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    How to create an effective proactive marketing strategy

    Proactive marketing is about planning for the future. It’s a long-term business strategy rooted in a nuanced understanding of your customers so you can anticipate their needs and exceed expectations. This progressive approach results in enhanced customer delight and long-lasting brand loyalty to prepare your business for the competition and whatever comes next.

    In this article, you’ll read why proactive marketing is essential to keep customers engaged. Plus, how to create a proactive marketing strategy to increase your social and marketing ROI.

    What is proactive marketing?

    Proactive marketing is centered on anticipating market demands and creating successful campaigns and strategies to increase market share, revenue and customer engagement. Marketers use various sources to draw proactive insights including social media, reviews and surveys.

    Among these, social media is critical to proactive marketing, especially in today’s increasingly digital landscape. It acts as a channel for businesses to engage with audiences directly and in real-time, promote their brand and create a dynamic feedback loop through social customer care interactions.

    For instance, using a social media management tool, a brand can engage with its customers to foster a two-way conversation even when not directly tagged or mentioned. This shows they’re invested in building customer trust and also tuned into industry conversations. Plus, by analyzing social chatter you gain brand insights in minutes compared to traditional research methods, like focus groups and surveys, which can take months.

    This proactive approach helps you quickly tailor your content, advertising and other marketing tactics to what resonates with your audience. It allows you to create meaningful engagement that ensures customer loyalty and retention.

    Why proactive marketing strategies matter

    Proactive marketing helps you get more out of your social media engagement strategy. It shows your audience that you’re actively trying to connect and communicate with prospects and customers. That can create a major competitive differentiator.

    Take Adidas, for example. Their proactive marketing strategy includes uplifting social content involving sports champions to encourage people and boost morale. These posts indirectly promote their products and act as open forums where customers ask product-specific questions. A quick look into social conversations in their “You got this” campaign shows audiences engage with the brand on a variety of topics including product inquiries.

    How to create an effective proactive marketing strategy

    This shows how empathy-driven, proactive marketing is pivotal within your overall marketing to maintain brand engagement–even if you’re an established brand like Adidas.

    The difference between proactive vs. reactive marketing strategies

    A strong marketing strategy includes proactive and reactive marketing tactics to address both long-term and short-term goals. Here are the key differences between them.

    Reactive marketing strategies

    • Reactive marketing is about responding to immediate customer concerns, such as addressing customer care complaints.
    • It’s a passive marketing approach where customers initiate contact with a brand, for example, to enquire about products or pricing.
    • Reactive marketing doesn’t require planning or additional investment of time and resources as it’s not hinged on competitor behavior and involves responding to customer needs as they arise.

    Proactive marketing strategies

    • Proactive marketing is a forward-thinking approach built on anticipated market demands to supply a solution, such as expanding a product portfolio based on emerging market trends.
    • It requires a brand to make the first move and reach out to customers and prospects, rather than waiting for the target audience to approach them.
    • Proactive marketing involves long-term planning with a focus on long-term goals. It relies on a thorough strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of the brand and its competitors.

    Netflix is a great example of proactive marketing. It uses AI-driven algorithms to analyze users’ viewing habits and engagement rates to search for patterns to inform the kind of content to produce and market in different regions.

    Another example of proactive marketing is how Mexican fast food chains like Chipotle and Pollo Loco capitalize on National Burrito Day to earn all-time high sales every year around the holiday. These brands plan for the event, advertising their locations and mouth-watering deals much in advance, to ensure customers choose them over the competition.

    Mexican food brand Chipotle uses proactive marketing to advertise its locations and mouth-watering deals much in advance for National Burrito Day to ensure customers choose them over the competition.

    How social media fits into the proactive marketing picture

    Social media empowers brands to engage proactively with audiences. It facilitates real-time conversations and prompt responses to customer comments and inquiries. These interactions hold the key to valuable insights to inform future brand strategies.

    Here are some ways social media drives proactive marketing.

    Social listening

    Social listening data catalyzes proactive marketing. According to The State of Social Media Report 2023, 91% of leaders believe social data is critical to understanding customer needs, while 89% believe it’s key to predicting future market trends.

    Data visualization from The State of Social Media Report showing the impact of social media data and insights on business priorities.

    Knowing customer opinion about your brand helps you proactively refine your products and offerings and develop winning marketing campaigns for long-term success. Plus, competitor intelligence data from social conversations helps with competitor benchmarking so you can build strategies to strengthen brand positioning and loyalty.

    Likewise, social listening data helps identify patterns in audience preferences and behaviors. For instance, you could determine which social networks give you the highest engagement. This enables you to focus on those platforms to amplify brand engagement and analyze conversations to uncover potential opportunities. With Sprout’s Listening tool, you can automatically sift through billions of data points in social chatter within seconds to find key topics, hashtags, trends and insights to influence your future strategies.

    Sprout’s Listening tool lets you automatically sift through billions of data points in social chatter within seconds to find key topics, hashtags, trends and insights to influence your future strategies.

    Reporting and analytics

    Social media reporting surfaces deep insights about your brand’s performance on social and reflects emerging market shifts—essential data to improve your marketing ROI. For example, Sprout’s Analytics tools provide you with comprehensive reporting on social media metrics based on your KPIs and goals to help you evaluate social campaigns across channels. Having this crucial data visualized through easy-to-grasp charts and graphs further helps you understand network-specific and cross-network analytics better so you can strategize for the future.

