What is Disruptive Marketing?

digital disruption
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Before we dive into some Disruptive Marketing ideas and tactics, it’s important to make sure we’re all on the same page and that we know what Disruptive marketing is.



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    Disruptive Marketing “is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising. It forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there.” – Richard Branson


    Disruptive marketing is creative, intuitive, and unique. It surprises, delights, engages, and converts consumers. It works better for product-based companies, but it can work for service providers too.


    Disruptive marketing is more engaging for consumers. It gets people’s attention by being different and by taking risks. It embraces concepts that are outside of the norm. Occasionally, it has shock value though that is not necessarily a characteristic of disruptive marketing. It’s innovative and it forces people to think about things in a different way.


    One of the best features of disruptive marketing is that it can take something simple and generally dull and make it engaging, intriguing, exciting, and make the consumer stop and pay attention.


    In this report, we’ll look at different marketing opportunities to leverage disruptive marketing. We’ll explore:


    • Bots
    • Personalization
    • Segmentation
    • Social Proof tools
    • And Using Quizzes to engage your audience and build al list



    We’ll define the tactic, provide a few examples of how it can be used, and then share tips, ideas, and best practices for leveraging the marketing opportunity in your disruptive marketing. The last few pages are dedicated to helping you create your disruptive marketing strategy. Let’s get started!


    Disruptive Marketing Opportunity #1 Bots


    What is a Bot?


    Specifically, a bot is an application that performs an automated task


    Chat bots or Social bots are algorithms, pieces of software that use artificial intelligence to automate tasks and carry conversations with humans, with the purpose of assisting them. They can help in building stronger relationships with customers by delivering targeted content and anticipating user reactions.


    There are research bots, analytics bots, team management bots, bots that create user quizzes, manage the sales process and even upsell, and bots that help you personalize your ads.


    So How Do You Use Bots in Your Disruptive Marketing?


    Right now, for marketing effectiveness, one of the most interesting ways that you can leverage bots is within the sales and marketing process. Social bots can be used to create a strong voice, one with a big personality, to “talk” with your social media audience.


    If you’re looking for a safe and tested service for creating your first social media bot, you can start with Facebook’s Messenger platform. Other services for creating social bots without having to code include:


    • Chatfuel allows you to build Facebook Messenger bots without having to code.


    • Botsify doesn’t require coding knowledge and is straightforward to set up.


    • FlowXOuses a drag and drop editor. It is useful for creating chatbots that can analyze data and customize replies based on that data, so it supports personalization, which we’ll talk about in just a bit.


    Bots – Tips, Ideas, and Best Practices


    It should also be noted that bots can be integrated with AI technology like Amazon Echo or Google Home.


    In addition to that, you can…


    Start a literal conversation on your sales page. You can set up your bot to reach out to the user first, engage with them while they’re shopping, or to upsell or cross-sell to customers. For example, a message can pop up relevant to the shopper’s navigation and say something like, “Hey, Joan. I see you added jeans to your shopping cart. Did you see that we have a buy one, get one half-off promotion going on?”


    It’s disruptive because it’s unexpected, it’s approachable, and it helps build stronger relationships. More than 50% of people report that they prefer to chat with a store when they’re shopping, and a bot can do the job for you in a personal and effective way.


    Make sure your content is relevant. This is critical. It’s only “disruptive” if it is engaging with the consumer and that means the content your bot is sharing must be relevant to the experience and the user at that time.


    Personalize the communication between your customers/audience and your bot.


    Keep it short and simple. Make sure that the answers your bot give your user are instant, relevant, and brief.


    Bots are just the beginning, but they’re also a straightforward way to get started with disruptive marketing. Next, we’re going to talk about personalization. You’re probably already embracing this at some level. We’re going to take it to the next level, keeping in mind that disruptive marketing means there are no “rules” so you can blend these marketing opportunities together, you can do whatever feels intuitive and good for your brand and your audience.


    Disruptive Marketing Opportunity #2 Personalization


    What is Personalization?


    Personalization is the use of a person’s name, behaviours, or demographics to provide a unique experience for them. A simple example is using your subscriber’s name when you address them in your email. Personalization also includes sending that email from a person, maybe you, rather than a company.


    Personalization builds trust and customer loyalty. You’re much more likely to make a purchase from a company that you perceive to be invested in who you are. In addition, personalization helps you connect in the right way at the right time with your prospects, leads, and customers.


    How Can Personalization Be Used?


    Personalization builds trust and that is one of the key components or characteristics of disruptive marketing. Now we’ve already discussed how bots can be used to add personalization to the shopping experience.


    They can be programmed to recognize the name of your customer, if they’ve signed into their account, and can personally address the customer as well as recognize their navigation in your store and what, if anything, they’ve put into their cart. It’s personalized attention. However, personalization can extend beyond that and include personalized ads, emails, and even the call to action that your visitor or lead sees.


