Great marketing is a mix of solid, proactive strategy and some time to simply react.

We talk more in this blog post about why you should plan ahead, but here we’ll specifically address why, when and how you should make room for trends and opportunities in your marketing.

Be Opportunistic…But Smart

There are so many articles out there on marketing, it can be hard to know which advice to follow and which tips to implement in your business. Knowing the difference between a fad and a trend will save you time, and could save your brand’s image from an identity crisis.

This article from getspokal.com discusses everything from mobile optimization to interactive marketing to infographics, and whether each of these marketing strategies is a fad or trend.

“The reality is that sometimes these marketing strategies stick, and sometimes they don’t. But for business owners, hopping on the wrong bandwagon could have dire consequences for their businesses, making it even more important to gage whether a marketing strategy is really worth investing in.”

Don’t let the “dire consequences” scare you off. It’s crucial to stay up to date with where your customers are—whether that’s Facebook or a booth with an interactive display at a local event—and that means you do need to pay some attention to trends. You don’t want your customers to leave you behind for a brand that is more agile, that they perceive understands them better.

We always remind our clients to think about who their ideal customer is, and market their business from a standpoint of what would resonate with that person. If you stick to this strategy, you’ll be less likely to get caught up in a fad that isn’t right for your brand.

Do Some Good, Have Some Fun

There’s another side to the world of trends: trending content. From a public relations perspective, you can usually gain attention for your brand when you hop on the bandwagon of the latest craze. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Again, this needs to be done tastefully, and you must consider whether it will further your relationship with your ideal customer. If not, it’s likely not worth your participation. It should also align with your brand’s values, personality and tone (or at least one of those aspects).

In these situations, it will pay off to have some time to simply react built into your marketing plan. Your team members can have fun with a project like this, and it’s a great opportunity to engage your customers.

This article from prnewswire.com delves into the dos and don’ts of harnessing trending content, and some follow up tactics you can use to get more mileage out of your efforts.