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Marketing moves fast, especially in the digital arena, where the latest trend, app or meme can suddenly become the flavor of the day. But is it always best to jump on the latest bandwagon?

When you’re coming up with strategies and tactics for marketing your business, it’s important to know the difference between responding to the market and merely reacting to the latest big trend, viral social media hashtag or marketing success story.

Let’s take a look at how ‘responding’ and ‘reacting’ differ in marketing – and which strategy is usually the more reliable, long-term approach to take in your business marketing.

How do you respond to your market and customer needs?

Responding to the market is all about understanding the needs and wants of your customers, and then creating products and services that meet those very specific, real-world needs. You’re listening to feedback, keeping a close eye on your industry market, analyzing your sales data and taking onboard customer requests – while tailoring your company’s offering to the exact needs of this market. The real focus here is to know how your market is evolving, to pay attention to your customers needs and to make sure you’re evolving and flexing your offerings and marketing.

How is reacting to trends different to responding to the market?

Reacting to the latest trend or fad, on the other hand, means creating products/services that are popular at the moment, even if they’re NOT something that your customers actually want or need. You’re following the trend, but at the expense of actually listening to your customers.

This is reactive marketing, and it’s generally a far less effective way to drive your business strategy and promotional activity. When the Barbie movie launched, anything Barbie-related became incredibly topical and popular. Jumping on that hashtag, or tying in your product with the pink and sparkly Barbie theme may have given businesses some short-term attention. But it’s unlikely it drove long-term customers and stable sales and relationships.

Put the customer at the center of your marketing strategy

Responding to the market is likely to be a far more sustainable approach to your business marketing than simply reacting to the latest trend, fad or viral meme.

Responding is based on sound research, evidence and feedback, and caters to the evolution of the market and the needs of your satisfied customers.

Reacting is just a case of ‘keeping up with the latest hip trend’, without thinking through how it impacts on customers or your long-term strategy.

By getting granular with the needs and wants of your customers, and creating products and services that meet those needs, you can build a loyal customer base who love what you do. That’s far more important than short-term, transitory gains, in the long run.


The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.