Although Disruptive Marketing sounds like an aggressive marketing technique it simply refers to a marketing approach that disrupts current messages and causes a break in the existing patterns of behaviour of a target audience. Essentially this means doing something different in order to get consumers to stop and pay attention to your product, something which is becoming increasingly difficult in the current culture of bombardment marketing.
This approach could take the form of an out of place presentation of/within an advertisement, contrasting messaging, unusual placement, or an intensely targeted message. The more creative your technique, the better. The aim is to surprise and delight!
Apple’s iTunes is perhaps one of the best examples of a disruptive innovation. Created when stores had stopped selling single’s on CD and consumers didn’t want to buy a whole album on CD, iTunes presented consumers with the opportunity to buy just a single song, as opposed to multiple songs they didn’t want to listen to. Needless to say not only did they fill that gap in the market, they created a multi-million dollar product that continues to expand to meet the needs of consumers.
Another example is Airbnb, which met consumer desire for private, low budget accommodation alternatives to hotels and resorts. It is now the fastest growing accommodation company in the world.
The best way to create a disruptive product or disruptively market a product is to listen to consumers and find out what they want, this is called ‘social listening’. Look for gaps within the market and needs that are not being filled. Look at the methods that are currently being used to market products or services and try and find a different or uncommon method. It is important to act quickly, to capitalise current event then you must be confident in your message or it will loose it’s impact.
Disruptive Marketing Successes:
During the infamous Super Bowl Blackout in 2013, Oreo made light of the blackout by tweeting “you can still dunk in the dark,” bringing their product to the forefront and making fun of the blackout simultaneously.
Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London was rebranded the “Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5” and Samsung filled every inch of advertising space with Galaxy S5 promotions, bombarding the people in the terminal with their advertising. In an age where people learn to tune out the myriad of different advertisements they are exposed to, it is impossible to miss an entire terminal covered in the same advertisements.
Another example is Uber. Not only is the business itself a disruptive innovation, providing an excellent alternate to the taxi industry, the company are brilliant disruptive marketers. Every few months they have a day where they raise money for a different cause or charity by delivering something unique and exciting. Two examples of this are “Uber Puppies day” where puppies were delivered to office buildings for “snuggle time” and “Uber Ice Cream Friday” where half a litre of ice cream was delivered to locations across the nation. Uber is a service many people love because it’s a cheaper alternative to taxis and the drivers are renowned for providing a much superior experience to taxis. These campaigns where they bring people things they love whilst supporting a good cause are fantastic example of disruptive marketing.
Aims of Disruptive Marketing:
- To create a campaign that will be remembered or even become iconic, for example Coca Cola’s “share a coke with a friend.” Designed to encourage people to share a bottle of Coke with their friends, consumers made this campaign about having a bottle of Coke with your own name on it. Everyone, even non-Coke drinkers wanted to have a personalised bottle of Coke. Coca-Cola accepted this twist to their campaign and even created a website where people with unusual names could have a bottle of Coke with their name on it sent to them. Many people still have these personalised bottles despite the campaign only running for a short period of time.
- Improve brand perception, for example anyone that had a negative perception of Uber, that perhaps thought they were killing off the taxi industry, would see that they are a socially conscious company and happy to support good causes.
- Increase brand awareness. Uber’s specialty days is perfect example of this. They bring Uber into the media in a positive light every few months, to combat the continuous negative press they used to receive in their battle to become legal.
Overall disruptive marketing can be an incredibly effective marketing tool. Today consumers are used to being saturated with advertising, and as a result have become very adept at blocking this advertising out, a disruptive marketing, when successful, is one way to get a to break through the noise and get that all important engagement.
Author: Jane Toohey
Jane is an expert in communications, brand development, integrated marketing and digital strategy. Everything Jane does is geared towards helping companies grow their business and generate new opportunities. Having provided strategic solutions for many businesses over a long and accomplished career, Jane’s passion is watching and encouraging entrepreneurial success.