Disruption happens when markets, technologies and behaviours are challenged and changed. The impact can depend on factors like market readiness, technical innovation and even social dynamics. Success in marketing ‘disruption’ begins with a few questions and a clear idea of your disruptive ‘type’.

What is disruptive technology?

‘Sustaining technology’ promises incremental upgrades and ‘next-generation’ innovations. ‘Disruptive technology’ promises something bigger – something that challenges the technical and commercial status quo. It creates new market dynamics, and introduces opportunity and threat in equal measures.

Consumer and business markets have grown accustomed to anticipating the ‘next thing’, whether it’s a smartphone upgrade or migration to cloud applications. However, there’s more pressure on businesses to envision and realise ‘extreme evolutions’ and being disruptive is now seen as a virtue and a quality that even larger enterprises need to foster from within.

The levels of transformation and impact are best viewed through the lens of the ‘3 Degrees of Disruption’. We explore the roles of the Market Maker, Tech Transformer and Social Shaper further in the infographic, videos and blogs on this site.

Disruptive technology is often fuelled by a collection of megatrends that are fundamentally transforming the industry – cloud, mobile, social and big data.

The megatrends themselves do not equal disruption, but they usually represent challenges to traditional ways of buying, deploying and using technology. The more these megatrends are infused within innovations, the more disruptive that technology is likely to be.

What does disruption mean to marketers?

For a marketer, ‘disruptive’ could sound scary. When sustaining technologies are being displaced by the unfamiliar, that’s when opportunity and threat can co-exist.

Disruptive technologies don’t just displace sustaining technologies, they can also unsettle or displace customer, partner and channel relationships and even business models.

We explore this further in the video and infographic, content on the ‘3 Degrees of Disruption’, but take a look at our Map of Disruption and you’ll see plenty of examples of technology disruptions that combined with other factors to offer ‘disruptive innovation’ and create new challenges for technology marketers. Take SMS for example: when the Short Messaging Service was introduced to mobile phones, who knew that the original strategy to market to business users would be overtaken by the mass adoption of ‘Txt Msg’ by a nascent market of socially active teenagers?

If you’re challenged with communicating what’s better about disruption to your market, talk to us. We’ll be happy to show you how we’ve helped leading technology companies to do just that, and with measurable success.

Read our blogs:
Technology markets don’t buy disruption
Disruptive tech – navigating the 3 Degrees of Disruption

How disruptive should you be?

It pays to have some disruptive thinking in all tech propositions. When and how much is up to you and depends on a number of factors - including tech maturity, audience mind-set, route-to-market, sentiment and core brand value.

We don’t advocate disruption and trouble-making for the sake of it – but it’s true to say that partners, customers and shareholders are increasingly keen on ‘the next big thing’, What’s more, today’s technologies do enable us all to reimagine traditional ways of doing and delivering.

Disruption is not exclusive to the aspirational. Even low emotion purchases like printers benefit from innovation and disruption – whether that’s ‘ink for life’, cloud printing or 3-dimensional printing.

Sometimes, marketing has to ‘manage down’ the disruptive expectations of technology – especially when it has the potential to unsettle partners and customers. However, there are occasions when marketing needs to provoke and disrupt in order to re-energise tired propositions.

There’s no single answer to ‘how disruptive do I need to be?’ That’s why you need an agency that understands the risks and the potential of disruptive technology marketing. Disruption has a relativity to the change and transformation that it represents - the '3 Degrees of Disruption'. Our ‘3 Degrees of Disruption’ infographic is a good starting point for assessing the disruptive breadth and depth of your proposition.

Read our blogs:
Map, message and migrate - the path to Disruption