Chief Strategy Officer, Laura Luckman Kelber leads Sandstorm's team of strategists with wisdom from her 20 years of marketing experience. Combining seemingly disparate ideas to solve a problem, Laura unearths unexpected insights to help clients’ fuel their success.
Developing Your Marketing Strategy: Evolution vs. Disruption
Disruption is all the rage. I can't even count the number of clients who have asked for a “disruptive” marketing campaign. Disruption can be a powerful tactic, but only when it makes sense.
Why do you want to be disruptive?
That's the first question I ask clients, but it's not the only one. These are just a few of the questions you need to answer to gauge your capability for a disruptive campaign:
What is going on in your industry? Your organization?
Do you have the talent, capital, and resources to completely revolutionize your business? And not just for the next quarter or two, but for the next 3-5 years.
Will your target market understand this move?
How many current customers will you lose when you go through this monumental change? How many will you gain?
I know, it’s harder than ever to attract audience attention: Microsoft estimates that our average attention span is eight seconds, down 33 percent since 2000. With unicorns like Uber, Airbnb and Bitcoin causing tectonic shifts of entire industries everyday, no wonder there’s a mad rush to disrupt.
When’s the right time to shake things up?
The challenge is transforming your brand and industry without the epic fail of New Coke or Crystal Pepsi.
SandstormⓇ has helped clients develop disruptive marketing campaigns, including Holden’s disruption of the sales training industry. Holden noticed that traditional training methods had lost their potency and clients needed faster ways to onboard their sales force. Holden borrowed from the eLearning space, crafting software and utilizing gamification to transform their one-time training class into a revolutionary habit-changing tool.
Notice from where their idea of disruption came: an observation of their customers’ repeated struggles with ineffective techniques. Additionally, they understood the equity they had built with their Power Base Selling Methodology and instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, they reinvented how they taught effective behaviors. And instead of just changing their marketing message, they also fundamentally changed how they went to market with their campaign.
Do you need disruption or just an evolution?
It’s not the trendy thing to say, but oftentimes an evolution is more appropriate and pragmatic than disruption. We’ve seen many clients focus their attention on overall business growth and product development to align with their clients’ needs only to neglect the marketing that attracts a wider audience to their innovations. They may lose perspective on their marketing for months or years at a time. When they begin to sense that something is going wrong, they call us to discuss a brand refresh. Sometimes a complete rebrand is required because their business and market has evolved beyond their existing brand equity.
When SandstormⓇ gets these marketing strategy requests, we dive into the brand’s existing equities and look at how they match the marketplace. We look outside of their category to garner inspiration and talk to their users, current customers, and potential customers. We find white space for them that is unique to what, how, and why they do what they do. This might be a radical evolution or a minor shift, but either way it creates momentum for their business and helps them grow effectively.
So, before you’re lured by the siren call of disruption, think about what disruption really means for your business. Has the landscape shifted so much that you need to change business model or do you just need to evaluate what you have and pivot?
To discuss the benefits of evolution vs. disruption, or get information on how SandstormⓇ can improve your marketing strategy, contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org