    The core of personalization is analytics. This is where disruptive marketing gets fun. You can create systems that appeal to every user at every level of their buying experience. For example, someone who is new to your website may see one promotion while a return visitor may see another.


    According to HubSpot, 74% of online consumers get frustrated by websites with offers, ads, and promotions that have nothing to do with their interests.


    Personalizing your marketing messages allows you to tailor promotional messages to customers by identifying their individual unique customer traits.


    This allows you to reach customers on an individual level instead of sending one message to your entire audience. Personalization can be integrated into your website copy, ebooks, webinars, emails, social media posts, interactive content and beyond.


    Next, we look at a few ways you can implement personalization into your marketing strategy.


    PersonalizationTips, Ideas, And Best Practices


    Marketing Automation Tools – Automation tools can manage lead nurturing campaigns based on content interest. For example, if a prospect downloads an eBook on coffee drink recipes, you can put them in an email list that’s created and targeted for that specific message. This helps ensure that you’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time.


    Persona-Driven Content – Personas are descriptions of your ideal audience written in paragraph form. They’re important because your audience may consist of several different personas. They include the person’s values, habits, and other traits. Persona driven content is content that you create for that audience.


    For example, you may have different promotional messages or articles that you send to different people on your email list, not based on buying behaviour or demographics but based on where they fit with their personality. Persona-based content can help you tailor your messages to the right audience.


    Personalized Social Media Interactions – Earlier we talked about chatbots and social bots and they are a great way to automate many of your processes on social media.


    However, you should also leverage technology and monitor social media for brand mentions. This way you can engage in real-time and strengthen relationships as well as head off any potential issues before they become problems. There are literally dozens of social media monitoring tools that you can use. They include, but aren’t limited to:



    Targeted Landing PagesYou have multiple opportunities with targeted landing pages. You can simply personalize the landing page with the person’s name. You can change the landing page to personas and create different landing pages, depending on where the person is in the buying process.


    These links and landing pages are often managed more easily when the visitor clicks on them from an email. Segmentation, therefore, plays a key role in ensuring that the right subscriber gets the right message. However, there are also tools you can use to automate the personalization of your landing page. Optimizely is one such tool you will want to investigate.


    As you’re going to see, these disruptive marketing opportunities layer on top of each other in a powerful way. We’ve talked about bots and personalization in a bit of detail. Next, we’ll take a look at segmentation.


    Disruptive Marketing Opportunity #3 Segmentation


    What is Segmentation?


    Segmentation is an email practice where you separate your list based on a number of different characteristics. For example, you could segment your list by location and send one message to people on the east coast and one message to people on the west. It can be a very useful way to ensure that each person on your list gets a message that is catered to them and their specific needs.


    How Can Segmentation Be Used?


    Your email is a powerhouse of opportunity. Personalization is one way to leverage and grow your list. It can also be used to increase conversions and strengthen your brand and relationship with your audience. We just talked about segmenting by location and sending different messages to different geographic areas. Think about how simple and how powerful this is.


    This can be something as simple as sending a regional recipe or talking about regional festivals your content or your promotions. You’re connecting on a whole different level and engaging with your subscribers in a unique way.


    Segmentation Tips, Ideas, And Best Practices


    It starts with good list management. Make sure you have a solid autoresponder that offers segmentation. There are many to consider including some WordPress plugins. Do your research and make the best choice for your business and budget. Two popular choices are AWeber and MailChimp.


    Personalized Greeting -Make sure you’re sending messages to names rather than “dear friend” or “dear future customer” ugh. There’s no reason to be doing this, especially since it is counterproductive to your goals. Collect their name in the opt-in process.


    Personalized Signature – Put your name in the signature, not your company. Would you rather get an email from Nike.com or from Susie Smith? Instead of having your sender be your company name, make it from the name of an actual person on your team. If you use email templates, ensure they don’t look like they’re been built by a marketing machine. You want your emails to come off as authentic.


    Leverage Marketing Automation Tools – Automation tools can trigger lead-nurturing campaigns based on content interest. If a lead downloads an eBook focused on a specific topic, you could put them in an email track or list, that’s targeted at that specific message and mention they’ve already experienced some of your content.


    Segment Your Email Database by Persona. You can segment your email database in a number of ways, but the easiest (and often most effective) way is by marketing persona. Once you have your marketing personas created and defined, segment your list by persona and send a personalized message to each segment, using language that hits on specific pain points or areas of interest.


    The first three marketing opportunities we’ve discussed can easily be integrated into one another. The next Disruptive opportunity is something that you can readily integrate into your existing marketing strategy and systems. It’s powerful and often overlooked. We’re talking about Social Proof.


    Disruptive Marketing Opportunity #4 Social Proof


    What is Social Proof?


    Social proof is the acceptance, permission, and recognition from our peers for a product or service. For example, if you notice that your friends and associates are talking about a mobile app that they love, you’re more likely to check it out and buy it. Why? This is apt to happen because there is a perceived reduction in the risk. Your peers approve of it, so it’s probably a safe bet.


    As a social psychologist, Robert Cialdini says in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “As a rule, we will make fewer mistakes by acting in accord with social evidence than contrary to it. Usually, when a lot of people are doing something, it is the right thing to do.”


    In general, we don’t like to take risks. Risk is reduced when we feel like other people are doing the same thing. Social proof gives us the confidence to make a purchasing decision. Therefore, if you want to make your prospects feel confident in their purchase, or just convince them to try your product, to begin with, social proof can be the key to conversions.


    How to Use Social Proof in Your Disruptive Marketing


    There is a myriad of opportunities to leverage social proof. Due to the vast popularity of social media, much of your social proof efforts and tactics will rely on those channels. However, you can also leverage simple things like testimonials and tracking data to help sway the risk-averse prospect.


    Social Proof Tips, Ideas, And Best Practices


    Real-Time Statistics – You can add technology on your site via a simple plugin that tells visitors how many people have purchased a product, package, or service. As the number increases, so does the social proof. It’s like the line outside of the restaurant. It tells passersby that the restaurant must be a good one if so many people are waiting outside in line.


    Customer Testimonials – Did you know that you can add a sidebar to your website, with a plugin that rotates customer testimonials? This means that every visitor sees testimonials, a powerful form of social proof and that they see new ones every time they visit.


    Real-time analytics and brand mentions. Leverage alerts, brand mentions, and real-time analytics updates to notify you of when your company is mentioned online and on social media. This gives you the opportunity to respond and engage. In addition, it can be an opportunity to head off a potential crisis and leverage social mentions.


    Social Share Count. One very simple form of social proof that you can display on your site is the raw number of social shares – how many times a blog post has been shared on various social media channels. In addition to your blog, you can also add social share counts to any page on your website, including landing pages and product pages.


    Disruptive Marketing Opportunity #5Using Quizzes and Surveysto Engage Your Audience and Build Your List


    What is a Quiz or Survey?


    You already know the answer to this and you may have leveraged quizzes and surveys to learn more about your audience and prospects when you were just starting out. They can be valuable research tools. You can also use quizzes and surveys as you begin to build personas and create marketing messages specifically for those chosen personas.


    However, for our purposes, we’re talking specifically about using quizzes and surveys to engage your audience and build highly segmented and personalized lists. See how things are all coming together?


    Here are two examples of how Quizzes and Surveys can get the job done in a powerful way.


    Example #1 Air Wick, the air freshener company, made a simple, and rather pretty quiz to help people determine which sent fit their home décor and style. People take the quiz because they’re curious.


    After they take the quiz, they’re then sent décor tips tailored specifically to them, as well as their perfect scent, and a how-to guide for some DIY home projects. This information is emailed, and another person is added to the subscriber list. However, other information gathered in addition to a name and email address. Now Air Wick has some important information that they can use to personalize promotions, products, and content.


    Example #2 DoggyLoot – Taking a slightly different approach, the company, DoggyLoot, segmented their subscribers by asking questions about the size of the subscriber’s dog during the opt-in process. You don’t want to get carried away with too many questions during the opt-in because this can drive people away. However, it’s an easy way to engage prospects and get a bit more information from your leads. It then gives you the power to both segment and personalize your email messages.


    QuizzesTips, Ideas, And Best Practices


    Know what you want and need. Before you start writing your quiz or survey, know the answers to the following key questions: What is the purpose of this survey? What do I hope to learn? How will the data I collect influence my decisions? How can I use this information to engage or build my list?


    Company Voice And Message – You have a brand message and image, correct? You have a voice. Leverage that in your quiz. Make the quiz colours and language stand out and match your company voice. Don’t be dull. This is disruptive marketing, so it should be intuitive, engaging, fun, and unique.


    Market Your Quiz Or Survey – If you publish a quiz, promote it. Leverage social channels to drive traffic to your quiz. Build excitement, share the real-time results, and get people involved.


    For example, Air Wick could have published a pretty Instagram photo with the caption, “what’s your scent” or “what’s your décor style” and included a link to find out. DoggyLoot could have shared user photos of big and small dogs with a caption “tell us about your dog” and linked to their opt-in form. If you’re using a fun quiz or survey to build your list, engage and promote that opportunity.


