You’ve heard of Disruptive Marketing. It’s the idea that a brand can create a marketing message that either goes against the status quo or answers a needs that has yet to be acknowledged. It’s disruptive because it attempts to undermine what has been working for other brands…to make consumers think about what may be wrong with that traditional message and to start questioning their purchasing decisions.
That’s disruptive marketing—something that you, as a brand-builder and marketer may be considering for your next campaign message.
Here’s the thing: you’re not the only one considering it. Your competition could be just seconds away from releasing a disruptive campaign, meaning that you’re suddenly on the receiving end of that disruption. Your marketing will be disrupted. Your customers may start to question your approach, your message, your motivations…your brand.
So what is a dedicated brand-builder like yourself supposed to do when Disrupted Marketing lands your brand in a bad light? Should you fight back, with bigger and more damaging disruption? Should you ignore it, just trying to maintain your most loyal clients for the long haul? Knowing that there’s not much you can do because your competition has outsmarted you?
The answer to all these questions is NO.
I have the tactics you’ll need to survive and thrive in a market that’s been disrupted, and I’m sharing them here.
When Your Market has been Disrupted
We’ve talked in the past about turning your brand frown upside down. When bad things happen, we need to look for ways to not only recover, but to build our brands on the backs of those “bad” things. Because, let’s face it, what seems awful in the moment often ends up being pretty integral to the growth of our brands.
The same goes for disruptive marketing. When your own branding and marketing strategies are disrupted by the campaigns of others, it’s not time to get even…it’s time to get innovative. Here’s how:
- Qualify the “Gap.” You know your market. You know your ideal customer. And if you know them well enough, you know where the biggest needs and gaps lie. Focussing on these things, ask yourself why the competition has released that disruptive marketing campaign. Have they found a legitimate gap in your service? If so, look for ways to fill that gap in a unique and effective way. If that gap doesn’t really exist, and the competition is simply looking for ways to create faux criticisms of your brand, then do the next best thing to ignoring it: Ask for and publish more testimonials by satisfied customers…preferably about how well you’ve met all their needs.
- Legitimise Their New Audience. Marketers will often target a new niche audience, claiming that the industry is ignoring them, and promising to give them what they need. Often, this is true. Sometimes, it’s a ploy to attack brands who wouldn’t want to serve those people anyway. Ask yourself if the new audience, targeted by your competition, needs or wants what your brand is offering. If there’s a chance, then get in there and talk to them, to determine if they are, in fact, your ideal customers. You have two courses of action here: 1) Add them to your list and deliver in your brand’s unique way; 2) Let your disruptive competition find out (the expensive way) that these people aren’t interested in what they’re offering, either.
- Overlook the Price War. If a competitor can’t find legitimate shortcomings in your brand, they may attempt to disrupt the market by starting a price war (offering a comparable product at a lower price). I never advise that brands engage in price wars. What will happen after you drop your price below the competition’s? They may decide to drop theirs even further and then where are you? You’re left with reduced (and likely inadequate) profits and a competitor who is still cheaper than you. In a price war, everyone loses.
- Counteract Sabotage with Facts. Disruptive marketing is a valid and necessary tactic, when used conscientiously and with professionalism. However, there will always be those marketers who turn to lies and half-truths in an attempt to compete. If you find that your brand has been targeted by this behaviour, I always recommend finding mid-ground between feeling victimised and feeling the need to retaliate. Do not stoop to their level. Do not whine to your audience that you’re being attacked. Instead, go back to the core values of your brand and get to work, double-time, to demonstrate those values to your audience. Show your ideal customers that you trust them to decipher fact from fiction, and that confident, resolute truth will prevail.
Disruptive marketing has the power to bring about necessary change for all involved, including brands, consumers and the industry as a whole. However, when it’s used irresponsibly, damage can be done.
You can reduce that damage, and even build a stronger brand, by counteracting the disruption with strategic innovation.
So, I ask you: Will disruptive marketing leave your brand disrupted? Or will it inspire you to grow your brand in a way that strengthens against these types of external assaults? It’s your choice, and as always, the team at How to Build a Brand are ready with all the tools you’ll need. Click here to learn about our range of programmes.