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January 2013
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Marketing: Are You Top-Down or Reactionary?

When it comes to organizing your marketing efforts, do you utilize top-down or reactionary methods? Do you know the difference?

  • Do you create a formal marketing plan and stick to it?
  • Do you prefer to follow trends and create marketing strategies on the fly?
  • Or maybe you like to do a little both?

Whether you’re top-down or reactionary, each has its strengths and each has its weaknesses. Take a look at how you can pull the best from both:

Top-Down Marketing

Top-down marketing analyzes a company’s situation, measures objectives, develops key strategies, and creates specific tactics to achieve company goals. This is best done by researching trends and marrying the findings with company objectives.

Top-down marketing requires planning and follow through. It also requires closely tracking results and measuring success.

This type of marketing can also include offensive strategies. It involves evaluating the competition and forming comparisons. For example, a company using top-down marketing might identify a competitor’s weakness and emphasize its own strengths as an answer to customers’ problems.

You might call top-down marketing “Type A.” It’s strategic, specific, quantitative and realistic. And in certain cases, it can be considered contrived.

Reactionary Marketing

Reactionary marketing is the opposite of the top-down marketing. It’s the kind of plan that is formed as a reaction to trends, news or perhaps simply how the marketer feels that day. Reactionary marketing forces a company to stay current and be in the same places that their customers frequent.

A reactionary marketing campaign might involve the creation of a YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest campaign. Before you initiate a reactionary marketing strategy, ask yourself: Does this marketing effort fit with our overall company mission or are we simply jumping on a trend? If you can answer that question honestly, you can decide whether the reactionary tactic is worth following.

Reactionary marketing can also be a defensive strategy. It might lead you to counter a claim made by your competition or create a solutions for your market that is better than the offerings your competitors have.

Reactionary marketing can be quite effective. It’s nimble and current. Companies that make the best use of reactionary marketing have already established a well-built reputation and a solid customer base. If not executed correctly, however, reactionary marketing can feel haphazard. It can also be the kind of strategy that compels the marketer to chase the next “shiny” thing.

What kind should you use?

The best answer is “both!”

As you plan your marketing strategies for 2013, make room for top-down and reactionary. Create a plan with structure, but be willing to change if necessary or make additions when an opportunity presents itself. The best companies demonstrate stability with a twist of spontaneity.

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