Marketing Disruptions and Innovation

10 May

Marketing has talked about using SWOTs to find that USP (unique selling proposition) for years, but change to the process is at work, and its called disruption.

Disruption Marketing is about creating new opportunities and possibly shaking up the norm.

The concept isnt that new, but the approach is becoming more main stream as a strategy. When radio came along, many said it was the print trade killer, then there was television, then the internet. Few innovations can dry up an industry, but in certain situations thats been the case.

Industries like music, banking, print media, photography and more have all experienced a disruption in the last decade. Take the music industry as an example. Apple was a big disruptor with the advent of iTunes and the iPod. Not long ago if you wanted new music you would walk into the store and purchase what youre after. Now its difficult to even find a music store. Shops like HMV are closing, and the music section at Best Buy keeps shrinking.

The interesting thing about the shift with music is how other revenue streams spawned as a result. While licensing of music had always existed, it became more prevalent in ads, games and film (B2B) as much of the lucrative younger consumer segment was increasing their use of file sharing. Additionally, there was a time a consumer had to purchase the entire CD (or cassette/album) and the digital download shift permitted the purchase of individual tracks. At first it seems a 99 cent song purchase might canabalize the market, but the lower cost reduce the barriers to purchasing, and the volume of song sales likely offsets to difference in sale price for an entire CD/album. But the biggest gains in digital downloads are likely the reduced cost of distribution. Rather than shipping truckloads of CDs all over, they exist in the cloud through a purchase from iTunes, Amazon, or even Walmart.

One instance that really changed the market is home video. In the early 90s we rented VHS (or Beta) and that evolved to DVD, but now its near impossible to find a place to rent a DVD (and most of the Blockbuster stores have closed in the last few years) and the shift to digital downloads or on demand has taken over. Another being the advent of digital cameras, forcing Kodak to realign its game plan after probably 100 years of business.

Great ideas can disrupt business as usual, as its difficult to stop what people want to have.

Further examples of disruptive innovation and the shift taking place:

Marketers need to consider how tech changes affect purchase behaviour, how the web has empowered (and added complexity) to customers lives, and how businesses can adapt to thrive in our new connected world.

Many of the recent success stories in business are based on a disruptive marketing approach, from Groupon and  Airbnb to SalesForce and more. Shaking up how business is done is becoming a competitive advantage to new startups for some time, and its on the rise. Even Facebook would fall into this category with the way its changed how millions engage and interact through social media.

A disruptive approach can also be part of a brand strategy, take Apples cube store in New York. Its the most popular tourist destination in the city (surpassing the statue of liberty) and the 28th most photographed landmark on earth.

Todays brands are taking disruption to the digital front, where marketing is more cost effective and proving to provide a better ROI than their analog predecessors. A disruption thats started is mobile, but did you know that by 2016 over 1 billion smartphones and tablets will be in peoples hands? Prepare for a BIG shift in the next few years. Some are saying this is the new mode of doing business, and I tend to agree.


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