innovation in marketing
No matter what area of
marketing you work in, I can bet you’ve heard the term “disruptive innovation”
at least once. I mean, at least once before now. If you’ve gotten a ride
through Ola, pay the money through PAYTM, watched a movie on Netflix, then
you’ve participated in disruption, even if you weren’t aware of it at the time.
Disruptive Innovation and Marketing has become so commonplace in our business
world. Before disruptive marketing started to take shape, disruption started
elsewhere, in innovation. This concept has been around for a much longer time
than disruptive marketing.
What is disruptive innovation and marketing?
Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Harvard professor Clayton
Christensen in 1997, though the actual process has been around much longer. It
is defined in the Harvard business review as “a process whereby a
smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge
established incumbent businesses.” They overtake the market, succeed, and
become the new world order.
great examples of disruptive innovation include:
The transistor radio,
which overtook the analog radio
The pocket calculator,
which overtook the desktop calculator
The telephone, which
overtook the telegraph
Cell phones, which
have mostly overtaken home phones
Disruption is different from innovation. Disruptors
and innovators are similar in that they’re both creating and making ideas,
items, products or services. However, the main difference is that a disruptor
doesn’t just create something new or improve upon a process; they literally
change the industry and alter the way we think, behave, and act about a certain
idea, item, product, or service.
innovations make things accessible. They take things that only a certain
segment of the population could attain, and find a way to distribute it to the
masses. So, what does this have to do with disruptive marketing? Well, disruptive
marketing uses the same idea, where it takes something people used to do, and
approaches it differently.
Brands that use disruptive marketing take everything
they knew about traditional marketing and threw it out with the bath water.
Brands used marketing in a more unapproachable way, but these days, the
consumers want to be a part of the conversation. They want access. Disruptive
marketing gives them that access. It connects consumers with brands on a more
Reviewing some examples of disruptive marketing helps
solidify the understanding of it. Brands have used this so effectively that
it’s completely shifted the world’s perception of them. It has taken brands
from laughed at to convert. That’s some powerful stuff. Disruptive marketing
gets people’s attention by being different and taking risks. It embraces
concepts that are outside of the norm. It even sometimes has some shock value.
That’s the factor that forces people to stop and look. It innovates. Not only
does it encourage people to think about things differently, it analyzes data
that might not normally be given the time of day.
Disruptive marketing can take a simple, everyday
something with not much excitement, and make it engaging and unique
and something the consumer needs. It makes them want to be a part of that story
and take part in what the brand has to offer. One of the greatest things about
disruptive marketing is that it’s unique to a brand. It’s so different that if
any other brand tries to market itself in the exact same way as the original
brand using that marketing, they’ll be dismissed. They’ll be considered
copycats and ignored. Disruptive marketing sets your company up as an
individual brand with a specific image that no one else can duplicate.
Is OLA is a
Let’s consider OLA, the much-feted
transportation company whose mobile application connects consumers who need
rides with drivers who are willing to provide them. Founded in December 3rd
2010, the company has enjoyed fantastic growth (it operates in hundreds of
cities in and is still expanding). It has reported tremendous financial success
(the most recent funding round implies an enterprise value in the vicinity of
$30 billion). And it has spawned a slew of imitators (other start-ups are
trying to emulate its “market-making” business model). OLA is clearly
transforming the auto business in India. But is it disrupting the
other vehicle business? Ola
provides different types of service, ranging from economic to luxury travel.
The cabs are reserved through a mobile app and the
service accepts both cash and cashless payments with Ola money. It
claims to clock an average of more than 150,000 bookings per day and commands
60% of the market share in India. November 2014 Ola also started
on-demand auto rickshaw service on its mobile app in Bangalore, Pune and now
available in 73 cities.
PAYTM was founded and incubated by One97
Communications Limited in 2010 as a prepaid mobile recharge website. In an
interview, its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma related how he was
inspired during a visit to China when he saw vegetable vendors using their
mobile phones to receive payments from some customers. This led to him
establishing PAYTM wallet in 2013. In 2013, the company launched PAYTM Wallet,
which became India’s largest mobile payment service platform with over 150
million wallets and 75 million Android-based app downloads as of November 2016.
The surge in usage of the service was largely due to the demonetization of the
500 and 1000 rupee currency notes. After 8 November 2016, PAYTM’s transactions
and profit increased significantly. PAYTM has invested $5 million in auto
rickshaw aggregator and hyper local delivery firm JUGNOO. It has also acquired
Delhi-based consumer behavior prediction platform Shift for $8 million and
local services startup Near.in for $2 million to $3million.
NETFLIX is an American entertainment company founded
by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph on August 29, 1997,
in Scotts Valley, California. It specializes in
and provides streaming
media and video-on-demand online and DVD by mail. In 2013,
Netflix expanded into film and television production as
well as online distribution. It is headquartered in Los Gatos,
Netflix’s initial business model included DVD sales
and rental, although Hastings jettisoned DVD sales about a year after Netflix’s
founding to focus on the DVD rental by mail business. In 2007,
Netflix expanded its business with the introduction of streaming media, while
retaining the DVD and Blu-ray rental service. The company expanded
internationally, with streaming made available to Canada in 2010 and
continued growing its streaming service from there; by January 2016, Netflix
services operated in over 190 countries. This
wasn’t enough for Netflix to disrupt the video rental industry. They then set
their sights on going after the broadcast cable subscription based industry by
also providing their own original content (movies and television series) that
are only available for streaming on Netflix. In a study from Forrester
Research, they found that 18% of the U.S. population has never signed up for
traditional pay-tv service (called cord-nerves), while another six percent have
cut the cord by canceling their cable or satellite subscription. What’s more is
that nearly half of the digital cord-nerves use Netflix or YouTube.13 It
appears, for the moment at least, that the fate of TV is now in Netflix’s
disruptive marketing into our strategy
One of the
biggest underlying trends you can find in disruptive marketing is that it
attempts to engage with and relate to the consumer. In order to have a
successful disruptive campaign, you need to start with stepping into the
consumer’s shoes. What do they need? What do they want? How do they spend their
days? Refine your audience. Make your target specific.
Thinking outside the box is crucial. Now that you have
considered the needs of your audience as they pertain to your business, how can
you reach them on a different level? What won’t they expect? How can they use
your product in a way they didn’t think they could before? What makes it a
bigger part of their day? What will make them think of your brand as human?
With so many genius campaigns out there, it can be tempting to follow a similar
format to something that’s been done. However, you need to be unique. Don’t be
afraid to take risks. No risk, no reward. Go guerilla. Create something that
forces your audience to feel a strong emotion, whether it’s anger or fear
or sadness or awkwardness.
Whether you’ve got a team of creative minds able to
work on an unexpected idea or if you hire a highly rated marketing firm, you’ll
find there are plenty of rewards to reap when you incorporate this type of
marketing. With so many brands realizing the power of social engagement and the
need for a human element, we’re only going to see disruptive marketing grow and
evolve. Who knows, maybe your brand could be the next big thing everyone’s
Disruptive innovation is going to continue to occur in every industry.
It is critical that you explore emerging tactics that adopt processes and
attracts leaders and companies who are open to change, challenge the status
quo, and never stop thinking of ways to innovate and improve. The principles of
disruptive innovation allow companies to take a step back and analyze their
current products and services, what areas can be improved, where an opportunity
exists in consumer needs that can benefit from an innovative solution and more.
By adopting all or some of these principles, you may find that your business
isn’t just thriving within the industry, but completely changing the way things
are done within the industry.