Disruptive Marketing: How To Make Your Brand A Conversation-Starter

Disruptive marketing campaigns involve risk-taking and close-to-the-bone content. It’s about re-shaping existing ideas of how things should be done.

72% of marketers said that having a good content strategy was a major key to their success in 2018. So how can you take your existing content and run with it?

There are two main types of disruptive marketing: New-Market Disruption and Low-End Disruption.

New-Market Disruption targets customers who have needs that existing companies are not serving.

A great example of new-market disruptive marketing is the very first launch of Apple iTunes in 2001. At this time, physical singles stopped being released and file-sharing sites were being regulated. To combat this, iTunes allowed users to purchase singles online for the very first time.

Low-End Disruption is more for customers who don’t need all the features at the high end of an existing market.

For example, the introduction of laptops versus the traditional desktop computer.

But disruptive marketing doesn’t have to be as wide as a new product idea.

It can simply start with your social media posts. Think about current trends or affairs and turn them on their head; play with what you are usually expected to do.

Some of the best marketing campaigns have used disruptive marketing.

Find out more about strategy for your disruptive marketing campaign by reading our guides on video marketing and content distribution.


Ways to pursue disruptive marketing
‘Taboo’ content

In 2017, Poundland launched a £25 (yes – just £25!) budget campaign, ‘Elf Behaving Badly’.

Elf Behaving Badly parodied other Elf on a Shelf campaigns by using lewd and controversial messaging. Resultingly, the campaign received 80 complaints. It was also banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

However, the ban created a ‘storm in a teacup’ – meaning it provoked interest and conversation. This is clear disruptive marketing.

The campaign also fits with the brand itself. A discount retailer appeals to the everyday consumer looking for the best discounts.

Fittingly, Poundland’s daring responses to the ASA ban was likely to amuse their target market for its colloquial and comedic approach.


Poke fun at existing trends

Like Poundland’s campaign, a way to approach disruptive marketing is to parody what other brands are doing.

When a play-it-safe brand’s activity is picked apart by a disruptive brand, consumers in the market question which one they should be paying attention to.

Changing people’s opinions is the definition of disruptive!


Take advantage of current affairs

Sometimes we all need a balance between humour and despair.

When the news doesn’t look any brighter with each day, or there’s any joke to be pulled from a story – it’s the perfect time for a brand to jump in.

A recent example of this type of disruptive marketing comes from Flight Centre. The company ingeniously bagged an ad spot on the perfect page in this newspaper.

Another example is Oreo’s finger being lightning quick on the pulse and taking advantage of the Super Bowl power cut in 2018.



Oreo’s ad is also a demonstration of moment marketing.

Moment marketing uses moments in real time to shape marketing content. If you like, it ‘disrupts’ the line between online and offline events.

This makes the brand seem like it’s really ‘there’ with the consumer, and therefore more familiar and appealing.


Fun social media interaction

We all know brand’s social media posts are usually one person behind a computer and not the CEO.

However, the amount of time most of us spend on social media means that a brand-customer interaction can greatly impact our attitudes.

A popular method of disruptive marketing is to reply to complaints with cheeky defensive responses. This creates the effect of everyday banter with a mate. Here’s an example from Tesco:

Tesco presents itself as a brand to be trusted and enjoyed with its humourous response. Twitter users can’t resist a good comeback tweet.

As a result, tweets like this often gain more retweets and replies. In turn, they’ll reach a lot more people.


So, there you have it – just a few ways to do disruptive marketing and make your brand a real conversation-starter.

Remember, the ‘best practices’ are always going to be effective. That said, it’s always worth it to take risks and make your marketing a bit more exciting.

Go on – push the envelope just that bit further.


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