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Disruptive Marketing: Is It a Smart Move for Your Small Business?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Disruptive Marketing Go Epps

More and more small businesses are turning to disruptive marketing to get people to pay attention to their brands.

Disruptive marketing used to be the purview of bigger, edgier companies like Apple and Red Bull. However, smaller businesses can make a significant impact in their local markets with a breakthrough idea.

The issue: A big innovative concept gone wrong can seriously harm a brand.

This article explains how to leverage disruptive marketing right to enjoy its full benefits without hurting your company‘s reputation.

How to Leverage Disruptive Marketing

Align Your Disruptive Marketing With Your Brand

Innovation isn’t just about coming up with fresh ideas. You need to develop concepts aligned with your brand’s identity that set it apart from competitors, and that resonate with the people in your target audience.

Start by asking yourself:

  • What does your brand stand for?

  • How does it view and interact with the world?

  • What is making you consider disruptive marketing?

Knowing these things can help you better understand the people you’re targeting and their expectations for your brand. It will focus your ideation process and help prevent developing campaigns that could alienate people.

Today, it’s not enough to just create cookie-cutter videos, images, and text. You must create meaningful cultural products that reflect your company’s beliefs and how it views the world while challenging people and standing out in a crowded media environment. Your product should pull people together who see the world similarly around your brand. To create that pull, you must understand their view of the world and your company.

Start by having conversations with your best customers. Ensure you include fresh concepts in your conversation to see how they react. This will help prevent your discussions from becoming an echo chamber.

Define Innovation

Many companies try doing innovative marketing without having a clear definition of what innovation looks like to them. It’s like trying to build a house without a plan. It typically goes very, very wrong. Many business owners also often equate innovation with creativity. Though related, the two concepts aren’t the same.

Creativity brings a new perspective to something. Innovation transforms creativity into something of value.

You need to incorporate creativity and innovation into a marketing effort for it to break through. You must keep in mind the difference between the two, as well.

Open Yourself to Fresh Thinking

Innovation begins with ideation. You and your team may need to come up with countless rough (and probably bad) ideas before coming up with one worth developing. Brainstorming is typically the best way to generate a lot of ideas quickly. Consider using improv exercises, word association, and mind-mapping in your brainstorming. Set rules so the activities don’t go too far afield.

When evaluating ideas, make sure you don’t rehash something already done. Check that they aren’t unrealistic, poorly focused, off-brand, or difficult to execute. Also, ensure ideas aren’t dangerous or could cause harm to your company’s reputation.

All Breakthroughs Aren’t Completely Original

It’s possible to develop innovative marketing ideas without being original. For instance, Uber didn’t invent the concept of hiring a driver and car—it made the process more efficient. Airbnb didn’t create short-term vacation rentals—it automated the process using software similar to that for booking hotels.

If your innovation brainstorms are coming up with nothing of value, consider a mix-and-match or mashup type of ideation. Perhaps there are big company ideas that could be highly innovative in your local marketplace.

If you don’t come up with an exciting concept right out of the gate, don’t give up. Just come up with fresh, new ways of thinking.

Ensure Executional Excellence

It can be tempting to speed the release of novel ideas to get to market fast.

Never skip steps or fail to test breakthrough campaigns. Mitigate risk as much as possible. You never want to go big, fail huge, and go home with your tail between your legs.

Remember: Innovation Isn’t Once-and-Done

Congratulations! You launched an extraordinary breakthrough marketing effort.

You can rest on your laurels, right?


Truly breakthrough organizations build a culture of innovation.

Your customers won’t be satisfied with a single breakthrough concept. They’ll become bored and seek out businesses that keep them engaged with fresh ideas. Find ways to extend your innovative campaigns through fresh content and executions, or make a point to have something new at the ready when your breakthrough effort begins to fade.

Committing to creating an innovative vision will lead your organization to the next level of success. It isn’t enough to break through once. You must have a plan for doing it over and over again.

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