Passive vs. Active Advertising – Which One Should You Use?

Nov 21, 2022 | All, Digital Ads, Digital Marketing

The active advertising versus passive advertising debate carries on. Which one should you use? We have the answer.

Advertising can be one of the most complicated tasks of running your business. Getting things right attracts new customers, increases brand awareness, and can keep your order books full. However, your precious marketing budget will drain if you get it wrong. As a small or medium business with a limited marketing budget, it is critical to know your target audience and choose the most potent marketing channels to reach them.

Choosing the right marketing channel is more demanding than it may sound. You have an important choice to make in today’s digitally driven world. Should you rely on Active Advertising, or will Passive Advertising deliver the results? Small businesses are in a dilemma regarding the choice between Active Marketing and Passive Marketing. Which one should you choose? Let us understand the difference between these two and find your best fit.

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Passive Advertising

In this form of advertising, your brand doesn’t interact directly with the customer; hence, it is passive marketing. Your campaign targets customers who aren’t actively searching for your products and services. In this form of marketing, businesses focus on brand awareness and promote their products subtly without overwhelming their target audience with a sales pitch. It is a more organic form of marketing where customers aren’t even aware they are being targeted.

Passive marketing takes a lot of effort to generate sales and revenue for the business, as you aren’t actively selling a product to the customer and relying on your ads to trigger interest. For instance, if you place ads on social media or your website. By doing so, you are promoting your brand to the customers without actually trying to sell them something directly. It is a cost-effective advertising strategy that generates mass outreach in the long run.

Billboard ads, flyers on newsstands at airports and other public places, print ads, and other display ads are some of the most widely used passive advertising mediums. In this marketing strategy, you aim to trigger interest in your products among customers without selling them at a personal level. Customers also feel they are in command of their buying decisions without being aware they have been targeted. However, this marketing strategy doesn’t guarantee instant results as the target audience makes their own choices and may not be triggered by the campaign.

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Active Advertising

Active Advertising is a direct approach to selling your products and services. As the name suggests, you promote your product in front of the customers, highlight its USPs and expect the customer to take action after your sales pitch. These actions include ordering your products online, signing up for a newsletter, or visiting your retail outlet.

Unlike passive marketing, where you don’t target individual customers and your campaign is directed toward the masses, in active marketing, you follow leads. Here businesses use cold-calling and use social media to bring new customers onboard. It is aggressive marketing, where you may compare the USP of your product against your competitors. You reveal your intent to your prospects upfront.

In today’s tech-savvy world, most brands bank on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SMM (Social Media Marketing), PPC (Pay-Per-Click Marketing), and Email Marketing to market their products and services to users. In active marketing, you’d at times market your products to customers irrespective of whether they have shown any prior intent of buying them. The only similarity it shares with passive marketing is that the customers are the final judge on whether they wish to buy your products.

Pros & Cons of Passive Marketing

Passive marketing has its takers, and businesses, from multinationals to small startups, rely on this form of marketing. If you plan to invest in passive advertising, you better know its pros and cons.

Pros of Passive Marketing

  • It offers a broader reach to the audience
  • It is not intrusive, and customers appreciate it
  • Builds brand awareness and brand recognition
  • It is inexpensive and easily implementable
  • Requires less hands-on approach in the campaign

Cons of Passive Marketing

  • It doesn’t trigger a direct response from the audience
  • Passive advertising takes time to show results
  • No control over who sees the advertisement
  • The audience can wish to overlook the ads
  • Campings take time, and advertisers need patience

Why Choose Passive Marketing?
There are several advantages to choosing a passive advertising campaign. However, high ROI and low advertising costs stand out if we narrow the list. Most businesses tend to see these as a clear advantage over active marketing. Unlike active marketing, which is usually short-lived and offers dividends only when you are running the campaign, passive advertising is for the long term. Once you have built brand awareness, it benefits your business in the long run.

Another significant advantage of passive advertising is that you can outsource your entire project. You don’t have to be involved in the day-to-day activities of managing your campaign and can hire an expert team to handle it. It benefits businesses that don’t have dedicated in-house marketing teams. For example, if you need social media posts or regular blogs, you can tie up with an agency for the same and focus on the core activities of running your business.

Red flags To Be Aware Of       
In passive marketing, you must be prepared for the long haul. In most cases, it isn’t likely to show immediate results regarding trade inquiries, customer walk-ins, or sales. You must have patience as it takes time for the results to come by. It requires persistent effort for your efforts to show results. For example, a single blog post isn’t likely to trigger interest in your target audience. You have to write blogs regularly to build their trust.

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This strategy aims at building a brand for the future and one that customers will start to identify with as they come across the name and logo. Hence, it isn’t the best strategy to sell products that customers are looking for in the current market. For instance, if you want to sell your products on Black Friday, you can’t start your campaign on Thursday!

