Proactive Marketing creates and takes advantage of ways to build your business on your terms and within your budget. Reactive Marketing robs you of stability, cohesion, and the benefits of all the strategic planning you've done.
All too often, businesses and organizations fall into one (or, occassionally, both) of two marketing traps.
1) They don’t have a marketing plan that is based on a solid percentage of revenue, and thus they just respond to immediate input to make a decision. (“Hey,” says the ad sales guy, “We’ve got a great new section that you just have to advertise in.”) Or…
2) They do have a plan, but it’s so rigid it leaves no room for the occasional opportunity that really is special or a benefit to their business.
The way to counteract either scenario is to have a strong (preferably annual) marketing plan in place, and in addition have a discretionary fund (also based on solid budget percentages) for the spur-of-the-moment opportunities. (Note that even such opportunities should be scrutinized in light of the overall marketing strategy and branding objectives of the organization.)
I mentioned above that businesses can fall into both traps. What that does is effectively rob budget items from some other part of the business (inventory, personnel, etc.), Just as with a household budget, you may have planned to dine out once a month, but doing so every week for the first few months may not leave you enough money to pay the rent in November.
In your business’s marketing budget, for example, if you plan on advertising/marketing expenditures based on 3% of your annual revenues, you might allocate 2% to the “fixed” marketing vehicles you want to use as long-term strategic options. The other 1% can then become the discretionary part of the marketing budget.
But, as always: It begins with a marketing plan.