In most cases the term “disruptive” is negative. Nobody wants to be disrupted when they are working on something important, and few people want to do the disrupting if they can help it. However, this term in business has a slightly different reputation. While being disrupted is still a negative, there actually are people out there who want to do this disrupting. To make matters even more interesting, there are some people out there, entirely removed from the situation, who might actually cheer on whomever is disrupting another business.
To put it into simpler terms: There are disruptive companies and disruptive marketing that help to even things out in the business world. They keep every company in line by bringing issues to light that are usually purposely ignored. As someone in the SEO industry or someone learning more about the industry, it’s important to ask yourself: Are any disruptive companies or campaigns working to teach me something completely different?
What Is Disruptive Marketing and How Does It Work?
As discussed above, a disruptive company is a company that brings new ideas to the table that could hurt the competition or the industry in general. Disruptive marketing is of course similar, but instead of having an entire company turning the industry upside down it’s just a marketing campaign. Either way, these types of initiatives are interesting and generally liked by consumers.
The industries they might be hurting, on the other hand, are not usually pleased. In general, disruptive companies are not going to get much publicity from their own industry and if they do, it isn’t always the best exposure. Consider some examples to get a better feel for how disruptive companies operate.
Examples of disruptive companies or disruptive marketing:
SEO copywriting along with Search Engine Watch listed a few great examples of disruptive companies that you can see below (with a few of my own thrown in as well):
- SurveyMonkey is a disruptive influence on the market research industry because they urge businesses to conduct their own research, which means not using the help of market research companies.
- AirBnB.com is a disruptive influence on the travel industry because they provide a source of accommodation and housing that is more unique and therefore outside the traditional travel market.
- Doug Clark of NEF Manufacturing who is reinventing how shoes are made.
- Jeff Carlisle of Our Health Connector who is putting our health records under our own control rather than that of healthcare providers
Disruptive companies are successful for a few reasons. First, they bring a new idea to the table, which immediately sparks attention. Second, they act as rebels, which is also something people are drawn toward. Most importantly, however, disruptive companies that actually get publicity usually work. They do something that isn’t going to give them a lot of money at the start, which proves that they really believe in their idea. It’s attractive, and people want to try it.
Disruptive Companies In the SEO Industry
The term you will hear connected with the search industry is likely “digital disruption.” Thom Craver on Search Engine Watch offered two great examples in today’s world:
First, you have social media applications disrupting search. For example, Flipboard helps readers explore a piece of content further without having to resort to a search engine. It offers related content.
Second, we have QR codes that are helping consumers skip search completely. All you have to do is take a photo of a QR code and you’re right where you need to be—no search necessary.
As a side, somewhat out-of-place, note: It’s also interesting to think about the idea that SEO and search were once very disruptive themselves. Marketers had to learn to advertise in different ways and start focusing on clicks and searcher intent. Now, SEO is the norm.
Are you familiar with any disruptive companies or ideas coming to surface in the SEO industry? Do you have a story about a disruptive company hurting your business? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
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