Disruption is one of those overused terms that marketers love to throw around. It often comes up in strategic planning conversations – but all too often, it’s empty and meaningless.

Feeling clever, someone will cavalierly proclaim that, “We need to disrupt the market!” This will promptly be followed by the suggestion for a one-off experiment that shows some incremental (usually infinitesimal, in reality) ROI. Everyone nods vigorously. Mission accomplished. Let’s pat ourselves on the back and get back to our day jobs, digging out from Slack and email.

That’s one scenario. Feel free to drink a shot or bang your head repeatedly on the desk if you’ve been in that meeting. This post will still be here when the stars you’re seeing start to recede.
Alternately, the notion of “disruption” or being “disruptive” may be shied away from because people mis-equate it with being “costly” or “complicated” – or with leaning into a more “edgy” tone.

This is not the way.

Disruption isn’t about looking like a rebel or simply bucking the status quo; it’s about changing things for the better. Sparking a feeling or a movement through the way you take your brand to market that alters perceptions and compels new behaviors that your customers will hugely benefit from.

What’s more, successful disruption isn’t the result of a single action or experimenting with a tactic that’s ultimately disconnected from the rest of your sales and marketing motions. It requires thoughtfulness, rigor and careful orchestration – connecting brand to demand, outbound to inbound, marketing to sales.

At Retina, we’ve developed a blueprint for marketing disruption. Not a one-size-fits-all panacea, it’s a flexible approach that’s proven effective with industry innovators looking to challenge and usurp entrenched legacy brands. It’s been equally powerful for established brands who have innovated beyond their perceived boundaries and seek to outshine the sparkling new challengers promising transformation.

We call our approach the 3D Disruption Model.

And it needn’t be costly, complex or time-consuming, just complete and connected:

  • Define: Establish what exactly you are disrupting and create a clear, singular objective; identify what the status quo is and what is not, and the behaviors you want to change and/or instill.
  • Differentiate: It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it – and saying it through different methods than competitors and perhaps through different means than your customers are accustomed to. Rise above the clutter and noise via breakout creative, content, and experiences, and go to market with unique substance and energy.
  • Determine:  Measure the change you’ve affected, plan and track performance, and continually evolve, optimize, and scale your disruption strategy. Disruption isn’t static, it’s continuous. What you plan and how you ultimately execute in the end may look (and often should look) a bit different. That’s not being a careless marketer, that’s being an agile communicator in an uncertain modern world.

Want to see the 3D approach in action?

Check out some of our case studies on the Retina website (www.retinacommucations.com) or contact us. We’d love to share some examples of successfully realizing our blueprint for marketing disruption.

Michael Ruby

Chief Creative Officer

As Chief Creative Officer, Michael Ruby spearheads brand strategy, creative and content for Retina’s global client roster. Over his nearly 20-year career, he’s positioned and activated brands for organizations such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Boeing, ADP, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Merck, Korn Ferry, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and Citrix Online, as well as growth-stage companies that have since been acquired by the likes of IBM, HP Enterprise, and UnitedHealth Group. Named among the 2018 DMN 40under40, Michael has received top honors in global advertising and B2B marketing, including Best of Show at the ANA Business Marketing B2 Awards, Best Integrated Campaign at the Global ACE Awards several times, Webby Awards, Design Week Awards, CMI Content Marketing Awards, FCS Portfolio Awards, multiple awards from The Drum, and perhaps his favorite, “Best use of the word ‘boo-yah’ in a b-to-b ad ever,” according to Ad Age.

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