds true in any field where people try to innovate today. If all you do is take into account what people currently want to use, then there would be no further breakthroughs. People don’t know what they want until they see it in front of them and realize they want it. We need to apply this mentality to marketing efforts in general.

With the recent actions of Google and comments from Matt Cutts, the industry is essentially scrambling to overcome losing the major tactic of guest blogging. It was an SEO strategy that had proven ROI, but now it can be more harmful than helpful. Marketing agencies, and especially SEO agencies, need to alter their methods to remain more stable after Google algorithm updates. This can be accomplished by fulfilling both reactive and proactive marketing needs and help the consumer more than ever before.

Let’s recap.

Reactive Marketing:

Analyzing current audience search behaviors online and tailoring site content and structure to best fit their needs. This includes the creation of a purchasing funnel, meeting the needs of consumers through the realization of need, research and conversion stages, all optimized for SEO.

Proactive Marketing:

Using heavy research and analysis to understand a target audience, what they currently consume online, their desires for products and services inside out, and how to fulfill their needs that aren’t currently being met.

If you need help with SEO and understanding Google’s constantly changing environment, check out HubSpot’s 17 SEO Myths for the best ways to optimize your current site for your audience.

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