Commercial Curiosity – How often do you React v Respond

January 8, 2024
by Charlie Whyman

How often do you feel like your marketing ‘to do’ list is running away from you or piling up?

Do you find yourself getting distracted by other people’s requests, demands and priorities?

One of the most common challenges I get approached with is the feeling like you’re never in control of your marketing – there’s no consistency and it’s impossible to keep up.

Is this something you’re struggling with or struggle with?

If so you probably sit in one of three camps:

  • CAMP A: You don’t have a marketing strategy and plan and you feel like you’re making things up as you go

  • CAMP B: You have a marketing strategy and plan but you don’t fully believe in it so you end up either looking for other ways to do things or distracted by marketing advice from others

  • CAMP C: You have a marketing strategy and plan but the wider team doesn’t believe in it or understand it

Which camp do you sit in?

One solution is to create a marketing strategy and plan you do believe in. If this is what you’re looking for please have a look at this —> Master Your Marketing Plan Accelerator

However for this week’s email on Commercial Curiosity – I wanted to explore the problem a little bit further and look at why we react instead of respond to tasks and activities.

The more we can understand this behaviour the more likely we are to believe in and stick to our marketing plan once we have it 🚀


Let’s Explore the Challenge 🦦

Reacting versus responding in marketing is like firefighting versus fire prevention and safety. When we react, we’re dealing with the flames already at our door – often leading to rushed, less effective decisions. On the other hand, responding is about responsibility and having a plan in place, ready to tackle challenges and opportunities proactively. The absence of a solid marketing plan or faith in it can leave you vulnerable, always playing catch-up with customer needs, competitors’ moves and all the new shiny marketing tools and tactics that people on social media love to talk about…

Reactive behaviour has both an Emotional Impact on us personally as well as a Commercial Impact on the business so it’s important to understand what’s going on and to nip it in the bud before things get out of hand.


The Personal Impact of Reactive Behaviour

  1. Increased Stress and Anxiety: Constantly reacting can lead to a cycle of stress and anxiety. It’s exhausting to feel like you’re always putting out fires rather than following a plan.

  2. Overwhelm: Without the space for strategic thought, you may find yourself overwhelmed or even burning out, as the reactive approach is often less efficient and more draining (even though it might not feel this way at the time)

  3. Decision Fatigue: Reacting to every situation without boundaries or plan can lead to decision fatigue, where the quality of your decisions deteriorates over time due to the sheer number of decisions made.

  4. Impact on Confidence and Self-Esteem: Consistently reacting can undermine your confidence. It can foster a sense of lack of control, impacting your self-esteem and belief in your ability to manage situations effectively.


The Commercial Impact of Reactive Behaviour

  1. Dwindling Sales Pipeline: Whatever marketing you don’t do now that’s in line with your overall strategy, will affect your sales in the future.

  2. Missed Opportunities: When you’re always reacting, you might miss out on strategic opportunities that require forethought and planning.

  3. Poor Decisions that impact others: When we make poor decisions these can often impact others including your wider team, your customers, stakeholders and even your overall market.

  4. Slower progress towards goals or missed goals entirely: The more you react and go off-plan the further away from achieving your overall goals you end up with.


Why we do it: The Psychology Behind Reacting vs. Responding

  1. Immediate vs. Considered: Reacting is often immediate, driven by instinct or emotion. It’s a reflex, like dodging a ball that’s accidentally been thrown at your head. Responding, in contrast, involves a pause, consideration, and deliberate thought. It’s more like looking at who’s holding the balls and understanding when and where the balls are likely to be thrown. Balls = other peoples demands and priorities in this example.

  2. Stress and Pressure: Under stress such as increased demands from other people and things like no immediate sales in the horizon, our brains tend to default to fight-or-flight mode. This mode is useful in genuine emergencies but can be counterproductive in marketing. Especially when it causes you to do things like create new offers, launch campaigns that aren’t in line with what you’d usually sell etc…

  3. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Thinking: Reacting is often about addressing immediate concerns, sometimes at the expense of long-term goals. Responding, however, aligns actions with long-term objectives, even if it means enduring short-term discomfort or challenges.


Commercial Curiosity: A Couple of Questions to Help You Move Forwards 🧠

1️⃣ What triggers your reactive marketing decisions? Identifying these triggers can help you anticipate and prepare for them in your marketing plan. Look at both internal and external factors because personal challenges can hugely impact how you show up in a professional context.

2️⃣ How well does your current marketing plan (or activities) align with your long-term business goals? This alignment is crucial for ensuring that your responses are strategic and not just reactionary.

3️⃣ What have you been avoiding and why? Sometimes we avoid the things we need to do the most because of fears we have or how we manage uncertainty. In some cases we seek out distractions to react to so that we can avoid doing what we know we need to do. Understanding why we’re avoiding these things in the first place can really help us get to the root of the problem.


Next Steps ⚙️ ➡️

  • Review Your Current Marketing Plan and Activity: Take a closer look at your existing plan, will it help you achieve your overall business objectives, what’s working, what’s not and what do you need to stop doing, continue doing and optimise? If you don’t have a plan – create one!

  • Review your overall business goals: Are they still motivating you? Do you need to refresh or revisit them? Your goals should be the reason why you do everything and you can use them to overcome the fears that try to get in your way.

  • Set Boundaries: If a lot of your distractions and reactions are being driven by other people and other people’s priorities then it’s time to establish boundaries and align expectations. You don’t have to be available 24/7 to all your clients (in most cases) and immediate responses are not always needed (or expected)


Ninja Tip 🥷🏻

Create a marketing plan that’s only 12-weeks long and schedule at least an hour every month to review your activity. Look at what actions you’re sticking to and moving forwards, what you’re avoiding and also what triggers have been sending you off course.

This way you can quickly and easily identify areas that you react more to and areas you need more help focussing on. Plus it helps you nip things in the bud much quicker so you don’t end up 6 or 12 months down the line having achieved nothing with your marketing.

If you’d like help creating a 12-week Marketing plan so that you can hit the round running in the new year – please join me on my upcoming accelerator


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