Disruptive innovations are new technologies or services that has the potential to disrupt any industry – including business-to-business marketing – and change how consumers buy products and services.
Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Clayton Christensen in his book, ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Harvard Business Review Press, 1997)’. It refers to the introduction of new technologies that are so different from existing ones that they have the potential to completely transform industries.
The disruptive nature of these innovations can be seen as early as their introduction into the marketplace.
For example, the first fax machine was introduced in the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1991 that faxing became common practice. In this case, the fax machine disrupted the way businesses communicated by providing a faster, more efficient way to send and receive information.
Similarly, the Internet has changed how businesses market themselves.
Before the Internet, companies relied on traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV to advertise.
However, as of today, many companies sell through online channels.
New technologies and services are often referred to as disruptive innovations because they can completely transform industries.
Innovation can come from any sector, including manufacturing, healthcare, education, financial services, retail, telecommunications, transportation, energy, agriculture, government, etc.
Businesses need to understand the implications of disruptive innovation to their core business.
This includes understanding the opportunities for growth created by the disruption and what actions must be taken to take advantage of them.
This article will discuss the following questions:
When does disruption occur? What are they? What are notable disruptions? What are its implications to marketing? What does it mean to disrupt an industry? And how do disruptive innovations affect businesses?
When does disruption occur?
Disruption occurs when one business model, product, or service replaces anotherforbes
In other words, disruptive innovations disrupt the status quo.
They often come from outside the market and offer something better than what we’ve been using before.
Disruption happens when a company introduces a new product or service that is so different from what customers currently use that they cannot easily switch to using the new product or service.
This forces them to adapt to their current behavior. This new product or service may be better than existing alternatives, cheaper, faster, more convenient, safer, healthier, easier to use, etc.
3 types of disruptive innovation that impact B2B marketing
Disruptive innovation may occur through one of three types:
- A new product or service that replaces existing products or services
- A new product or process that improves on existing products or services
- A new organization that provides better value than existing organizations
These three types of disruptions all help us understand why disruption is so important today.
Because of the fast-paced changes in technology, the way we live, and the global economy, being disrupted is no longer a choice — it’s a necessity.
First type of innovation
The first type of disruption is when a new technology comes along that makes something easier, faster or cheaper.
This is what happened with email and social media. It was easy to start using them, but it took time to figure out how to make them work for your business.
In fact, some businesses still don’t fully realize the power of social media until after they’ve invested heavily in it.
Second type of innovation
The second type of disruption is when you improve on something already available. For example, the introduction of cloud computing allowed people to store data online instead of having to have hard copies of everything.
The introduction of CRM software made it possible to manage customer relationships from anywhere at anytime.
Third type of innovation
The third type of disruption is when companies change the way their entire organization operate.
This could range from changing the way they sell products like a manufacturing company doing e-Commerce to using external organization to manage certain segments of your marketing process — like social media as an example.
What are the current disruptions happening in the business-to-business industry?
There are several examples of disruption that have occurred in recent years impacting business technology, finance, banking, manufacturing, sales, and more.
Here are some of the most notable disruptions impacting B2Bs:
- Social media has disrupted the traditional advertising model. As mentioned above, social media has become a major part of our lives. Instead of paying for ads, marketers are spending less money on traditional advertising methods and more on social media. Businesses need to adapt to this quickly if they want to stay relevant.
- Cloud Computing disrupted how we work. Many companies can now access their information from any device. This means that they can do things like collaborate on documents from anywhere at anytime. This also allows them to share files and collaborate on projects without needing to be physically present. Disruptive businesses like Amazon and Google provide infrastructure, software, and services that allow users to access their information anywhere.
- Big Data. Companies are starting to see the potential of big data. They’re able to collect massive amounts of data about customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, and much more. They can then analyze these data points to find patterns and trends that will allow them to make smarter decisions.
- 3D printing technology is disrupting the manufacturing industry. By 2026, there could be over 2 million jobs related to 3D printing technology. Many manufacturers will need to change their production lines if they want to stay competitive.
- Blockchain technology is disrupting banking and finance. This new type of database technology can store large amounts of data securely. Because blockchain transactions are recorded chronologically, they are impossible to tamper with.
- Mobile payments are disrupting the financial industry. In the past, consumers would have to carry around cash or checks to make purchases. Now, mobile phones have become an extension of our wallets. We no longer need to carry physical cards.
- Machine learning tools are disrupting the insurance industry. Companies like Accenture and IBM have created powerful analytics tools that can analyze billions of pieces of data to predict future events. These tools can also help insurers reduce fraud by identifying patterns in claims data.
