Active vs Passive Marketing

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

When offering a product or service to customers, the importance of Marketing in order to be a success soon becomes clear. The unique forms of Marketing available are plentiful, yet they mostly funnel into two distinct groups; Active & Passive Marketing.

What is Passive Marketing?

When we think about marketing products and services, the obvious first steps are to find a great location, put up a sign, place an ad in the local paper, build a website, set up some social media pages and then wait for the clients to come running through the doors; this is 'Passive Marketing' in its broadest sense.

Passive marketing, generally speaking, does not inconvenience your customers. You place ads in locations (both digitally and geographically) where your customers are spending a lot of their time already looking. Such as, putting a banner on the side of a website with related searches or paying for ad space in the newspaper. Your customers have the option of looking at your ad or looking at something else in the vicinity.

Passive marketing is found in a lot of your more traditional forms of advertising and promotional tools. Simply put, anything branded that is created for your company and put on display for the world to stumble across, is passive marketing. There is no doubt from anyone that this form of marketing holds value yet the trick is to get these passive campaigns to be more active in generating leads and sales, as these marketing initiatives are no doubt helpful and necessary, but it leaves a lot of responsibility with customers to make the next move.

What is Active Marketing?

A simple way of defining Active marketing is to outline what Passive Marketing does not do. If passive marketing in a general sense is visual media that is positioned in front of customers in the hopes of garnering attention, then active marketing is a more hands-on and dynamic approach to marketing that asks for customer involvement.

This is marketing that doesn’t just want to make a product announcement but also wants to offer an experience, hopefully, one that leaves customers with a positive brand association.

Today we have a variety of tools at our disposal that provide us with many more options for targeting, engaging and retaining customers. The power of the internet and social media analytics gives us the ability to be very specific about who we want to reach, what we want them to do and all at a very reasonable cost. Best of all these ad campaigns are measurable and customisable, so we can fine-tune them to achieve different results and increase the ROI.

A few ideas to convert your marketing from Passive to Active

  • Google/Facebook Ad Campaigns

  • This activity uses Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to allow businesses to target their audience through demographic and geographic filters. The budgets are flexible and campaign management is easy enough to DIY.

  • Being active on Social Media platforms and engaging with customers.

    • Engaging your audience is an ongoing process but keeping followers engaged is the key. Remember this when creating content, you either want to Educate, Entertain or Empower your people.

  • Use calls to action within Gamification, in order to drive traffic

    • Don’t be afraid to tell your people what you want them to do: Visit our website, Enter our contest, Get connected, Stay in touch - In the end, you want to drive traffic to your website where they will get the full story. Most importantly the activity can be measured.

Active marketing requires some creative thinking, a willingness to step out of the comfort zone and start engaging with your audience. Keep in mind that the goal is to be able to measure the ROI (Return on Investment) of all your activities. Here are some examples of Measurable ROI actions:

  • Acquiring email addresses from a gamified contest

  • Market research survey feedback

  • Promoting an event or workshop participation

  • Sale or Promotion discounts

  • Pay Per Click Advertising

What is Intrusive Marketing?

Often mistaken for Active Marketing, Intrusive Marketing follows a similar path yet has a different execution. Intrusive marketing involves going out of your way to promote your products or services. Quite literally invading your customers' space/time. Such as, using a pop-up ad on a webpage that a customer is browsing. While this practice may have its merits, it is a niche approach to marketing a product as an intrusive marketing effort deployed to a customer base that does not appreciate the intrusive nature of the marketing can result in undesirable results. Customers can become subconsciously repulsed by a company’s branding if they associate it with an unwarranted marketing experience.

Your customer did not ask for the pop-up or expect it. However, your marketing message is being thrust upon the customer regardless. The customer then has to take an action to avoid seeing your message. Marketing should never feel like a roadblock or inconvenience for customers, the moment it does, the likelihood of your marketing efforts yielding positive results diminishes dramatically.

The balance of Active & Passive within a campaign

When deciding between passive or active marketing, consider your business model. Some businesses are more conducive to passive marketing than others. In a competitive field, you may have to take drastic action to get the attention of your customers. Because of this, you may need to use active marketing tactics to separate yourself from the pack. Passive marketing can work when you are an already established business or you are in a less competitive field.

Before choosing a marketing method, think about the corporate image you wish to portray. If you want to portray an image of professionalism at all times, sticking with a passive marketing method may be best. If you are only concerned about increasing sales and the bottom line, using an active marketing method could work.

The true winner though is a marketing campaign that strikes a balance between the two forms. If you can create a gamified marketing campaign that ticks all of the dot points under active campaigns, and have it be supported and accompanied by strong passive marketing material, the likelihood of a well-received campaign is much greater.


Remember, Passive marketing does not take a lot of effort, such as the costs associated with setting up a directory listing, making posts on blogs or social network sites, or throwing an ad in the newspaper. You'll spend more money and time on active marketing, but it has a larger return on your investment, is measurable and engages your customers by telling them what you want from them while also giving them what they want. Gamified Marketing campaigns can deliver the best of both worlds. If you would like to know more, contact us today!

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