The Canberra Times

Passive VS active marketing: What Aussie business owners should know

What is the difference between passive and active marketing? Picture Shutterstock
What is the difference between passive and active marketing? Picture Shutterstock

This is branded content.

Marketing can be one of the biggest hurdles for new business owners, and with so many different channels to focus on, it can be a minefield to navigate. But if we want to simplify our understanding, we can break it down into two strategies: active and passive.

These two strategies categorise the type of marketing you will do and dictate the approach to take towards your audience. This blog post will go through both strategies so you can understand what each one means, why they are different and how both should be crucial for long-term success in any industry.

What is passive and active marketing?

Every single business needs some form of marketing, as it is crucial for brand awareness and sales. If your customers are not aware of your products or services, then it's going to be challenging to sustain the business over the long term, which is why marketing is such an essential piece of the puzzle.

Luckily, we have a range of options at our disposal, two of which boil down to passive and active marketing strategies.

Passive marketing is aimed at creating subtle brand awareness around products and services or even just getting your name in front of potential customers without trying to push products too hard.

This can involve things like branding on products such as when customers buy lanyards with your logo or even informative blogs as a form of marketing.

On the other hand, active marketing is more geared towards getting the customer to take action. This could be to sign up for a newsletter, purchase a product or even follow your social media channels.

Passive marketing strategies

When it comes to passive marketing, there is no shortage of strategies available to you, especially with the internet, so many businesses are turning to passive marketing to build awareness. Let's look at some of the most popular strategies implemented today.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO is an organic and passive marketing strategy that has been used forever in the online marketing landscape. SEO aims to ensure that your website or content comes up early on the search results on Google (or any other search engine) so that your product is first in the minds of consumers.

You can do this by ensuring you have a range of content online that also adheres to the standards required for ranking.

Content marketing

Content marketing is all about creating helpful information in the form of written word, video content or even audio to attract audiences. It's not about being pushy with sales but to provide valuable information to your potential customers. The goal is to provide value and build legitimate relationships over time.

This is especially useful for building trust because, over time, your digital assets will only make in followers and views, whether that be a blog, social media page, or YouTube account.

Brand awareness campaigns

Brand awareness campaigns might not be as organic or cheap as content marketing campaigns, but many big corporations utilise them as a form of passive marketing. The brand awareness campaign is a strategy where businesses will market themselves through billboards, advertisements or even through affiliates.

There is no pushing for sales as it is aimed at getting the name out there, and a perfect example could be a billboard that says, "Nike, just do it." Since there is no call to action, this is considered a passive marketing strategy.

Active marketing strategies

Active marketing strategies are more direct, and as we mentioned earlier, these methods usually involve getting a direct call to action from the customers. It doesn't necessarily have to be a purchase but can be a sign-up and is something you'll have to monitor actively.

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)

PPC advertising is one of the more prominent forms of active marketing, and it involves paying platforms for advertising campaigns that, in the end, will charge you for clicks.

This is great because you can pay for more tangible results instead of a billboard or video campaign. The advantage also comes from the data you can gather from this form of marketing.

Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising still has a place in the modern world and may be more effective since it is less saturated than conventional methods. You probably already know that the predominant forms of traditional advertising can include things like television, radio, or even billboards.

These are all great ways that are still relevant and effective if you're looking to implement active marketing strategies in your business.

Social media advertising

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all powerful tools in your arsenal for active marketing strategies. Social media advertising is usually centred around building an audience on these platforms and then marketing products or services to them, it is one of the primary methods businesses use to get themselves out there. If you're not actively taking advantage of these platforms, you're missing out.

Benefits of passive marketing

The main benefit of passive marketing is that this style of marketing will help get customers coming to you instead of having to chase customers constantly. This is why you see so many prominent business owners focusing on content creation and creating value for their customers instead of pushing sales and advertising practices.

Passive marketing turns your business into something that attracts buyers and retains them for the long term because rather than being too pushy and off-putting, you can subtly maintain your brand organically.

Since passive marketing relies on methods outside of traditional advertising, it can be more cost-effective. Things like organic reach and content creation cost very little in terms of upfront investment and can compound over time. This means you can invest very little to get massive returns if passive marketing is done correctly.

Benefits of active marketing

Active marketing is excellent for businesses that are looking for an instant and direct way to market to their potential customers. It is a fantastic way if you're confident with your product or service and want to fast-track the sales process as well as get direct feedback.

These strategies often involve collecting data from campaigns as well as using targeted advertisement techniques to lead customers down a sales funnel.

Active marketing allows businesses to be more direct with their message and target specific demographics that are more likely to purchase from them. This frees up resources to focus on optimising conversion rates rather than questioning what is and isn't working. Another benefit of active marketing is that it is excellent for testing new products or services and then iterating.


No matter what strategy you choose, it all comes down to what kind is best for your business. Passive marketing offers a long-term approach that will help you create an organic following, while active marketing helps you reach buyers quickly and measure results in real-time.

In an ideal world, you should use both strategies at the same time to maximise results, but if you're low on resources, you should determine what area might be better to focus on during that particular time in your journey. Good luck.