- Robotics are disrupting human labor. Robots are being used in factories to perform repetitive and some dangerous tasks.
What are the implications of disruptive innovations to companies selling to a B2B audience?
Disruption isn’t just affecting the way we advertise. It’s also impacting the entire marketing process.
For example, during the 1980s, there was a shift away from television commercials toward print ads. This led to a rise in the number of direct mail pieces sent out by marketers.
However as disruptive technologies continue to evolve, many traditional marketing strategies are no longer as effective. For instance, when the internet first came about, websites were considered too expensive to create.
As a result, many businesses did not invest in creating websites. However, this is no longer the case. Today, nearly every company has a website.
This shift towards online advertising has been made possible because of the emergence of disruptive technologies. These technologies have allowed us to create websites and social media pages at a fraction of the cost. As a result, it’s easier than ever before to reach your target market.
It’s important for B2B marketers to understand the implications of disruptive technologies and integrate it to their core business.
Marketing opportunities for B2B using disruptive technology
In order to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, B2B companies must be able to adapt their marketing strategy to meet the needs of their prospective customers.
They must understand and learn to use the latest disruptive technologies to connect with potential clients.
User experience is the future
The app economy has pushed digital technology to its limits.
To succeed in today’s competitive advertising landscape, B2B companies must create experiences that are just as valuable for customers’ time as their products are valuable to consumers’ lives.
Since your customers are getting bombarded with more content than ever before across digital channels, winning the attention of your target audience has never been harder.
You can already see the shift towards value-driven advertising taking place in the business environment.
It’s not only about the quality of your content, it’s also about creating something consumers want to share.
Incumbent businesses create campaigns that put people at the center of their messaging and campaigns.
As business consumers continue to be assailed with more and more interruptive advertising on websites and smartphones, they will likely become even more discerning about what they share with others.
In the future, it won’t just be about creating campaigns that capture attention, it will also be about creating campaigns that people feel strongly enough about to share with their friends and followers. This will be the key to businesses achieving successful word-of-mouth marketing, or other digital campaigns.
Integrated marketing communication displaced silos
Integrated social media marketing and web advertising channels have revolutionized the way we consume and share media through channels like web, mobile, and tablets.
By stripping away the traditional levels of the marketing funnel and the ‘silo’ mentality, we’ve come to realize that integrated marketing communications (IMC) and multi-channel marketing is the new reality.
Some of the most successful integrated campaigns have had a lion’s share of success by embracing the web and the channels it offers.
The web provides a platform where marketers can easily reach millions of potential customers at once. And while some businesses may think that web advertising is too expensive, it actually works better when done right.
Invest on marketing automation tools
In order to stay ahead of the competition, many B2B companies are turning to marketing automation software to help them automate lead generation, nurture prospects, and track campaign performance.
These solutions range from simple email drip campaigns to sophisticated marketing cloud applications that integrate multiple tools for lead management, landing page creation, behavioral tracking, SEO/SEM, social media management, and more.
Many marketing automation tools tie into CRM systems, providing sales teams with all the information about leads without requiring them to search for data in different systems.
Other marketing automation platforms act as stand-alone software packages, offering core functionality such as automated emails, landing pages, surveys, and virtual tours.
Disruptive technologies redefine what “personalization” really means
Today’s business markets expect companies to know more about them than ever before. The status quo of sending blanket messaging is over. Companies need to adapt to this new world of customer engagement.
This expectation extends beyond just knowing what kind of car someone drives or what size shoe they wear. It also involves understanding personal preferences such as food allergies, religious beliefs, political leanings, and even sexual orientation.
Marketers are now expected to provide personalized content based on individual interests. That means creating content specifically tailored to an audience’s needs and wants.
The good news? Disruptive technologies make this possible by collecting vast amounts of consumer data and using machine learning algorithms to identify target audience’s interests.
As a result, marketers can create highly targeted messages that resonate with their audiences.
But don’t think of disruptive technologies as just another way to personalize content.
Disruptive technologies revolutionize the way business customers find information about you
Businesses have long been able to use traditional advertising channels to promote their brands.
But these methods are no longer effective in reaching today’s consumers.
Here are three ways innovative business models revolutionize the way mainstream customers find information about your business firm:
- Online search
The disruptive business model modified the buying process in the B2B environment; it begins online.
This shift has created new opportunities for business firms that want to reach out to prospects and customers.
In fact, according to Gartner, nearly half (45%) of B2B buyers start their journey researching products and services online. Yes, that is without speaking to your sales representative.
And while there are those who refer to work with a sales rep, the rise of disruptive technologies has allowed businesses to connect directly with prospects
This shift has created a new market where businesses must compete for attention against millions of other websites.
