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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Video: The Difference Between Interruption and Disruptive Marketing

    Posted by Michael Dooley

    Why Being a Disruption Can Be a Good Thing


    Being interruptive and being disruptive, in marketing, are two completely different things. One of the main differences between the two is who is being interrupted and who is being disrupted. Interruption marketing interrupts the daily life of a consumer, while disruption marketing disrupts the flow of traditional marketing strategies. The major difference comes in the fact in that one is seen as a general annoyance and the other stands out by being unique. As a marketer, it’s nearly impossible to make a quality piece of disruptive content every time. But by understanding what classifies these styles of marketing, you can make your best effort to be a disruption rather than interruption.

    Pardon The Interruption, Well Not Really

    Interruption marketing is unapologetic. The sole purpose is to force the consumer to buy their product or service, and the messaging is created on the idea of “sell, sell, sell.” It comes in many forms, from “buy now” emails, television infomercials, to billboards on the side of the road. These are often the advertisements that people hate and complain about. A way to think of disruptive marketing is to compare it to disruptive technology. Disruptive technologies are innovations that create new markets, which make their predecessors obsolete or inferior. Disruptive marketing bucks the trend of traditional marketing techniques that have become overused or outdated.

    Behavior and Adaptation

    Another concept to consider is an interruption is a temporary break, and after an interruption people move back on to what they were doing. People have learned and will continue to learn how to avoid marketing they don’t want to see.  When your marketing blends together with traditional strategies, it can easily be ignored as white noise. A piece of interruptive marketing is seen, assessed, and then quickly moved on from. The flip-side of this is when a piece of marketing content disrupts the norm, people see it and don’t immediately move on because they are genuinely interested.

    Successful Disruptions

    Red Bull Stratos

    This was one of the most compelling marketing campaigns ever launched because of the scale and danger of the event. Red Bull had a skydiver set the world record for the highest altitude jump, by leaping from a capsule in the Earth’s stratosphere. The event was streamed on YouTube and audiences spent the better portion of the day watching the coverage leading up to the jump. Red Bull has done similar campaigns to this with extreme sports stunts, but none to this scale. The consistent element across all of their “stunt” campaigns was that Red Bull was not the focus. The audience was never told to “buy Red Bull now,” instead they were simply presented with an event that genuinely interested them.

    Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

    In the past, if a music album was promoted on TV it usually fit into one generic type of commercial that we have all seen before. “Buy the new album from… Includes hit single… Available at these stores… Buy now.” Rapper Jay Z released a commercial during the 2013 NBA Finals promoting his upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. The commercial took an original approach, as a long-form commercial shot with a documentary feel. Jay Z was shown in his studio working with famous producers on the album, and talking about the purpose behind the album. The point of this commercial was still to sell albums, but the audience was given a new insight they haven’t seen before with the behind-the-scenes feel. Rather than feeling like they were being told to buy something, the audience could feel they were given a special preview and that they were a part of the creative process.

    Dove Real Beauty Sketches


    Like other successful disruptions, this campaign was not focused around selling, but did an amazing job of generating interest. The first time I saw this video campaign on YouTube, I had no clue it was from Dove, but I continued to watch because of how interesting it immediately was. The video is very thought provoking as it provides insight on the way people view and judge their appearance. Dove wraps up the video by providing a warm message to the audience and offering simply a link to watch more of the videos.

    Not every marketing campaign can be a great disruptive innovation, as there has to be a certain amount of mediocrity, otherwise great marketing wouldn’t stand out. But every once in a while, you can come up with a fresh idea that holds genuine value to your audience and try to present it in a way that makes the audience stop and appreciate it, rather than push them towards action.

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing