Strategic vs Reactive Marketing: What Glastonbury 2019 Can Teach Marketers

Strategic vs Reactive Marketing: What Glastonbury 2019 Can Teach Marketers

Rukayyah Robun
26 July 2019
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In a constantly connected society news around the world is instantly accessible to anyone with a smartphone. Social media has transformed the media landscape with real time news reaching those online in seconds in comparison to traditional media (newspapers, T.V and radio) that would take days. Due to this, marketers are now faced with the challenge of remaining one step ahead of not only competitors but connected consumers too.

As marketers, many of us have built our foundations on traditional methods. In the old days, you could put together a five year marketing plan with a clear goal and an action plan and call it a day. Connections were everything and if you found a way to stand out, it was already planned in advance. You still had to take risk and crisis management into account – but overall, you could leave your work at work, without needing to be constantly involved.

The problem exists in brands that still rely on the marketing basics, ticking off the ‘must do’s’ to get their brand noticed. This can simply be due to the lack in the tools required or the flexibility to capitalise on events that are relevant to their brand. However, recent drivers in the experience economy and growing power of influencer marketing has seen the majority of brands taking advantage of current affairs, that are trending across social media, and successfully incorporating them into their marketing strategies. 

This fast and reactive marketing is used by brands as an in the moment experience, built to evoke emotion and reactions from consumers. It is based on current affairs, trending topics, relevancy and influence designed to capture the attention of a consumer following the same hot topic. 

It’s certainly not time to write off your day-to-day marketing plan – there are benefits to both a structured strategy and short-term marketing initiatives. However, the true potential lies in the hands of those who combine the two. So, if you’re wondering why you can’t seem to capitalise on opportunities like your competitors can, or whether or not your brand is becoming less relevant – it might be time to start “living in the moment”.

Long-Term Strategy vs Reactive Marketing 

A long-term strategy acts as strong foundation for your business, and can include everything from your vision and mission to various analyses, content planning (based on relevant pillars) and risk mitigation. The clear benefits of a long-term strategy include: 

  1. Clear, measurable objectives
  2. Consistent action/marketing plan for various touch-points
  3. Getting a clear overview of logistics
  4. Having consensus on values and culture
  5. Establishing clear guidelines for how a brand should look, feel and “speak”

Your long-term strategy helps you create something familiar and consistent with timelines for implementation. The rigidity of a long-term strategy will be your downfall as it will limit how often your brand is in the consumer line of sight.

Reactive marketing poses a greater risk but with a greater reward. For short-term strategies, timing is everything. The pivotal moment is the sweet spot between when something happens, when the rest of the world hears about it and when it has become a missed opportunity. Similarly, not everything will be relevant to your brand, so be sure to not lose sight of what is relevant to your brand simply to cash in on an opportunity. However, finding an event that is both current and relevant is extremely beneficial such as: 

  1. Gaining influence and relevancy
  2. Broadening brand reach and connect with your consumers over what they’re interested in

So, What Did Glastonbury 2019 Teach Us?

Under the right circumstances, brands can capture an audience’s attention, just as a performer would – a move BohooMan were quick to react to this June.

We saw many artists take to the Glastonbury stage, captivating the festival-goers. However, this year it wasn’t an artist that left the audience stunned, but rather a schoolboy Alex Mann who joined rap artist Dave on stage to perform his hit track Thiago Silver. During Dave’s set, the artist scouted the audience to briefly bring someone on stage and instead found a super-fan who rapped every word perfectly – and wowed the nation. 

Afterward, Alex received calls from rap artists, record companies and fashion brands such as BoohooMan – a brand notorious for festival styles. After running a quick search, our media intelligence tool highlighted that the #AlexFromGlasto hashtag had exploded across Twitter accumulating over 28,000 mentions. BoohooMan timed this impeccably, with the #AlexFromGlasto hashtag still active and festival season in full swing. This is an example of a brand using a current and hot topic as a strategic move, sticking with their brand image to be actively involved in a social media buzz. 

What can we learn from this?

Keep your day-to-day marketing strategy at the foundation of your work – but incorporate an ad-hoc strategy that capitalises on unforeseen events and opportunities. When utilising these opportunities keep in mind:

  • Know thy consumer: The more insight you have into what matters to your audience, the better you can align your brand to their interests.
  • Take a calculated risk: Some companies do well by taking a stand on social issues that are important to them. This can be a risky move, as it will alienate your brand from audience outliers – but if your culture and values are aligned with that of your audience, you can strengthen that connection. As the old adage goes – “build trust, not traffic” and you’ll have a more dedicated audience
  • Make sure you are well equipped: Short-term strategies require social listening, which means monitoring the topics, hashtags and themes that your consumers care about and which are relevant to your offering. A good social listening strategy is driven by media intelligence that can pinpoint conversations where your brand should be and help you stay on top of mentions and current affairs.
  • Try partnering with influencers: Who offer a chance for you to stay current. Some influencers can be considered products or topics in themselves, and aligning your brand with their channel or timeline is an important part of being where your consumers are.

As marketers, we can’t rely on generic content to get by anymore. Strategic thinking, social listening, influencer marketing and ad-hoc posts all form part of the new school of thinking, and the bell’s been ringing for a couple of years now. It’s time to ensure your brand is relevant in the eyes of consumers, by capitalising on current trends and using data to inform strategic campaigns. With this insight, you’re better equipped to create audience-relevant content, build relationships – and most importantly, avoid having your brand fade away into obscurity.

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