How Disruptive Marketing Can Help You Stand Out

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Written by Viral Solutions

Like any business owner, you want your organization to stand out and capture interest from potential customers. Unfortunately, this can be tough when your target audience is constantly bombarded with messages from other brands. Finding a way to break through all the noise can be challenging, to say the least. But that’s where disruptive marketing can work to your advantage.

We know the word disruptive carries some negative connotations. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, you may think it involves interrupting potential customers and intruding on their online activities. Rest assured, that’s not the case. 

Let’s talk about what disruptive marketing is, what forms it can take, why it works, and how to incorporate it into your strategy.

What Is Disruptive Marketing?

Disruptive marketing involves finding effective new ways to reach potential customers. Instead of following age-old rules and employing traditional tactics, businesses that take this approach use out-of-the-box thinking to market differently. It requires a lot of creativity and willingness to experiment.

You see, the disruptive part isn’t about causing a disruption to your target audience; rather, it’s about causing a disruption to the way marketing is done in your business, your industry, and in general.

Disruptive marketing, which is based on the idea of disruptive innovation, is essential to marketing evolution. After all, if no one has the courage to try out new tactics, marketing will never move forward. The tactics you use will grow stale, and it will become even harder to convince your target audience to take notice and engage with you.

What Are Some Examples of Disruptive Marketing?

Disruptive marketing has been around for quite a while, so there are a lot of great examples from brands in various industries. Some have used technology to meet their customers’ needs better, while others have merely altered their messaging for greater impact. The following are just a few you can learn from.

  • Sephora Virtual Artist

Sephora has been a major name in beauty retail for years—and for a good reason. They’re always looking for creative ways to serve their customers better. In 2016, they took it a step further by launching Sephora Virtual Artist

The program, available through the Sephora to Go mobile app, was developed using technology from ModifFace. It was designed to allow users to try thousands of products virtually. What has set the program apart from similar programs from other brands is that it doesn’t limit users to photo uploads. It uses a state-of-the-art 3D Live view to provide a truly realistic experience. 

Sephora Virtual Artist has been a great success for the brand. For starters, it encourages potential customers to download the brand’s app. It also provides a better shopping experience for those looking to purchase products online.

  • Spotify Wrapped

In 2015, Spotify launched their first official Wrapped campaign, making use of data on users’ listening habits. The annual event aims to position Spotify as a “platform for discovery” and generate awareness. Along with giving users a rundown of their favorite songs, albums, and podcasts from the year, Spotify also shares top listens for all users on various channels. 

This awareness campaign has proven to be a big hit. In fact, other brands have started to take a page out of Spotify’s book by delivering year-end data in their own unique ways. It not only keeps current users engaged but also encourages potential customers to sign up. And all it took was thinking outside the box to utilize data in an attention-grabbing way. 

  • Netflix’s Stranger Things

Another excellent example of disruptive, experiential marketing is Netflix’s approach to promoting their show Stranger Things. As the program has racked up a huge following, they could have stopped there. Instead, they saw an opportunity to increase subscriber retention and acquisition by delivering memorable experiences. 

Netflix has gone above and beyond to bring viewers into the Stranger Things world. They’ve employed virtual reality, created unique playlists on Spotify, set up realistic-looking portals across the globe, developed hidden trailer puzzles, and more. All these tactics served to drive awareness among non-viewers and keep current viewers engaged. 

Why Does It Pay to Shake Things Up?

Although disruptive marketing involves some risk, it can pay off big in the long run. As mentioned previously, experimentation is necessary for marketing to evolve. And if you get it right, other brands will take notice. You could wind up being the poster child for a hot new trend, tactic, or best practice!

That said, it’s worth throwing out the old rules every once in a while, even if you don’t become an overnight success. Opting to try new tactics no one has ever seen can yield several benefits:

How to Apply Disruptive Marketing

Some might say there’s no wrong way to approach disruptive marketing, but that’s not entirely true. You still need to be strategic if you want to increase your chances of success. Use the following tips for guidance. 

  • Consider your target audience. 

Since your goal is to grab your audience’s attention, it makes sense to understand them on a granular level. Make sure you know who they are, what they want, what problems they have, where they spend their time, etc. Use this information to brainstorm unique ways you can reach them. 

  • Review your existing resources.

Look at what resources you have at your disposal. Along with your budget, consider your existing tools and team members’ skills. Knowing what you have and what could be tweaked to fit your needs can help you decide what ideas to implement.

  • Stay up to date with technology.

A lot of disruptive marketing involves technological innovation. That’s why you should stay up to date with technology. Read up on the latest tools and software to determine what you could use in your own business. 

  • Track the results of experiments.

When you launch an experimental tactic, make sure to track the results. Data is the most valuable tool you have, as it shows whether something is working or not.   

  • Learn from your failures. 

It’s normal to feel discouraged when a seemingly great idea doesn’t deliver. But every failure is an opportunity to improve moving forward. So, look at your data, talk with your team, and apply any insights to the next campaign. 


In a world where attention spans are short, and marketing tactics get stale quickly, it pays to be disruptive. If you’re having a hard time grabbing the attention of your target audience and standing out in the crowd, think of what you could do differently. Taking a disruptive marketing approach could work in your favor!

All that said, you need to strike a balance between experimental and proven tactics. Moreover, you should always follow a strategy-first approach, allowing your strategy to guide your tactics—not the other way around. If you need help developing your marketing strategy (or launching a disruptive campaign), schedule a free consult with Viral Solutions

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*Author bio

Viral Solutions

Viral Solutions is a full-service marketing agency committed to helping every client meet their company’s goals and objectives. The agency takes a strategy-first approach to deliver long-term results, executing each customized strategy effectively while ultimately growing the client’s business.

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