Disrupt me! 5 things you need to know about disruptive marketing

One business term or trend that’s just not going away any time soon is: Disruptive Marketing.

You’ve probably heard of it but maybe you’re not really sure what it means, or how you can use it in your marketing. Well here are 5 things you need to know to get disruptive.

1. What is disruptive marketing?

Disruptive marketing refers to the communication activities and messages that either challenge the conventional thinking in an existing market or speak to a new one.

It’s the complete opposite of traditional ‘interruption’ style marketing. Interruption or traditional marketing interrupts the daily life of a consumer via TV ads, billboards, commercials and such, while disruption marketing disrupts traditional marketing strategies by being so compelling that the consumer doesn’t feel like they’ve been disrupted by marketing or advertising at all.

In fact they’re grateful that they have been shown or offered something of interest to them.

It could be as simple as ‘non-advertising’ stunts or content that goes viral because it is just plain interesting and engaging eg. the Red Bull Stratos jump from space.

The term disruptive marketing is often used in tandem with a disruptive business model. This is where a company creates a product or service to match the demand of an emerging market, or re-designs an existing product or service to meet a need that’s currently not being fulfilled satisfactorily – thus disrupting and possible displacing existing market leaders.

One of the biggest poster childs for disruptive innovation and marketing is Uber. Uber doesn’t use much traditional advertising to market their model, yet they get plenty of promotion via free editorial in news stories about their ‘disruptive model’ and have used disruptive campaigns such as their cat delivery service where they delivered adoptable kittens for 15 minutes of snuggle time.

2. Small business can do it too

You could associate yourself with an important cause (hopefully that reflects the values of your business). Uber introduced its cat delivery service to coincide with Pet Adoption Day.

When you do this, your association with the cause becomes the focus rather than selling – suddenly you become a lot less interruptive and more shareable.

3. Revisit your target market or segments

Remember a key part of disruptive marketing and innovation is reaching an emerging or new market, perhaps a market segment that isn’t having its needs fulfilled.

Revisit your target audience to see if you could refine your messaging or target a new market segment.

4. Refine your products or services

Can you create or refine your products or services to meet an emerging or unfilled need.

Apple’s introduction of the iPhone, and the iPad are great examples of disruptive innovation.

You may not be able to adopt disruption on such a grand scale but let’s say you’re a small food or grocer store. Could you introduce a drive through option to ring ahead and pick up a couple of items such as bread and milk? I can’t keep count of the number times I’ve had my toddler or baby in the car and they were asleep or I just couldn’t bear getting them in and out of the car one more time, just to get a loaf of bread.

5.  Don’t wait to BE disrupted

You need to be the one doing the disrupting, instead of waiting to be disrupted by a competitor.

Keep an eye on your competition and listen to your customers for ideas on how you can connect with them and meet their needs in new ways.

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Kylie Fennell
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