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What’s the Deal With Disruptive Marketing and Should I Be a Disruptor?

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As marketers, we are always trying to stand out from the crowd. Enter: .

Think back to 20 years ago when Steve Jobs said that iPhones would replace computers. People didn’t believe him at the time, but I bet you are either reading this article on your phone or your phone is at least next to you. Steve Jobs’ claim is a perfect example of disruptive marketing.

I’m not a fan of buzzwords, but I am a fan of disruptive marketing. So much so that I recently came on board a disruptive marketing agency, Overit, as the Senior Marketing Director. Part of my role involves being a disruptor in the marketing industry, and with this article, I aim to help you become a disruptor. As disruptors, we need to be cutting-edge and unafraid so let’s explore how to do just that.

What exactly is disruptive marketing?

While innovative, disruptive marketing is also strategic. It goes against the status quo of traditional marketing tactics and reaches your in new and creative ways. Disruptive marketing resonates with your current customers and unlocks new audiences.

FYI, this is only for risk-takers. However, it’s an excellent opportunity to grow your rather quickly. It is not just about being unique to get attention; disruptive marketing should be paired with data and strategy — just like any other marketing technique.

To put it simply, disruptive marketing is the process of using new and original marketing strategies to reach your target consumers in a way that your competitors are not.

This type of marketing allows for a lot of creativity and, like all marketing strategies, can continually be refined by the data you collect from your efforts. This data is important because disruptive marketing involves experimenting, and some tactics will work while others won’t.

Disruptive marketing pushes boundaries and creates new norms. Strategies we have in our marketing toolboxes were once disruptive. Take influencer marketing for example, it once was a foreign way to get authentic brand recommendations, and now it’s a strategy that many brands implement.

If you want to be a disruptor, you can’t be afraid to fail. However, this type of marketing has the chance of going viral. Are you a risk-taker like me?

Why should my marketing be disruptive?

The modern-day consumer is quite intelligent. They know when they’re being “marketed” and are sick of the traditional norms. Disruptive marketing involves you doing something unique to allow you to stand out in an over-saturated industry.

Consumers value innovation. In fact, they expect it. There is a sea of repetitive marketing trends out there, and your target audience craves something different. This type of marketing makes your products or services stay top-of-mind by being unique and memorable.

The top 10 disruptive marketing tips

Have I convinced you to be a disruptor yet? If so, I’ve streamlined the top 10 tips I use in my disruptive marketing efforts. Write them out on a sticky note and post them on your monitor so you can always remind yourself how to be disruptive.

  • Stay up to date with trends and success stories
  • A/B test different strategies
  • Capture data and implement the insights you glean from it
  • Consult your buyer personas to ensure you’re reaching your target audience
  • Challenge current marketing assumptions and do the opposite
  • Speak to consumer pain points
  • Embrace technology
  • Follow disruptive thought leaders for inspiration
  • Be unusual but not bizarre
  • Implement storytelling best practices

Examples of disruptive marketing

Uber appalled people when they announced that they came out with an app in which people essentially get into a stranger’s car. Today, there are competing apps, and “ubering” is part of our English language.

Bitcoin is the world’s largest bank but has no actual cash. That didn’t stop them. They kept promoting their values and honed in on target consumers who don’t trust traditional banks, and now look at how far they’ve come.

came out with its first commercial in 2011 and flipped the entire razor industry on its head. They studied what consumers were looking for, addressed those pain points in a brand new way, and the rest is history.

REI took a risk and set itself apart from other brands vying for consumers to spend money on Black Friday. In 2015, they started #OptOutside and discouraged consumers from shopping at their store on the biggest consumer spending day of the year. Many consumers actually respected this stance, which clearly didn’t hurt business because REI still encourages consumers to opt outside on Black Friday.

In 2015, HBO released their HBO Go app. Instead of pushing typical pain points like watching HBO from anywhere, they released a commercial of a family watching awkward HBO shows together. They then showed how the family went to different rooms in the house to avoid awkward viewing. They thought outside the box, and it worked.

Air Wick implemented disruptive marketing with their Scent Decorator quiz. They invite consumers to take quizzes to find the perfect home scents. Typically, people want actually to smell something before purchasing, but Air Wick found a way around that, and they did it successfully.

A balance between traditional and disruptive

Disruptive marketing creates quick impact and brand awareness. However, this strategy doesn’t mean you throw traditional marketing out the door.

There is a balance between holding onto traditional marketing that works and using your tried and true strategies to power your disruptive efforts.

Like traditional marketing, when implementing disruptive marketing, look at things like the consumer’s journey, pain points, value propositions, etc., when allocating your time and budget for 2023.

Final thoughts: How to be disruptive with your content

So much of modern-day marketing is content-driven. Naturally, some of your disruptive marketing efforts will be rooted in content. After all, 91% of brands use content marketing, bringing in 6 times as many leads as traditional marketing at 62% of the cost.

A great place to start with disruptive marketing is through your content.

User Generated Content is popular and effective. Consider challenging your audience to post content about your brand with a theme that gets people’s attention. You can then promote your UGC using marketing strategies that you already use.

The beauty of content creation is that it allows you to experiment with disruptive marketing. Look at your competitors’ typical blog posts and publish the opposite. Be bold. Be experimental.

Same with the content you put on social media. Do something risky and measure the results against your other social posts.

You don’t have to re-work your entire marketing strategy, you just need to not be afraid to be different and think outside the box.

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