In essence, disruptive marketing is similar to the dating game.
In the dating world, we often see that the men who do very well are those that do the complete opposite of what the average man does. In short, they constantly ask themselves: what would the average Joe do…And do something different!
Approached from the female perspective, put yourself in the heels of an attractive women and dating looks like this: massive amounts of attention, predictable and canned openers (hey, do I know you?), and spurting attempts to maintain bland conversation. Every woman will agree this results in feeling pestered and in turn, they reject most men.
And in a bizarre way, these same follies happen in the world of marketing with every consumer playing the role of that attractive women; an abundance of attention from tv, radio, and billboards ads, predictable ploys to “start a dialogue” with them through email or paid social, a lack of depth in messaging, and in turn a lot of pestering and rejection of brands.
Thus, it was only a matter of time before someone shook companies out of this stupor and got them back to the golden rule: always listen to your customer.
Fortunately, brands had a savior back in the 90’s. Seth Godin’s book, Permission Marketing, was a heaven sent: it addressed the build up of poor marketing over 90 years and how we needed to throwout every thing we knew and start again from the fundamentals.
At it’s roots, permission marketing is about creating a dialogue with customers instead of speaking at them. It’s about building a relationship where you can deliver personal & relevant info, and above all, long term value, rather than being tempted by short term sales, promotional ploys, and screaming about “deals, deals, deals!”
Which eventually lead to a swath of other good stuff: the birth of disruptive innovation, the Internet as a way to better prove ROI, growth hacking, Old Spice commercials…And now, Disruptive Marketing.
But what is it really?
At a brand level, it’s surprising and often counter-intuitive tips, tactics, and strategies to stand out and get your audience’s attention for the long term.
It’s being the most interesting person in the room so you can easily engage that beautiful women in the corner.
It’s true, that requires a certain mindset about marketing: to be experimental. But that’s the best part.
It means trying new ad campaigns or sales dev. strategies that will fail at times.
It means learning from those mistakes or lessons and applying those insights to the next “experiment” you launch.
And above all, it means a huge amount of creative firepower for every brand; just because a company successfully did it in the past, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for yours.
Why? Because of that golden rule: the other company listened to and defines their customer different than you. Or if they’re in the same industry, they define their customer with slightly different qualities and create a different relationship with them.
Granted, you can always Steal Like An Artist and “pull inspiration from many” so it is your own original idea. But the foundational rule is always there: listen & obsess about your customer.
Talk to them.
Get in their heads so you can hit the right emotional strings and start a real conversation. Not one built on canned openers.
To be unique, you have to be different.
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