“Disruptive” is a term that gets bandied about in the startup world. It implies innovation, a change from the norm, asking people to broaden their horizons and change the way they think. In marketing, a “disruptive marketing strategy” stops the traditional cycle of business-to-consumer information and replaces it with actions that put the consumer in control of how they are marketed to and what they see. Consumers are given the opportunity to decide what, and how much, they wish to interact with products and the companies that provide them.
On the surface, disruptive strategies such as inbound marketing appear to give the consumer so much control that they feel to risky for entrepreneurs to attempt – and it does sacrifice a certain amount of control to the customer, but that’s the point.
By giving over the need to command their consumers’ attention directly, businesses gain control over the broader spectrum of your customer’s interests, which gives you the chance to create a personal, ongoing relationship with your customer.
That personal relationship is the key to developing brand loyalty and making sales over the long term. By engaging with customers as people who have questions and concerns, businesses gain the trust and respect of their clients. Those clients, in turn, share content that moves and interests them, purchase more overall, and recommend businesses to their friends. They become an exponentially growing, evergreen marketing machine for you at no extra cost.
Content marketing also allows consumers to come to your brand when they are already primed to buy. When a customer does an internet search for that thing your company does, it’s because they are already considering it, or have determined they need it in their lives. They have the remarkable ability to search the internet to find highly specific iterations of what they think they need as well as answers to any of their questions. The nature of the way the internet works – through sharing information across cultures and borders – has already disrupted the traditional advertising cycle. With the help of modern tools including social sharing, search engines, email filters, and ad blockers, your customers have already taken control of the B2C relationship. That’s the playground you’re playing in.
So. How do you do that? By filling the internet with information about what your company is about, you appear higher in the search rankings of people who are already looking for your services. That cuts out a lot of the time you would normally spend waiting on and courting people who are curious, but ultimately are only window shopping – while you lose the interest of the customers who matter. Customers that are ready to buy will be able to approach you directly, and the window shoppers will have enough will begin to develop their own relationship with you. And, because they’ve been reading your blog and following your social media accounts, your name will be the first one that comes to mind when they are ready to buy, empowering both immediate and long-term sales.
Businesses can disrupt the cycle of direct advertising by stepping outside the constant barrage of direct marketing. By simply appearing in all the places that their customers might – in the capacity of a company that is friendly, helpful, and interested in the best interests of their customer – businesses can speak directly with customers, engage with them on their level, and start to create a bond that runs deeper than a slogan.