The term “disruptive” has a somewhat negative connotation to it, which is probably why disruptive marketing strategies have largely remained untapped by small and medium scale businesses. However, companies today are gradually realizing the potential of applying disruptive marketing tactics to boost their business in a increasingly competitive market.
How it began?
Harvard Professor Clayton M Christensen pioneered the concept of innovative disruption in 1995, with his article, “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave”. Here, Clayton wrote about disruptive messages challenging the traditional school of thought in the existing market, gradually aligning it with a new set of values and demands, and strategically redefining the market.
Macro or Micro?
Disruption could be at a scale as large as re-shaping or re-designing an entire offering to meet the requirements of the customers who are not satisfied with the present offerings in the market (on the lines of the phenomenally successful market disruptions by Amazon and Apple). Or it could be at a smaller scale, with companies attempting to re-define certain values or aspects that are characteristic to the present market, rather than transforming or revolutionizing the entire offering. Macro-level success stories are great, but it is more feasible to begin with small steps.
STRIVE FOR GENUINE VALUE ADDITION IN YOUR EXISTING OFFERINGS TO BUILD SOLID CREDIBILITY THAT YOUR CUSTOMERS CAN BANK ON
Focus on Value Addition
Value Addition is the pivotal aspect of creating a successful market disruption. Rather than focussing on radical ideas to multiply your profits at the very outset, strive for genuine value addition in your existing offerings to build solid credibility that your customers can bank on.
Identify Unconventional Opportunities
This is the tricky part. There are several occasions when unconventional opportunities are right in front of us, but we fail to identify them because of our fixed perspectives. Clayton Christensen in his book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” has spoken about this by citing the example of a Fast Food Restaurant improving the sale of its milkshakes by changing the conventional positioning of milkshakes (against sodas and desserts) to morning snacks like bagels, bananas and doughnuts, after realizing that most customers were purchasing them to fulfil the purpose of a morning snack.
Help your customers wade through the transition barriers
Expecting customers to change their routine, habits, requirements and expectations will not happen overnight. You will need to facilitate their transition by providing real value, ensuring the steady availability of your offering, providing suitable pricing and so on. Sometimes, purchase inducers like sizeable discounts and one time offers can also provide impetus to your disruptive marketing strategies.
Simplicity has the strongest impact
More than anything else, simple and straightforward messages create lasting market disruption. If you are attempting to provide something very different from the mainstream, you cannot afford to overwhelm customers with options.
Challenge the traditional school of thought
The idea is to “redefine the predefined” by questioning the things that we take for granted. Well-researched disruptive marketing tactics that run in the opposite direction as compared to your competitors, often result in greater effectiveness and far less investment.