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Why is market “disruption” causing such an uproar in the marketing world? And more importantly, how should brands be responding to it?

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Dieter Hovorka

CTO, Co-founder, Skillz Middle East

Brand Management must see facts

Let’s explore what “disruption” means in marketing.

Disruption refers to two major marketing trends: the rapid evolution of technology and the shifting consumer expectations that coincide with it; and the creative, game-changing ways that brands respond to those new demands.

Disruptive technologies (e.g. mobile, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things) are forcing brands out of their comfort zones. Companies of all sizes are now reinventing their business models to beat the odds in an increasingly competitive market. In taking advantage of emerging technology, those disruptive brands are outperforming competitors by offering better, faster, brand-new services to their market.

Disruption is now a constant. It speeds up every single day. Think of Moore’s Law, which explains the exponential growth in technology and the decreasing relative costs. If your brand isn’t keeping up with these changes, your customers will move on to a competitor that is.

What does that mean for brands? We’re no longer waiting for brand disruption to happen… We’re in the midst of it, and there’s no time to wait.

Here are some ways that your brand can create a ruckus in an ever-changing market:

Breaking Through the Innovation Barrier

Old habits die hard… Brands may find letting go of legacy marketing platforms and old-fashioned marketing tactics difficult.

To be disruptive, you have to challenge conventional ways of reaching your audience and be willing to take chances. Disruptive brands leave more room for trial and error in their marketing processes. They are more willing to test new tactics and technology, and will shift course quickly as needed.

But before they experiment with new tactics, brands have to accomplish the most difficult goal: identifying white space opportunities and how they can capitalize on them.

Breaking through the innovation barrier requires brands to identify gaps and opportunities presented by emerging technology, and more importantly, how they can offer a new or improved solution to address them. So, brands must analyze their target markets and technology trends early and often. Disruptive brands make doing that a priority, and they are more willing to break tradition and invest in opportunities that competitors deem too risky.

Consider the Dollar Shave Club, a five-year-old start-up recently bought by Unilever for $1 billion. How did a razor-selling start-up upend the shaving industry and achieve so much success in such little time? By identifying a risky but popular market gap (the high cost of razors) and using technology (Amazon Web Services) to establish an ecommerce business that skyrocketed to popularity with help from creative positioning (a free, hilarious ad on YouTube that takes a completely different approach compared to Gillette and Schick).

The 1:1 Customer Relationship

Marketers often get caught up in purchasing technology to promote self-serving messages, but they should be focusing on the value they provide to their audience.

The most disruptive brands are masters at tailoring their message across all media because they understand that there’s a person on the other side of the screen. They acknowledge that consumers are now looking for a more meaningful, personalized experience at the brand awareness stage and throughout the entire customer journey. Brands must clearly define their customer journey and use the appropriate marketing automation tools for each step in the process.

Unfortunately, many marketers still have a silo mentality in regards to marketing automation, which can make it difficult to keep campaigns personal.

To ensure that marketing automation keeps your marketing outreach on track without making it impersonal, you need to make sure your brand is using the right automation tools for each segment of the customer journey.

Effective marketing automation ensures your brand stays in front of your audience members without annoying them, and it builds trust and engagement with the right demographics—two crucial components of brand disruptiveness.

Making Decisions Based on Data

Whether you’re a brand activation agency fine-tuning a creative brand campaign or an ecommerce business analyzing customer buying behavior, data analysis plays a huge role in brand disruption. Here’s why: companies are just now scratching the surface of data analytics, using both unstructured and structured data to discover valuable trends, opportunities, and consumer insights.

New analytics tools make it possible to analyze sophisticated text-based data, which can include anything from online customer reviews to emails. Brands that invest in data analytics can easily spot customer behavioral trends, identify areas for improvement in products and services, and glean insight about what their customers want.

In other words, data analytics is a gold mine for identifying disruptive market opportunities and capitalizing on them.

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Market disruption is how brave brands set new standards for their industries. No one can guarantee success when you go against the norm and break marketing traditions, but we can say that with great risk comes great reward. Disrupt or be disrupted.

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