Digital disruption is one of those terms that we hear a lot about these days. As new startups come along with fresh ideas, many industries are being turned completely on their heads—and businesses are scared. Just look at how Netflix has changed the movie rental business, how Airbnb has revolutionized the holiday-home business, or how Uber has changed the concept of catching a cab. Surviving digital disruption mainly involves ensuring your product is still relevant and you still have a business model when a digital upstart attempts to change the way your industry works. But as a marketer, you can also ensure you use digital disruption to your advantage—and to make sure your brand remains relevant.
Are You Ready for Digital Disruption?
Digital disruption happens fast. One day, you’re going about your business the same as normal doing what you have always done. The next, you have become completely irrelevant. WhatsApp has done it with text messaging. Spotify with purchasing music. Music, videos, taxis, and rentals are just the start. Look at how banking is being threatened by peer-to-peer lending, international transfer services, and crowdfunding sites. Almost every industry is now affected by digital disruption, but some have been more noticeably affected than others. Bold startups have taken on whole industries—and changed them overnight. By providing a different way of doing things (often using apps, the internet, simplification, convenience, and personalization ), they divert customers to their business models and leave the established competition struggling to keep up. These disruptors have the power to completely change the game—so are you prepared?
Ways that Digital Disruption Affects Industries
There are various basic models typically used by digital disruptors to take on the established way of doing things. There are digital marketplaces like Airbnb that focus on bringing together sellers and buyers in a more convenient way, often using an app, and then taking a transaction fee. Subscription models are also popular, such as that followed by Netflix. This takes a product that you used to pay for individually, like a movie, and locks in repeat custom to provide ongoing access rather than a one-off purchase. And on-demand service like Uber provide the customer with instant access to a service and take a commission from payments. The internet and smartphones have made much of this possible—and you can use these to ensure your marketing remains relevant in the digital age.
Marketing Strategies to Stay Relevant
As a marketer, perhaps the most important thing you need to focus on right now is to ensure you are more customer centered than ever. Successful digital disruptors are focused on the customer in every way—and the modern customer expects this. Individuals expect services to highly tailored to their needs, and this goes beyond your products and services you are selling. You need to speak to them directly, especially through the content you create. Do you know exactly what they want and need? Can you tap into these needs to create content that speaks to them directly and answers the questions they have? You can also ensure a more personal focus by improving your targeting. Starting with something simple, consider segmenting your email list to ensure your subscribers receive content and offers that are highly relevant to them based on how and where they signed up to be on your list, or based on which products they have showed an interest in.
Set up a re-marketing campaign to reach out to those consumers who are interested in your products but have yet to become customers. Speak to them in a language they understand, and earn their trust. This whole issue of trust is crucial for digital marketers. Never has earning the trust of consumers been more important. Today’s savvy consumers are smart and suspicious—they don’t like being sold to, and they want to know that they are important to you. Develop trust by providing them with content that speaks directly to them, through your blogs and emails and social media activity.
Speaking of which, you must embrace social media wholeheartedly. Don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your brand. Encourage questions and provide answers. Share content that is directly relevant to your target customers. Seek out conversations and share your expertise. And in all your marketing efforts, make an effort to stand out. Don’t be a me-too marketer, and constantly look for ways to do something different. Whether that is uploading a unique video, running an amazing competition, or anything else that stands out while remaining true to your brand. Success in digital marketing often comes from developing new ideas and taking a fresh slant on something.
Also see what your competition is up to. How are they communicating with their prospects? How do they reach out to them? What original ideas have they beat you to, and where can you ensure you get in first? With your competition hungry for success—and new competitors constantly arriving on the scene—now is not the time to take your eye off the ball. So read guest blogs and find out who is behind them, read the comments and see who is making an impact, follow the industry trends, and don’t get taken unawares.
Use Digital Disruption to Your Advantage
Digital disruption is happening. Businesses in every industry are feeling threatened, but the truth is that the digital revolution also presents opportunities. As a marketer, you can take action to ensure you don’t become irrelevant. So be bold, be daring, focus on personalization, and be different to stay ahead of the curve.