Disruptive Marketing – a Matter of Survival

By | March 20, 2017
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There are many articles written on Shock Marketing, Edgy Marketing and Out-of-the-Box thinking and techniques.
All of these approaches are worth considering, particularly if your Marketing efforts are not delivering the desired results (consistently).
These approaches may be elements of Disruptive Marketing.
Disruptive Marketing is simply doing things uncharacteristically.
Not for the purpose of being different, but for the purpose of making a difference.
Effectiveness and adapting to change are the drivers of Disruptive Marketing.
The traditional formula should not be thrown away, however it must be modified and complimented, with other approaches/techniques that meet the demands of changing Market needs and requirements.
There is an old expression: When one thing changes, everything changes.
That statement could encompass the changing competitive landscape, new product introductions, pricing and packaging models, sales tactics, positioning & messaging, shifts in customer focus, media influences, distribution mix and a variety of other influential factors.
The real issue is identifying that something is changing in your core Market and Business and, most importantly – What will you do about it?
Background Work
The first step is to do the investigative work to unquestionably define and confirm that there are critical dynamics changing that will impact your business.
Avoid hearsay and putting importance on anecdotes and “war stories” that may reflect isolated and discrete situations.
Reacting to these elements only results in wandering aimlessly or “chasing shadows.”
(Some of this may end-up being FUD = Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt perpetuated by your esteemed Competition)
Take your interests to the “Outside World” – interview key customers and prospects (including those that bought from your competition), interface with Industry Groups that have knowledge and expertise in your core Industry/Market, hire a domain expert that has a solid grasp on the changing dynamics and trends that will affect your business – today and tomorrow.
Factor-in the make-up of your competitors’ approach and Marketing mix – taking into consideration any major changes they have introduced to positioning, messaging, sales tactics, etc.
This does not have to be a long, drawn-out research effort.
Your small-to-medium sized business cannot tolerate that.
Allow roughly 30-45 work days to complete this phase – no more, however get it done.
It is the foundation that will fuel your Marketing Platform and subsequent Program mix.
And, provide the insight to determine if Disruptive Marketing is justified.
Document your results – draw in your key people to interpret and pinpoint the critical success areas.
At this stage, identify the TOP 3 that you will focus and concentrate on.
Most firms cannot handle anymore than three, no matter what the investigative work yields.
Litmus Test
Take the results of the background work and map them onto your current Market Program Plan and where you are putting your emphasis (and Program Budget).
Be hard and judgmental, at this stage.
We are looking for “big swings” and changes, as compared to little tweaks to your current Marketing Program.
You would not be reading this article, if a few minor adjustments would put you back on-track.
Characterize and profile how the input and decisions from the background work will be assimilated into your revised Marketing Program Plan.
At this stage – go back to many of the sources that fueled the background work and run these “interpretations,” by them.
This will not only validate and legitimize your findings, it will also set-up the game and the potential buying audience.
Market Program Execution
It is time to put your hard knocks work into practice, however start on a Pilot Test basis, with a few well-thought out “marginal” target accounts.
This will allow you to determine how well the Program will work and iron-out the chinks, before you go full implementation. This is where Disruptive Marketing can be introduced.
Disruptive Marketing means a few things:
1) It must be something that has not been done in your Target Segment (especially by direct competitors)
2) It must be Innovative not Imitative
3) It must work with your prospects and customers
4) It must be introduced swiftly, with finesse, and generate tangible results

In many cases, Disruptive Marketing can become the new standard of doing business.
It is critical that your firm sets the tone for these standards, as compared to being viewed, as a follower.

Here are a few real-world, examples of Disruptive Marketing at work (Cross-Industry):
-A Global Aviation Maintenance & Overhaul Service Supplier repackaged its standard offering to include a non-chargeable “try & buy” kit, which provided a partial demonstration of its total services. This allowed prospects to get a feel for the company’s capabilities, expertise and degree of commitment. Those prospects that bought were also provided a valuable coupon that could be redeemed for various services, within the first year of operation (at no-charge).
This simple technique was not utilized in this Industry segment before.
It bolstered previously sluggish sales, added an element of mystique and buried the competition.
-A High-Technology Company concentrating on the Defense & Military Market took the focus off the product and introduced an Industry Guidebook (and complete Program) that paved the way for Government/Military, Defense Contractors and Technology Suppliers to work collaboratively on complex, airborne and ground-based, projects.
This had not been done by any supplier of their class, previously.
This unique program approach resulted in establishing the Technology Company, as the expert/authority in their field, generated a rich base of new customers and design-wins that represented millions of dollars of potential business, and left the competition stunned and “in the cold.”
-A well-established, Strategic Business Consulting firm decided to extend their business to include turnkey computing systems. This revolved around applications that the firm had expertise in. While the emerging competition was attempting to sell direct to Strategic Accounts, the Consulting firm aligned itself with a major computer maker and the Key Industry Group that catered to the Target Industry Segment.
Basically, this became a Partnership and the primary distribution system.
The Consulting firm “changed the rules.”
This arrangement became a powerful driver that allowed the Consulting firm to gain access/entry to key executives at Target Accounts – sponsored by the Industry Group – and to gain credibility, by leveraging the logo and expertise of the major computer maker.
The Consulting firm realized a quick ramp-up of system sales and enjoyed seeing the competition struggle to figure out what hit them.
The competition was completely locked-out.

Disruptive Marketing is not a bag of tricks!
It is a well-grounded approach that requires solid investigative work, pilot testing, a dose of imagination/innovation and a strong constitution to do things differently and distinctively.

Is your current Marketing in need of an overhaul and ripe for Disruptive Marketing?

Copyright 2008
Performance Marketing Group
Edmond M. Hennessy

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