    Plus, built-in templates help you prove your social ROI to decision-makers to get the funds you need for your future strategy.

    Sprout’s Analytics tools provide you with comprehensive reporting on social media metrics based on your KPIs and goals to help you evaluate social campaigns across channels.

    Customer Care

    Social customer care is the new norm. Customer care departments are no longer siloed from the broader marketing org—today they play an important role in informing marketing decisions.

    Insights from customer care conversations inform you about recurring customer complaints and market gaps, which you can share with marketing execs and product teams to draw attention for future planning.

    Similarly, tools like Social Customer Care by Sprout Social and our integration with Salesforce Service Cloud enable agents handling social to deliver prompt, personalized responses and offer services based on previous interactions. This proactive approach leads to higher customer satisfaction and halts attrition.

    Brand Keywords

    Brand Keywords in your social data tell you which hashtags your audience follows so you can use them to boost your reach and attract new customers. Sprout’s Brand Keywords tool extracts keyword mentions from X (formerly known as Twitter) directly into your Smart Inbox, keeping you in the loop about discussions related to your brand, even without direct tags. Use search operators to track branded keywords across various social channels and monitor mentions seamlessly within a single platform.

    Explore more Sprout features.

    How to create your proactive marketing strategy with Sprout

    There’s no single approach to proactive marketing, especially on social. The conversations your brand can weigh in on are never-ending. That’s why, creating a strategy focussed on social media business value is important. Here’s how to get it done.

    Determine your team’s bandwidth

    Creating a proactive marketing strategy means leveling up your social media strategy. Like all new endeavors, it takes time.

    Consider how much time your team spends on reactive engagement (i.e. responding to tags and mentions). What is your daily inbox volume like? If that alone is tough to manage, think about how to prioritize creating a business case for expanding your social team.

    Identify conversations that provide value to your organization

    Use company and department goals to decide which conversations present the largest opportunities for your team.

    For example, if your big goal this year is brand awareness, prioritize conversations around key influencer partnerships or larger industry discussions. Engaging with those posts can expose your brand to new audiences interested in your products or services. Sprout’s Influencer Marketing tool can help you identify particular voices with influence to further expand your reach.

    If you work with co-marketing partners, you can also create multiple partner-specific Brand Keywords to proactively build on those relationships through social.

    Draw insights from sentiment analysis

    Sentiment analysis surfaces nuanced emotions customers express on social and online channels about your products and services. Examining sentiment in social listening data tells you the common topics of discussion when people mention your brand on social.

    With Sprout, calculate sentiment scores automatically from data across all your social accounts within a single, unified dashboard. Analyze this data to understand sentiment trends and the conversations driving these sentiments.

    This intelligence helps you construct a data-driven, proactive marketing strategy aligned with customer expectations. For example, you could refine your content strategy, pivot your ad campaigns and personalize your customer service to proactively address customer needs and wants.

    Preview of Sprout’s Sentiment Summary dashboard showing net sentiment score and net sentiment trend.

    Tap into competitive intelligence

    Use Sprout’s native competitive analysis tools to gather essential insights about your competitors and their social media engagement. Also, dig into metrics such as post engagement, hashtag usage, audience demographics and audience growth to identify trends and establish competitive benchmarks. Sprout’s actionable competitor intelligence dashboard enables you to track and analyze this data easily.

    Sprout Social’s competitive analysis tool helps you measure total engagements, total unique authors, total potential impressions, and average positive sentiment.

    This competitive monitoring helps you stay informed about competitors and identify industry trends and market changes as they emerge.

    For instance, you might observe discussions about an increasing need for customer care software that streamlines processes and cuts response times in half. Or, you might notice your target audience responding favorably to your competitors’ content related to their eco-friendly service initiatives.

    Use this insight to proactively align your business and offerings with customer preferences to ensure you’re agile and ready to capture new market opportunities.

    Optimize your strategy through business intelligence and reporting

    Use Sprout’s built-in reporting tools and templates to contextualize social insights and see how you stack up to competitors and where you could do better. Plus, explore which interactions and campaigns attract quality leads and drive revenue growth. Then use that data to optimize your proactive marketing strategy and strengthen your brand footprint.

    Sprout Social’s built-in reporting tools and templates helps you contextualize social insights and see how you stack up to competitors so you can build a successful proactive go-to-market strategy.

    Integrate with Salesforce and Tableau for a 360-degree analysis of your customer messages and conversations to get additional context. Use this data to tailor your customer journey and address customer issues proactively to exceed their expectations and build robust customer relationships that future-proof your business.

    Supercharge your proactive marketing strategies with Sprout

    Social media insights help you get ahead of brand conversations to establish your brand as a forward-thinking and relevant contributor to the industry. Sprout’s powerful social media management tools help you do this and more. They help you navigate macroeconomic trends, anticipate changing customer expectations and optimize your marketing plans in real time so you’re always a step ahead.

    Use brand intelligence to power up your proactive marketing strategy by starting your free 30-day Sprout Social trial today.


    The post How to create an effective proactive marketing strategy appeared first on Sprout Social.

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