Here in the Purple office, we’re huge fans of reactive marketing. When done right it can do wonders for your brand, but get it wrong and you’re opening yourself up to a whole lot of criticism. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what reactive marketing is, some examples of it done right and wrong and finally how you could think about having a go yourself with your own marketing!
What is Reactive Marketing?
Let’s start with the dictionary definition:
"Reactive marketing is marketing that is done as a reaction to a particular situation, or to what your competitors are doing." -Cambridge Dictionary
We’re sure you will have come across reactive marketing and not even realised. Twitter is a great place to dig out some of the gems. With the rise of social media, brands can communicate instantly at the push of a button, giving them the opportunity to insert themselves into hot topics and anything scandalous going on online.
If a topic is trending on Twitter the likelihood is that the marketing departments within well-known brands will be on the case of creating some funny content to suit the topic. Most recently we enjoyed some of the content that came off the back of the Coleen Rooney and Rebecca Vardy Scandal. As all the drama unfolded on social media, Innocent Smoothies and Netflix jumped on board with a couple of quick posts which quickly went viral.
Going back to Christmas 2018 and we saw Elton John star in the infamous John Lewis Christmas Advert. Lidl got creative and created content that you couldn’t help but laugh at.
The topics for reactive marketing are easy to find, thanks to hashtags it’s easy for users to find content relating to a specific topic; and with ‘trending topics’ (words, phrases or hashtags that are being mentioned the most) any brand or person knows where the action is at any given time.
Reactive Marketing Done Right
One company who does reactive marketing really well is Specsavers. There are a whole host of examples from the brand but one of the best has to be from back in 2017. In reaction to the presenters that year getting the names mixed-up the results for best picture, the retail chain tweeted ‘Not getting the Best Picture?’ alongside an open, red envelope which read ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’.
The tweet was praised on its quick-witted response and gained over 20,000 likes & 11,000 retweets.
Reactive Marketing Gone Wrong
And now for an example of how not to go about your reactive marketing strategy. It’s vital to get a second opinion on your idea to make sure you haven’t developed tunnel vision about your idea-get someone to give their honest opinion on it to avoid your creative post turning sour.
After Carrie Fisher tragically passed away, Cinnabon, an American chain of baked goods stores and kiosks, reactively tweeted about the situated quoting “you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy”.
Maybe it was innocent, maybe not, either way – Twitter users did not respond well, saying that Cinnabon was using the situation to promote themselves. This resulted in the tweet being deleted just 45 minutes later.
Cinnabon has since apologised.
How Can you try Reactive Marketing?
Reactive marketing isn’t the easiest, it demands real-time posting. Trending topics change by the hour so reactive marketing requires constant awareness of the hot topics being talked about online. Because these topics change so frequently, reactive marketing only has a small window of opportunity- there is no time for long content pieces and strategically planned campaigns. However, still take a minute to step back and think about how your post could be interpreted. If there’s a chance the response could turn sour, have a re-think.
If that wasn’t enough, with the number of platforms - both online and offline - growing rapidly, it can seem near impossible to track all of the potential opportunities.
However, we’ve put together a few ways to help you get a head start by learning how to look out and better spot opportunities for you to jump on the posting bandwagon.
A great place to start is to create a seasonal calendar. Look out for key dates and events that perhaps align with your brand, relate to your values or you feel you could benefit from any of their potential marketing efforts. This year Twitter did some of the hard work for you when they released their 2019 Twitter Marketing Calendar, free to download and packed with dates you could post about across your social media.
A great example of this would be the release date of the John Lewis’ Christmas advert - this date will be deep-seated in the minds of marketing managers throughout the retail industry. Marking big societal events, useful holidays, and peak sales seasons on your new calendar will give you a good idea of where to keep an eye out for opportunities alongside your usual scheduled content.
Piggyback off the News-but be quick!
The quicker you react to an event, the more impact and reach it will have. Commenting on something that happened a week ago will just make you look like you’re scrambling to catch up. You need to get your post out there in the moment, while your audience knows what you’re talking about and are still interested.
A must is to keep an eye on trending stories. A simple way to do this is to keep an eye on the trending hashtags on Twitter as if there’s something big going on, there’s sure to be a hashtag for it! You can also set up Google Alerts which will send you notifications for specific keywords you've chosen.
Armed with a seasonal calendar and an idea of how to look for trending topics, you can certainly get ahead of the curve and brainstorm some ideas around the kind of content you could create. To shape the events to suit your business, you’ll need to get creative. It’s unlikely you’re going to find regular events and topics that will perfectly slot into your posting schedule. A great example is when McDonald’s flipped their famous golden arches to create a ‘W’ in aid of International Women’s Day. This isn’t something that came about by chance-their marketing team had definitely discussed and planned the stunt well in advance.
However, for those impromptu events, you need to brainstorm and settle on an angle quickly but effectively-get the people around you involved if you can and see what they come up with. Start out with a key topic and you’ll soon come across something that suits your brand.
1. Always be aware of what is going on in the world. An average day’s news won’t be significant to the masses, but the one day when it is your brand shouldn’t miss a marketing opportunity due to a lack of awareness.
2. Be concise.
3. Have a sense of humour. Consumers are more open to laughing than being bored (but isn’t that obvious?).
As we’ve mentioned, reactive marketing can be tricky to get your head around and get into the routine of doing. It’s a case of seeking out opportunities that suit your audience’s interests and your brand. It’s an effective way to make the most of current events to create marketing opportunities for your business. With practice, reactive content can make you the envy of your competitors and help you develop a connection with your target audience. What you need to do now is decide how you could have a go at reactive marketing!
If you’re still feeling unsure we’re more than happy to step in to help. We love all things digital marketing but there’s nothing better than seeing a post do well within a trending conversation! Get in touch to see how we could support your content creation to help you stay a step ahead of your competitors.