Be Ready For a Wave of Marketing Disruption

Thursday 21st, July 2016


During the summer of 2014, four thousand taxis brought the central London to a standstill. Similar protests had taken place in Rome, Berlin, Paris and Madrid.


A smartphone app called ‘Uber’ which allowed users to hire private cars for travel, at the same time allowed drivers to earn money by picking up passengers in over two hundred cities worldwide.

These friendly yellow cabs were suddenly ‘threatened’ by this app.

So what was so intimidating about it?

Uber offered a hassle-free solution for commuters that was sophisticated, modern and easy on the pocket – and the cab owners didn’t want that.

Traditionally, the taxi industry had been a relatively complex model of drivers, brokers and credit card managers. A complex funding mechanism operated between those, resulting in layers of charges, fees and surcharges on credit cards.

Uber entered the market and changed the dynamics of commuting through taxis.

Every stakeholder had something to benefit from:

  • Passengers could simply press a button on the app – as opposed to hiring a taxi on the sidewalk and debating on how much to tip the driver.
  • Drivers were regular people who used their own vehicles and received a percentage of the fare.
  • Finally, Uber without owning a single vehicle managed everything through the app.

By effectively incorporating the management of the fleet, drivers, passengers and the payment system into a single app, Uber took a dated concept and turned the entire industry on its head.

Disruption is hardly a new thing, but the rate at which it is gaining velocity is astonishing.

When we talk of the digital space, social media platforms are the breeding grounds for disruptions. Some are growing at a staggering pace, such as Snapchat and Instagram – while others such as Google+ and Digg are on a decline.

That said, there will always be some things that will change, and some that won’t.

Relationships, consumer experience, trust are some things that will be critical to any major development – and they won’t change.

However, what will change is the delivery and the execution. With the advancement of technology and the introduction of tight metrics, the manner in which the content is delivered will play an important role in the digital disruption.

Therefore, let’s look at some changes to which marketers will have to adapt as we progress through the last half of this decade.

Big Data Becoming More Prominent

Marketers use several platforms to collect data of their customers and potential customers.

Big data is assisting marketers through in multiple ways:

  • Marketers know when the audience comes online – and what devices they use.
  • Marketers can track their online activity – which sites they visit, which products they like, where do they order their food, etc.
  • Big data allows marketers to use analytics to determine the popular content formats and which platforms engage people the most.

So what can marketers do with this data?

They personalize!

Personalization is Paramount

Once you’re armed with the big data, the next thing that is needed is to target them – individually!

The whole exercise of tracking the customer behavior is to give them an individualized experience that is tailored according to their needs.

For instance, when a customer passes by a Starbucks store, he receives a notification that is favorite latte is now available.

Or while doing email campaigns, marketers divide their target audience into multiple sub groups – so that each customer has a more personalized experience. E-mail blast is a strict no-no!

Advanced Content Management Systems

Content management systems have been more advanced, more sophisticated, sleek and economical.

These advanced systems help marketers to provide a customized personal experience to the customer efficiently and automatically.

An intelligent content management system tracks the fellow who walks by a Starbucks store, and gives him a push notifications based on these preferences.

A similar mechanism is being carried over to the social media. Audiences receive posts that are segregated based on their history and preferences. We are looking at a future where a consumer’s social media feed will become completely personalized – and the marketer will ensure maximum exposure to his brand.

Social Media Innovations

It’s suffice to say that social media is leading the charge of digital disruption.

Almost every social network is constantly upgrading and innovating in order to retain maximum people.

Instagram is coming up with carousels; streaming websites such as Meerkat, Periscope and Blab allow marketers to include live videos in real time.

The big daddy of social media – Facebook is heavily investing in incorporating videos into its feed. Facebook Live now allows people to stream up to 4 hours of video. It is heating up the competition by providing up to $2.2 million for content creators to use its platform.

Digital media is fast becoming the new ABC and CBS – places where people visit for their daily dose of news and information.

However, monetizing these innovations is going to be a challenge:

  • Advertising cannot be disruptive as TV commercials are.
  • Marketers will have to provide great customer experiences – similar to the Super Bowl commercials.
  • People are wary of being ‘tracked’ constantly. Marketers will have to find that ‘sweet spot’ where these innovations are helpful in exploration and purchasing processes – at the same time not being intrusive and threatening to the user.

Parting Thoughts

Disruption in any industry happens when conventional ideas become obsolete.

The future of the digital space is going to be disruptive – for sure.

However, one thing which won’t change is the experience – or the consumer experience. This is the parameter that will decide the success any disruptive idea.

Therefore, to provide great experiences to the customer, marketers will have to embrace innovations that come along their way.


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