There are many articles written on Shock Marketing, Edgy Marketing and Out-of-the-Box thinking and techniques.

All of these approaches are worth considering, particularly if your Marketing efforts are not delivering the desired results (consistently).

These approaches may be elements of Disruptive Marketing. Disruptive Marketing is simply doing things uncharacteristically.

Not for the purpose of being different, but for the purpose of making a difference. Effectiveness and adapting to change are the drivers of Disruptive Marketing. The traditional formula should not be thrown away, however it must be modified and complimented, with other approaches/techniques that meet the demands of changing Market needs and requirements.

There is an old expression: When one thing changes, everything changes.

That statement could encompass the changing competitive landscape, new product introductions, pricing and packaging models, sales tactics, positioning & messaging, shifts in customer focus, media influences, distribution mix and a variety of other influential factors.
The real issue is identifying that something is changing in your core Market and Business and, most importantly – What will you do about it?

Background Work

The first step is to do the investigative work to unquestionably define and confirm that there are critical dynamics changing that will impact your business.

Avoid hearsay and putting importance on anecdotes and “war stories” that may reflect isolated and discrete situations.

Reacting to these elements only results in wandering aimlessly or “chasing shadows.” (Some of this may end-up being FUD = Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt perpetuated by your esteemed Competition)

Take your interests to the “Outside World” – interview key customers and prospects (including those that bought from your competition), interface with Industry Groups that have knowledge and expertise in your core Industry/Market, hire a domain expert that has a solid grasp on the changing dynamics and trends that will affect your business – today and tomorrow.

Factor-in the make-up of your competitors’ approach and Marketing mix – taking into consideration any major changes they have introduced to positioning, messaging, sales tactics, etc.

This does not have to be a long, drawn-out research effort.

Your small-to-medium sized business cannot tolerate that.

Allow roughly 30-45 work days to complete this phase – no more, however get it done. It is the foundation that will fuel your Marketing Platform and subsequent Program mix.

And, provide the insight to determine if Disruptive Marketing is justified.

Document your results – draw in your key people to interpret and pinpoint the critical success areas.

At this stage, identify the TOP 3 that you will focus and concentrate on. Most firms cannot handle anymore than three, no matter what the investigative work yields.

Litmus Test

Take the results of the background work and map them onto your current Market Program Plan and where you are putting your emphasis (and Program Budget).

Be hard and judgmental, at this stage.

We are looking for “big swings” and changes, as compared to little tweaks to your current Marketing Program.

You would not be reading this article, if a few minor adjustments would put you back on-track.
Characterize and profile how the input and decisions from the background work will be assimilated into your revised Marketing Program Plan.

At this stage – go back to many of the sources that fueled the background work and run these “interpretations,” by them. This will not only validate and legitimize your findings, it will also set-up the game and the potential buying audience.

Market Program Execution

It is time to put your hard knocks work into practice, however start on a Pilot Test basis, with a few well-thought out “marginal” target accounts.

This will allow you to determine how well the Program will work and iron-out the chinks, before you go full implementation. This is where Disruptive Marketing can be introduced.

Disruptive Marketing means a few things:

1) It must be something that has not been done in your Target Segment (especially by direct competitors)

2) It must be Innovative not Imitative