Some of the most successful marketing campaigns come unexpectedly, much to the sorrow of marketing managers who spend months thinking on a marketing campaign that fails in the end. With the growing popularity of social media, such spontaneous marketing campaigns are becoming more and more common.
In marketing, there is a separate term for marketing campaigns that take advantage of something that has already gone viral (usually, on social media platforms). The term for it is “reactive marketing” and it stems from the word “proactive”. Reactive marketing is the total opposite of proactive marketing.
While in proactive marketing, marketers come up with new concepts and create content in order to promote their goods or services, reactive marketing is something absolutely different. Within reactive marketing, companies take an already existing trend and adapt their advertisement to this trend.
Advantages of reactive marketing
Thousands of companies around the globe are already using reactive marketing. It must mean there is some value to this type of marketing, huh? Let’s take a look at the most prominent advantages of this type of marketing.
Reach to a huge audience
First and foremost, it is possible to reach millions of people with a reactive marketing campaign. If there is a trend gone viral, thousands of people are already writing about it and sharing the info. Under these circumstances, should a company successfully adjust its product into the viral trend, it can become a part of the flow.
In lucky cases, the advertisement referring to the shared knowledge of the trend will also be shared and the noise will be multiplied. Because of this, according to experts from Inside Trade, reactive marketing is one of the most effective ways of increasing the product understanding of your potential customers.
Low to no cost
Since it mainly takes place online in social media, reactive marketing campaigns usually imply low to no cost to the producing companies. All it takes to create a relevant post is a good idea and possibly the help of a visual designer. Naturally, a good sense of human will not hurt. The main cost that is being saved here is the time that other advertising campaigns take. Apart from time, modern reactive marketing campaigns do not use materials, since it is not printed on numerous brochures, nor does it need to be placed on huge screens in the street. After all, online reactive marketing campaigns are also very environmentally friendly and sustainable.
The dark side of reactive marketing
Despite significant advantages, the main downside of reactive marketing is that these types of campaigns don’t usually last long. After the viral trend on which the campaign was based goes into the “forgotten land”, the campaign itself becomes abandoned too.
However, it is possible to use the message used in the reactive marketing campaign and play with it in a company’s main advertising campaign. In conclusion, reactive marketing is more like a supplementary form of advertising for most companies, rather than their major one.
TOP 3 cases of reactive marketing campaigns
After the theoretical overlook, let’s take a look at our chosen top 3 examples of successful reactive marketing campaigns. Marketing is all about practice anyway! We’ve chosen three cases of a totally different scale from three very different countries to illustrate that no matter how small or big your company or your target audience is, it’s possible to use reactive marketing to your advantage.
Case #1. Movember movement in Australia
One of the most successful reactive marketing campaigns belongs to a foundation that started in Melbourne. The Movember Foundation took very good advantage of the time of the year and the already existing countless memes about men not wanting to shave their beards in autumn.
Using a made-up word combining “moustache” and “November”, this campaign has reached millions of people using its reactive marketing.
Despite the downturn that we mentioned earlier, this campaign did not “die out” a couple of days after its start. It grew into a very consistent campaign recurring every year. Each other, for the whole month of November the foundation carries out a campaign that focuses on men’s health and issues, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer and suicide prevention.
Not only is it a successful case of reactive marketing, but it’s also a very important foundation in dealing with health issues that men around the world face.
Case #2. The Game of Thrones and the Supreme Court of the United States
It was summer 2015 when the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) made it legal for people of the same sex to officialize their relationship. After this important step in marriage equality in the United States, many companies started referring to this ruling of the court in their own advertisements. One most prominent example of this was issued by the Game of Thrones TV Series.
Their tweet showed one of the gay characters of the show beloved by people who watch it in front of a flag symbolizing the LGBT+ society. It was among thousands of other posts made by companies from around the whole globe, but since this tweet was right on top of the point, it became quite memorable. One plus of using reactive marketing is that it shows your personal connection with the people. By the means of this tweet, HBO showed the public that it cared about the actual issue, just like them.
Case #3. The spontaneous nationwide reactive marketing campaign in Georgia
Indeed a much unforeseen event in the mountainous country of Georgia, located on the intersection between Europe and Asia in the Caucasus mountains between Russia and Turkey, has turned this small country into a top destination for travellers all over the world.
According to experts from World Bank, Georgia is one of the top destinations for investors and people looking for an opportunity to start their own business, mostly due to the ease of doing business in the country. However, the local population is still trying to increase the economic growth rate. Let’s take a look at what happened at the end of June 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia and how the whole population of this country started a joint marketing strategy to improve the situation in their homeland.
If life gives you lemons…
Georgia is a relatively small state that has been fighting for centuries to regain or retain its independence. After recovering its sovereignty thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia had only slightly more than ten years to enjoy its territorial integrity before Russia invaded it in 2008. Ever since then, two regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Samachablo (so-called South Ossetia) – have been occupied by its Northern neighbour Russia, making 20% of the country isolated from the unified government.
This is the primary reason why the local population was so upset after an official visit of a Russian Duma representative to Tbilisi for the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. During a sitting of the Assembly, MP Gavrilov took the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker. This gesture stroke up protests in the capital of the country that have lasted for ten days and still counting. As a response to the protests, Vladimir Putin has issued a ban on flights connecting Georgia and Russia.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Growth of Georgia, the ban on flights might affect as much as 10% of Georgia’s GDP since tourism is one of the major industries for this picturesque country. The prospect did not look good, but society’s reaction is more than creative.
With the expected decline in the number of tourists from Russia visiting Georgia, the population decided to increased the number of tourists coming from any other countries. This is where the reactive marketing strategy steps in. Since the protests in Tbilisi have made it into the headlines of many international news agencies, Georgians decided to take advantage of their minute of fame and invited millions of tourist to visit this secret gem in Europe. By the way, did you know that Georgia is the country where the oldest remains of wine were found dating back 8000 years?
A group of marketing specialists in Georgia started the campaign that was caught up by thousands of Georgians of various ages and is now spreading to other countries too. It all started with this Facebook group of the campaign that has now reached more than 230,000 members. The Facebook group offers personal stories from travellers who have been to Georgia, information and tips for those who are still planning to go there for the first time and some really cool pictures from all over the place.
It is one of the very few examples of a marketing campaign being supported by the whole population of a country. It was actually started by members of the society, not a particular company. Happily, many businesses have since joined the campaign and are now offering significant discounts to tourists coming to Georgia.
So far, the campaign has reportedly reached up to a million people worldwide using various social media, including Instagram and Linkedin. For a country with a population of just 3.7 million people, it is a very impressive campaign that was only possible due to the active involvement of Georgians of all ages.
Does the future look bright?
It is still premature to make conclusions about the effect of this campaign. As we have mentioned earlier, the negative side of reactive marketing in most cases is that it doesn’t last long. It is associated with unexpectedly high spikes in popularity with a very fast decline afterwards. However, if this campaign can attract at least a couple of tens of thousands of tourists to this country, it may be counted as a success.