Over 75% of screen time is now spent on connected devices. This has led to digital strategies moving front and center in most marketing plans. But trying to get consumers to do more than “like” your company on social media is still a huge challenge. Today, getting through to customers can take some radical rethinking — and that is where “disruptive marketing” comes in. But what does that mean?
Disruptive marketing is “the place where selling is dead, but on-going conversation thrives; where consumers generate the best content about brands; where people tune out noise and listen to feelings,” says Geoffrey Colon, a communications designer at Microsoft. Colon is also the author of the book “Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal.”
Colon has helped many companies approach their marketing strategy from a design-centric point of view. He wants large and small companies alike to realize how technology is reshaping behavior and changing both the market itself, and the marketing approaches that work — and how all this change can be a good thing for large and small businesses alike. Here are some of his takeaways:
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- The world is about conversations, not narratives.
“Too many people still think marketing it’s about talking, talking and more talking,” Colon says. “Amplification is overrated. The best marketers are the best listeners and observers. They pick up what people like or don’t like by being more of a beacon and radar receiver than a loudspeaker. They look at conversations about their competition and their line of business. They become knowledgeable about industries, rather than simply about their own company.” Marketers who push their own agenda all the time are comparable to used cars salespeople. Marketers who can talk about the industry they’re in and how it will evolve in the context of the larger world will attract audience, conversation, fans — and ultimately, customers — because they’re perceived as sincere, open, honest and authentic.
- Think about how people behave (or rather, misbehave) and realize the world doesn’t act or react in linear customer journeys, or at scale.
Many think “disruption” is always centered on technology. But technology is simply the tool used to deliver the experience. “Disruption occurs because people want solutions and disruptive marketers are listening in order to help provide that,” Colon says. “If you still follow the blueprint that marketing is a linear journey visualized as a funnel that inexorably leads to a sale, you’ve misunderstood how people behave and misbehave in our nomadic fast-paced interconnected culture. Also, just because people behave one way in one country or culture doesn’t mean they will behave that way in another. Marketers who learn this will have a distinct advantage.”
- The best marketing is analog, experiential and in the physical world.
As Colon attests, too many marketers think all they have to do is use Hubspot, Google Analytics, Radian 6 and other “digital tools” and they’ll be up to date and do fine. But people don’t live on the Web. “We live in physical spaces that can be shared amongst various digital avenues,” Colon says. ”Tools are mainly useful as measurement devices. They help us get a handle on what may be happening online — but they are poor barometers of human behavior in the real world. This is why the best marketing takes place with tangible items that can be shared (vinyl, 3D printing, street art) or amongst groups of people (conferences, events) that may be promoted online, but still take place in the physical realm.” Although we certainly live more of our lives on the Internet as a society these days, because we are social animals, we crave shared experiences with people, in person. These face-to-face experiences ultimately end up being shared within circles of influence that include many people who were not actually there, but because of their personal connection to the participants, feel like they share the experience.
In short, the best marketing is the least conspicuous attempts to sway others; it is based instead on genuine listening, honest responses, transparency, and ultimately, human interactions. So “disruptive marketing” is, at its core, a return to the personal with an online twist.
This article was written by Kate Harrison from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.