The What, Why, and How of Disruptive Marketing

What is disruptive marketing?

Content is king. You’ve heard it from us and probably countless other marketers before. It’s incredibly important to have a consistent flow of content, and it’s just as important for that content to fit within your brand and the story that you want to tell.

But the internet is a loud place. Everyone is constantly under a barrage of content, both organic and paid. We consume it at an ever-accelerating rate. So when it comes to your output of content as a musician trying to build a fanbase, how do you break through the noise?

Disruptive marketing is the implementation of out-of-the-box strategies that catch your target audience off guard, getting them to pay attention by presenting your content or story in a different and unique way from what they’re used to.

So why is disruptive marketing worth investing in?

For starters, there’s tremendous value in being able to disrupt someone’s social feed and get their attention. Once you have their attention, you can share your message, your sales pitch, or your story. Breaking through in an unexpected way helps you stay in the minds of your audience as well. Ideally, you’re presenting them with a story or a product that they are interested in and will remember, but with disruptive marketing, the way that you’re presenting that product is memorable on its own.

On top of sticking in people’s memories, disruptive marketing can be an affordable alternative to many standard marketing strategies. There are countless ads on social media at this point with some language along the lines of, “Our new single is out now, go listen on Spotify!” You’ve probably seen multiple versions of that just today. And sure, if you target that properly and have a catchy song and/or a cool video clip in the ad visual, you’ll probably get some solid reach, have a decent click-through rate -- but you’re likely not getting much more than that. Even if the song you’re promoting is a hit, the most you can expect out of that ad is for the people who see it to click through and listen to the track.

But place a unique and disruptive piece of content in its place, and you now have the potential for so much more. If that content you’re using to promote the song is unique enough to stand on its own, you have the added potential to build organic engagement - getting your target audience to not only engage with the destination you’re sending them to, but also with the piece with which you are promoting, essentially stretching the potential of each dollar spent.

How do you do it?

The first step to building a piece of content or a strategy that’s disruptive is to identify what exactly you’re disrupting. That means the platform itself (is this on the TikTok For You Page, Instagram stories, Facebook Feed?), but also the audience you’re wanting to engage. So dig in and do your research.

Some great starter questions to ask yourself are:

  • How does your audience typically use the platform?
  • What types of content do they typically consume?
  • What trends connect best with them?
  • What ideas are other similar artists and content creators using to engage with them?

It’s important that your strategy can disrupt what that audience and platform is used to seeing, but also important that it’s not so far out of the usual that it comes off confusing or uninteresting.

Once your research is done, the next step is experimentation.

By its nature, there’s no one right way to disrupt. The whole point is to do something new and different, so as long as you’re keeping distance from the tried-and-true, you’re on the right track. But you won’t know what works until you try it. So build out a handful of ideas and start testing. You can do that organically on your feeds, or through A/B testing on your ads themselves. Keep a close eye on results and engagement from each test and lean into the ones that work.

Using disruption to further your brand

As I touched on in my previous blog, it’s important to make sure every piece of content that you roll out fits within your brand and story. And that still applies when it comes to disruptive content. Just think, if you create the most disruptive idea that stops everyone in their tracks, but it has no ties to you and your brand visually or contextually, what long term value are you adding? In that case, you’ve really just got a strong piece of social or ad content that might get the eyes and clicks you want, but it doesn’t explain to your target audience who you are or what you’re about. So as you build out these ideas, be sure that they fit the voice, style, humor, etc. that you’ve already established. Through testing and research, you should be able to find a happy medium between disruptive strategies and your brand that will stretch your ad dollars further than anything you’ve tried before.

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