A mailer about Disruptive Marketing landed in my inbox this week. Looking at the subject line, I was at once eager to read more and trying to close the mail as quickly as possible. Perhaps, the answer to the disruption of our current lives lies in fighting fire with fire, but at the same time, don’t we yearn for things to go back to what we know? Some kind of calm and normal?
Being on a rollercoaster Covid-ride, we need no introduction to disruption. It has been part of our daily lives for too long now. But what is Disruptive Marketing? According to Basil O’Hagan‘s email, “Disruptive Marketing means turning all the marketing rules upside down, shaking things up and changing the perception not just about your company but the industry as a whole.” Does that sounds a bit scary? Well, we have been talking about innovation and creativity in a crisis and perhaps they should apply to more than the what, but also to the how.
Another definition makes it even clearer: “Disruptive marketing involves using experimental tactics that challenge the status quo. Rather than following conventional marketing wisdom, disruptive marketers test daring, new tactics that haven’t been tried before. Some work while others fall flat. And that’s ok, that’s how innovation works.” (insightly.com) Disruptive marketing seems to be about much more than being innovative in challenging conditions, it is also about keeping up with the times and trends. But being on trend is nothing new in marketing. Perhaps disrupt is just the extreme term for keeping up with ever changing technology and expectations?
What are the expectations of consumers today? Even (perhaps more so!) in a time of constant technological development, consumers expect authenticity. Customers want flexibility and choice, expect brands to be responsible – socially, environmentally, when it comes to Covid practices and even when it comes to respecting their online privacy. In an age of information, there is no excuse for not being informed and when they’re not, brands are blamed that they don’t care. (See 2021 Consumer Trends)
It is clear that although, from the company’s perspective, price, positioning, place and promotion might stay important, for the consumer, there is much more to marketing. Brands are expected to care about their consumers – make their lives easier, better, more enjoyable, safer. Companies have to find a way to address these consumer expectations and what better way to show that you care than through a well-considered and surprising (yes, disruptive) ad?
There are many (very entertaining) examples of successful disruptive advertising. Technology allows clever ways of communication and ad agencies can go to town with the possibilities. Click here for some insane, but very successful ad campaigns. Ads appeal to emotion. Featuring an animal, a perfect sound track and a relatable storyline, ads can do a very successful job of selling without you even realising it. When you manage to come up with a disruptive angle, ads can be even more effective. But is advertising the same as marketing? I believe having an out of the box idea and translating it into a crazy ad is something different to turning your marketing model upside down. It is also somewhat easier.
Coming up with a disruptive take on marketing – your product, where you place it, what you ask for it, how you promote it – that takes thinking that combines real innovation with strategy and bottom lines. Perhaps one of the best examples of disruptive marketing that is more than an ad campaign, is Netflix. They identified a need many of us haven’t realised we had, they addressed consumer expectations and trends and they dared to be different.
In today’s cacophony of communication, you have to do something really brave or different to get attention. Whether you practice modern marketing like Netflix (read more) or give away air guitars for free, disruption in the market place seems to be a very important part of how we do business today.