Working in Marketing: When is it Right to be Reactive?

When It's Right to be Reactive

Securing your first role in marketing is a huge deal. Your first few weeks working in marketing will fly by. Lot’s of emails, introductory meetings and getting to grips with your new clients. Of course, the main thing you want to do is please your employer and clients. But you’ll quickly find that jumping to respond to every email you receive will drive you around the bend and leave your head spinning.

So when is it right to be reactive? When can that email wait to be answered and what can you do to stop yourself from descending into a frantic workday?

Talking from personal experience

When I started my role in a digital marketing agency I was given my clients gradually. Eventually working up to managing around 10 after about two months. At first, I would feel uneasy if I hadn’t replied to an email within an hour or two; no matter how urgent the message was.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who let themselves get into this cycle. Yet, it just isn’t sustainable and you won’t end up creating your best work. Overall, being reactive will make you feel good as you’re being so responsive and helpful. However, you can spend hours trapped in your inbox replying to messages without actually finding the time to complete tasks.

As time went on, I saw the importance of being proactive. I would email ahead of the upcoming months to see what my clients were looking for and if they had any ideas. Not only did this allow me to plan ahead, but I also had a clear idea of what was expected of me. Plus, it allowed me to stick to more of a to-do list and leave the office feeling that I had accomplished what I had set out to do that day.

It’s hugely important to set expectations with your clients based on a true picture of what else you need to get done. Of course, you want to make sure the task is done on time. However, just be honest with when you will be able to work on whatever they are asking for so you each know where you stand.

Reactive Working is Good…Sometimes

Now, there are times when reactivity is incredibly important. Jump on a trend that is the perfect opportunity for your brand or client. This will get their name out there. You’re essentially coming to the rescue when something has happened.

In fact, over the last few weeks, this has been more important than ever as more and more businesses have been forced to close. Strategies have had to change at the drop of a hat and I bet you’ve had to deal with some incredibly panicked clients. 

Right now, being reactive is just what needs to happen as we’re experiencing something which leaves us all in an uncertain position. However, as much as possible make sure you’re balancing your working day. Jump in to help when your clients clearly need you, but also be sure to be sending those emails to check in with clients you’re concerned about so you are able to plan ahead as much as possible. It’s all about being proactive so those times when you need to be reactive reduce, your working week isn’t thrown into disarray with tasks coming in that you just don’t have time for. 

A few months into a client-facing role and I bet you have experienced a huge range of clients with different ways of working. You’ll soon see that some clients will include ‘URGENT’ in every subject line of every email they send, and others will apologise for asking you to jump on a task. Treat both of them the same. Make sure the work is done in a timely manner and don’t allow demanding clients to place unnecessary pressure upon you.

Structure Your Day

Try and structure your day around a to-do list and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished so much more when it comes to logging off. If you really need to, block out time in your calendar to work on a certain task and make sure you stick to that with only emergencies able to change your schedule.

The last thing you want to do is be rigid with your daily tasks, but if you find you’re always swaying towards being reactive, introducing a little structure will make a huge difference.

Emma Nesham
Hey, I'm Emma! I graduated in Marketing Management in 2018 and since then I have been working as a Digital Marketing Executive for a North Yorkshire agency. I manage lots of clients as well as our own marketing strategy so I'm always learning new skills to suit the wide range of projects I work on. I love writing, photography and graphic design and I'm lucky enough to do a bit of everything within my role!