    Okay, we’ve shared 5 different tools that you can embrace to create your own disruptive marketing campaign. These tactics overlap and integrate well with each other and they don’t require a significant amount of technological aptitude. You can install a plugin or a bot. you can ask your VA to do it for you. Start with the marketing idea and leverage technology. It’s there for you, it’s a tremendous opportunity.


    Before we wrap this up, it’s important to help you pull all of this information together so that those ideas that may be swimming around in your head can get down on paper and become a reality. If you don’t have any creative marketing nuggets forming yet, this next section will help.


    Creating Your Disruptive Marketing Strategy


    Understand Your Industry


    Before you create a disruptive marketing strategy, you need to understand what you want to disrupt. Is there a weakness in your industry or a pain point or need that isn’t being addressed by your competition?


    This is really a two-part process and it is an ongoing process. You want to research your competition. What are they doing? How well are they doing it? You can leverage research tools and services like:



    They can help you gain in-depth knowledge of the industry, trends, controversies, products, or services. You can also leverage survey tools and quizzes to poll your audience and learn more about their needs.


    That’s the first part; the second part of understanding your industry requires you to get creative and find where your brand can fill an unmet need and create something new or make innovative and relevant improvements.


    Understand Your Customer


    Your audience expects you to understand them but guess what. Your audience’s needs, wants, and even your audience will change over time. This too is an ongoing process. Now we’ve already mentioned surveying your audience to understand them better. You can also leverage your analytics and social trend tracking tools to understand them better.


    Define your audience based on your existing customers. Who are they? What do they want and need? How do they spend their time? Where do they spend it? Start creating those customer personas. Answer important questions like what do they expect from your company and how can you innovate, engage, and surprise them?


    Surprise Them


    You now have two critical pieces of information. You have an understanding of gaps in your industry, and they don’t have to be gaping holes, they can simply be areas where further exploration and development is needed. You also know your audience.


    It’s time to get creative and leverage your competitive advantage.


    Here’s a simple example,


    The Singapore Red Cross wanted to increase blood donations. They created a blood donation drive by capitalizing on selfies, social influencers, personalization, and hashtags. They called it, The ‘Blood Ties’ campaign.


    They gathered local celebrities, musicians, comedians, bloggers, had them take selfies and fill in the blank of the phrase “I have ____ in my blood. What’s in yours?Therefore, a musician might say, I have music in my blood.


    These celebrity selfies were widely promoted on various social media channels and the public was asked to upload their selfies with hashtags like #sgredcross #ydcsg #bloodties#inmyblood and to share what was in their blood.


    It’s the equivalent to the ALS bucket challenge.


    When you know your competitive advantage, promote it in an unexpected way. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to be disruptive. It must be unexpected, innovative, relevant, and engaging.





    Be Relevant


    It’s possible for the creative wheels to spin completely off course. Disruptive marketing doesn’t work if your tactic isn’t relevant to the goal, industry, or audience. One of the most crucial aspects of disruptive marketing is to create experiences that are relevant to your customers.


    In our examples, Air Wick’s home décor quiz was relevant. The “blood ties” example was relevant. Make sure you’re disruptive marketing efforts and campaigns offer value and are relevant to your audience. Not sure? Go back to step #2 and understand your audience.


    Leverage Humor


    Some of the best disruptive marketing campaigns are effective simply because they’re funny and the humor is unexpected. Toyota had a very effective campaign that showed that their hydrogen powered car could run on manure with the tagline, ‘Fueled by Bulls**t’. It was funny, unexpected, and engaging, yet still relevant to the car and the audience.


    Consider Combining Approaches


    Disruptive marketing doesn’t need to be something new. You can change patterns or combine tactics to be innovative and engaging. We talked a lot about personalizing, segmentation, bots, and even quizzes and surveys. These are simple tactics that you can leverage together to create something new and relevant for your audience.


    Defy Rules and Expectations


    Disruptive marketing is about letting go of how things used to be done or how things have always been done. This involves trusting your instincts, having a little fun, and leveraging the numerous opportunities there are out there to connect with your audience in a new way.


    Go about creating your disruptive marketing strategy in a different way too. Know your industry, know your audience, create a tactic, leverage the tools available to really have fun, and then evaluate your results. If you keep the core foundation of disruptive marketing in mind as you go, meaning it must be relevant and relatable to your audience, engaging, and building relationships; then, you’re on solid ground.


    Let loose a bit and think outside of the box.




    Disruptive marketing is about connecting with your audience and customers in a different way and building that relationship with them. It’s about letting them know that you want to connect and that they’re important through you. This is why simple concepts like personalization can be so important to your success.


    The technology is there to support you. Now brainstorm, get creative, and move forward with marketing efforts that set you apart from the crowd. You’ll not only get noticed by your audience, but you’ll also build a larger audience of devoted and loyal customers.

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