Traditionally, the approach towards marketing has been that companies develop their products or services and then they implement strategies to help attract new customers to their business.

While that strategy may have worked in the past, the fast-paced digital era that we find ourselves in now demands something completely different. Marketing strategies — and even businesses themselves — need to be disruptive to the status quo.

What is disruptive marketing?

Disruptive marketing is all about changing the way in which consumers react to, understand and, ultimately, accept companies and their advertising.

“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition and rejecting the way things are supposed to be,” said Richard Branson. “Disruption goes way beyond advertising —  it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there.”

When you think of disruption, two of the brands that come to mind are Airbnb and Netflix. Both companies managed to completely change the way their industries work by offering consumers exactly what they want — be it accommodation or entertainment.

Disruptive marketing has to shake up the ‘usual way of doing things’ — taking the rules of marketing and turning them on their heads.

Neil Patel says that disruptive marketing “shakes things up by changing customer perceptions … and because [it has] changed our perception entirely, we come to associate new, better and more positive feelings with the company and brand that started it.”

Basically, disruptive marketing focuses on the consumer and not on the brand. Focus on ways to tailor your strategy to what is important to consumers instead of trying to convince your audience that your brand is something they need.

It changes the way consumers see advertising. It is not just a chance for brands to say “Look at me — you need this!” but rather a chance for brands to say “Hey consumers — we know you have X problem and we’ve solved it!”.

Why does disruptive marketing work?

As Patel says, “Disruptive marketing [works] because it changes the face of how we perceive advertising. If done well enough, it even becomes a part of our vocabulary. When was the last time you called a cab? When was the last time you called an Uber?”

When it comes to marketing, going the disruptive route will help you:

Connect to your customers

Where traditional marketing aims to simply reach your audience, disruptive strategies will help you engage with them on a more personal level. Disruptive marketing tells a story that your customers can easily understand and relate to.

Truth is — people love stories, and when your marketing feels like a story, your audience will be more interested in finding out what happens next.
Need some help in crafting a branded story? Check out these Six lessons in storytelling for PR professionals.

Shift your brand perception

When your marketing efforts are boring and plain, consumers get the impression that your brand is dull too.

By using disruptive marketing techniques, you’ll be able to shift the perception of your brand from ‘just another company selling products’ to someone who understands the consumers’ needs and who is able to fulfill them.

Prevent duplication

There’s nothing worse than seeing a competing brand using similar marketing efforts to you. This often leads to confused consumers mixing you up with your competitors. Disruptive marketing efforts will help to differentiate your brand, making sure you stand out from the rest.

Once you’ve made your move and shaken things up in your industry, no one can duplicate the effect that you’ve had. While they can try to do something similar, the effect will never be the same as their efforts will always been seen as a copy-cat version of the original.

What are some of the brands that you’ve seen successfully use disruptive marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments section below.

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*Image courtesy of Vecteezy