Search engines like Google and Bing rank sites based on how relevant they are to specific keywords.
So if you want to be found online, you need to optimize your website for those terms. You can do this through keyword research and writing high quality content.
- Social media
These sites allow businesses to build relationships with potential customers through engaging posts and comments.
And because social media allows people to share information about themselves, these networks are great places to collect data about your target market.
This type of data collection is known as behavioral targeting. It involves analyzing user behavior to determine how they interact with your brand.
Behavioral targeting has two main benefits:
- Behavioral targeting allows marketers to identify new leads. When someone shares information about herself or himself on social media, she or he is more likely to be interested in a product or service than someone who doesn’t share any details about his or her life.
- Behavioral targeting helps you target existing customers based on their previous interactions. If someone previously purchased a product from you, you can use that information to show them relevant content.
For example, if a person bought a HR solution from you before, you could send him or her an email promoting a special deal on an upgrade or the renewal agreement of existing software.
Social media also makes it possible to track how well a campaign is doing. You can see which posts get the most engagement and which ones generate the most sales.
Disruptive technologies create better experiences for your business customers
AI-powered platforms are also making it easier for businesses to provide better services.
Chatbots are software programs that mimic conversations between humans. These artificial intelligence tools enable websites to interact with visitors without requiring them to fill out lengthy forms.
They can answer questions, provide product recommendations, and even schedule appointments.
In addition to improving user experience, chatbots are making it easier for small businesses to compete with larger corporations.
Today, there are thousands of different chatbots available. Some are used to sell products. Others offer customer service. Still, others are used to manage social media accounts.
In addition to improving efficiency, these new technologies are creating experiences that are much more personalized.
If someone asks a question about a product, a chatbot might not only provide an answer but also recommend similar products.
When someone wants to buy something, a chatbot might ask what kind of payment method the visitor prefers. The bot then suggests options that fit the visitor’s needs.
These applications are just scratching the surface. That’s why disruptive technologies are changing the way we market products and services.
Disruptive technologies improve your marketing ROI
One of the biggest challenges facing today’s B2B marketers is figuring out how to measure success. Traditional metrics, such as clicks and impressions, aren’t always helpful because they don’t tell you whether or not a campaign was effective.
That’s why many companies are turning to disruptive technologies to improve their marketing ROI.
By combining data from multiple sources, these tools can help you determine which types of content perform best. They can also track the impact of your marketing efforts over time so you can better understand how well your strategy is working.
Take a look at some ways disruptive technologies can help B2B companies increase its marketing ROI:
- Track conversions and sales KPIs. If you’re looking to boost your conversion rates, you need to be able to accurately measure each step along the path to purchase. That’s where disruptive technologies come into play. They can help you monitor user behavior throughout the entire buying process, including lead generation, qualification, and conversion.
- Identify the right audience. Disruptive technologies can help you identify the right audience for your company by analyzing customer preferences across various channels. For example, you might find that certain social media posts get more engagement than others. Or maybe you notice certain keywords tend to drive traffic to your website. Using this type of analysis, you can develop a personalized messaging strategy that targets the exact people you want to reach.
- Measure performance. When it comes to measuring marketing effectiveness, there are two main approaches. The first is to use traditional methods like click-throughs and conversions. But those numbers alone won’t give you an accurate picture of how well your campaigns are performing. To really know what’s going on, you’ll need to analyze other factors, like bounce rate, page views per visit, and time spent on the site. These insights will allow you to make informed decisions about future marketing strategies. And with disruptive technologies, you can collect all of this information automatically. For example, you might collect detailed analytics on every visitor who visits your website. You could then compare this data against previous trends in order to see how visitors interact with different parts of your site. This helps you figure out which pages work best and which ones need improvement.
These examples illustrate how innovative technologies can help you improve your marketing ROI. But they don’t have to be expensive or complicated.
In fact, most disruptive technologies start as small projects. So if you think you might benefit from one of them, try implementing just one feature today.
Then, once you’ve seen the results, you can decide whether to expand your efforts.
Keeping up with disruptive innovation
The world has changed dramatically since the early days of the Internet. We now live in a world where technology is disrupting every industry imaginable.
It’s important to understand the impact of these changes on your own business.
So in order to stay competitive, you must keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
As social media specialists, we are in a unique position to help you do just that.
We help B2B companies leverage the power of new technologies to grow your business by:
- Identifying the right audience.
- Measuring performance.
- Personalizing your content
And much more!
We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our clients’ businesses. That means we’re always testing new relevant technologies to help you reach, help you engage, and help you convert your B2B market segment.