Pros & Cons of Active Marketing

Like its counterpart, active marketing also has its pros and cons. As a brand, you need to weigh in on these before you embark on your advertising journey.

Pros of Active Marketing

  • Targetting customers interested in products
  • Instant results and revenue growth for a business
  • A more targeted form of advertising
  • Control over the customer’s buying journey
  • Personalized campaigns based on prospect’s needs

Cons of Active Marketing

  • It is labor-intensive and requires a proactive approach
  • The results can stop as the campaign stops
  • Customers may find ad campaigns intrusive
  • It is expensive and needs a bigger marketing budget
  • Lack of brand-building goals

Why Choose Active Marketing?
If you are looking for fast sales and wish to quickly grow your footprint in the market, this is the marketing path you need to choose. It can show immediate results from traffic on your website to transactions. Unlike passive advertising, it is more personal, and you directly address customers interested in your products and services. It improves the conversion rate and prevents the loss of business to competitors.

This marketing strategy rests on personalizing the campaign. You aren’t running a vanilla marketing campaign, but one addressed to customers’ specific needs. In active advertising, you have complete control over the message and how your target audience perceives it. It is a great marketing strategy for generating leads your sales team can take up and convert into paying customers. If your brand is an unknown or new entity in the market, active advertising can fetch you better results.

Red flags To Be Aware Of       
Active marketing usually pays dividends as long as you actively run the campaign. In comparison to passive marketing, it has lesser trail effects. It isn’t intended for building brand awareness but for generating sales and revenue. For instance, if you stop your cold-calling campaigns, you will witness an instant drop in sales.

You have to constantly come up with new advertising strategies that keeps customers hooked onto your campaign. This is expensive and often puts small and medium businesses at a disadvantage. It is also time-consuming and requires a more hands-on approach where you constantly network with your vendors, retailers, or directly with prospective customers to generate sales.

How do Different Businesses Use Them?

You have a fair idea of active advertising and passive advertising by now. We have also discussed their pros and cons. Let us now look at how businesses across different industries use them and how they use them –

Local Businesses
These businesses have a physical location and usually cater to customers in a small geography. Passive advertising is their go-to marketing strategy, as they can generate footfalls through billboards, posters, or flyers

Ecommerce Businesses
Active advertising benefits ecommerce businesses. They need to target an audience searching for products online or those who have abandoned their search on the store. Since these businesses don’t have physical addresses, they can’t rely much on passive marketing.

B2C Businesses
These businesses use a combination of both active and passive marketing and allocate resources based on the nature of the campaign. For promotion, they rely on passive marketing and use active advertising to close sales.

B2B Businesses
Like their B2C counterparts, B2B businesses rely on active and passive marketing. These businesses generally use passive marketing at the early stage of the campaign. However, active marketing is their preferred route since they serve a smaller group of high-paying customers.

Which One Should You Use   

We have examined active and passive advertising in detail and discussed both pros and cons. It brings us to the most critical question– which one should you choose? Will your business gain by adopting the more subtle approach with passive advertising, or should you be aggressive and go for active advertising? There isn’t a perfect answer to this question, as you should choose one based on your end goals, the type of business you are in, and of course, the marketing budget you have at hand.

That said, choosing the right marketing strategy isn’t always the easiest thing in the world, especially in a dynamic market. Passive marketing will be your best fit if you work with a small budget and look for maximum brand exposure with your limited resources. However, active advertising is the best option if you have identified your audience who have shown intent and would like to convert them into paying customers.

In the real world, brands use passive and active marketing strategies to power their growth. The fact is they can play complementary roles and supercharge your marketing campaign. For instance, passive marketing can widen your reach and back it up with an active marketing strategy targeting your audience’s high-intent section.

Another case in point is the use of these strategies. If you are establishing your business or setting foot on a new territory, passive marketing lets you test the waters and make your brand and products recognizable to the audience. It will help you build interest in your products among the audience before you start converting them with an active marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts      

As we have already summarized, there is no perfect route to marketing your business. Active and passive advertising have different yet overlapping roles in powering the growth of a brand. A good combination of both these strategies can offer you effective results. If you have to choose one – pinpoint the goals of your campaign. If you haven’t identified your ideal customer, passive marketing will help you in your goal. Once you know your customer and they have shown their intent, you need to go in with an aggressive active marketing campaign.

Both these marketing strategies need a meticulous approach. You need an expert team to help you choose the right path and allocate the marketing budget based on the intended goals of the campaign. At Cyrusson Inc., we help our clients run the most rewarding marketing campaigns. As a full-stack marketing agency, we have a team with the skills, passion, and technical know-how to help your brand create a buzz in the digital space. Call us for a free consultation, and let’s create some magic together.

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