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Over the past two decades, the Interprose team has had the pleasure of working with several companies that are often referred to as “market disruptors.” But what exactly is a market disruptor?

Although aware of the “rules” for a given industry, market disruptors typically defy “boundaries” and see solutions from completely new perspectives that cut through the status quo.

The crucial difference with any disruptor is their desire to be first to market. They salivate at the thought of being first. It’s what drives them to plant the seed and cultivate a brand that excites, invigorates and, in many instances, engenders customer loyalty. Consider Amazon, Hello Fresh, Uber, and Netflix as a few examples of market disruptors.

While the people leading these companies are smart and savvy, they achieve success through connecting a missing link, solving a problem and/or filling a gap in existing services. By seizing opportunities, these company leaders stake their claim and—like stellar entrepreneurs—seek reward through building something from the ground up. But how do they survive for the long haul?

Market disruptor

These products were disruptors for their time.

Without ongoing innovation and steadfast leadership, market disruptors can fade into the background. After all the initial ruckus, competitors often swoop in and gobble up customers that are leftover. The disruptor’s share of voice narrows. Price wars begin and business plans are continually revised.

What made the brand great in the beginning can become stifled by the imposition of unplanned interferences. The company might then grasp for whatever creative idea is slapped on the table (usually the “flavor of the month”). In effect, the market disruptor becomes disrupted.

Market disruption is about breaking through the staid industry positioning. Customer minds can only hold so many brands per category so being able to “shake the ladder” and knock off a top brand is the dream of many entrepreneurs. Staying there is the true point of difference, and Google is a good example of this.

When Google arrived in 1998, it was an online search firm that had devised a new type of search technology. The offspring of that work now handles over 90 percent of the world’s internet searching. But Google did not stop with search. It continues to hire innovative people and offer an experimental environment for its staff to continue to find new ways of disrupting markets. In this way, Google has built market disruption into its business model.

But startups are not the only businesses that can disrupt the marketplace. No matter the size or age of your business, there are ways to increase innovative thinking and shake up your industry.

  • Attend forward-thinking industry events like Design Thinking & Innovation Week, IBM’s Think, The Augmented World Expo (AWE) and the aptly named, Disrupt.
  • Conduct quarterly competitive landscape analyses to monitor your industry and new products and services your competitors are offering. Don’t make this just a hard copy report, but rather a starting point for internal brainstorming on the evolution of your offerings.
  • Create an advisory council who can offer outsider viewpoints and guidance with a fresh perspective. Look to leaders in various roles in different industries to create this team.
  • Keep innovation on your company front burner. Most disruptions take time. Supporting the projects or initiatives you have a sense could really take off. Give them the time and resources to heat up. Showcase their progress and encourage other departments so that eventually the entire organization is leaning toward a disruptive mindset.
  • Establish a practice with recent hires to share their insights and fresh perspectives. What didn’t work at their last organization? Where do they see opportunities in the industry? Check in with them after a month to share recommendations on what changes your business could make.
  • Develop customer surveys to uncover dissatisfaction and possible new pain points your business could solve.

The success of market disruption comes from delivering products or services that solve issues and make life easier for potential customers. Deep diving into your customers’ pain points and encouraging company-wide brainstorming may well find your business being labeled the next market disruptor.

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard

The Interprose team has been supporting market disruptors and innovative companies since its inception. Let us help build your reputation and thought leadership in the B2B technology space. Contact us today.


This article was originally created in November 2013 and has since been updated.

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