Daniel Hodges, CEO and founder of Consumers in Motion Group, believes that one of the top trends affecting the advertising industry in 2018 will be intelligent disruption. It sounds intimidating—and it can certainly be damaging—but, like any business challenge, intelligent disruption can be overcome through clever, adaptive handling and up-to-date knowledge of your industry.
What is intelligent disruption?
Intelligent disruption means the evolution of technology and its effect on how industries function. Rather than a sudden event, think of it as a developing, living entity: “disruption is a process, not an event,” says Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail.
Translation: you probably won’t wake up one day to find that the entire agri-marketing industry has changed overnight. But, if you’re not wary, you could find that it’s been shaken up—in other words, disrupted—by a new technology you underestimated, leaving you and your business behind as your competitors outperform you.
What does it mean for you?
The main risk of intelligent disruption is your business falling behind because of technological innovation. For those in agricultural-related businesses, this could mean anything from not staying up-to-date on the latest technology being used in sought-after brands to not adapting to new digital marketing trends that your competitors are embracing.
In short, intelligent disruption can hurt your business if you aren’t prepared—but it can be navigated successfully if you know how to handle it.
How can you avoid the risks of intelligent disruption?
Don’t ignore industry events. Events like conferences and conventions can be key tools in helping you keep up with the latest innovations in your industry. Panels and discussions at industry events—such as the National Farm Machinery Show or the Sunbelt Ag Expo—can help you stay informed about what consumers are reacting to. In addition, they could shed light on what paths your competitors are taking, preventing your business from getting blindsided by the latest marketing technique that’s taking your industry by storm.
Be flexible, but don’t lose yourself. Understanding the latest innovations and what they mean (or could mean) for you is important, but don’t be too hasty to change your entire brand all at once—your core message is still valuable, particularly when loyal customers are involved. Instead, think of ways to get that core message across in terms of the innovation you’ve learned about. Your steadfast customers will appreciate your consistent message, and by harnessing the changes in your industry, you’ll grow your chances of attracting new customers, too.
Stéphane Bérubé, CMO of L’Oréal—a company that has been no stranger to digital innovation in recent years—puts it this way: when “you want to transform your organization, you need to start with looking at what has made the organization win. Even if it’s in the last three, five, or ten years, what is the core thing that you need to keep to keep winning?” In other words, play to your existing strengths: adapt your current successes to the innovations that could be beneficial to your brand.
Stay aware and prepared. Complacency won’t get you far. When adapting to innovation, consider making changes when business is good, not when you think change is desperately needed. “[Don’t] wait until the business is in trouble. You need to operate changes when business is going well, not the day you start losing customers,” notes Bérubé.
He takes this stance because even when your business is booming, a new form of intelligent disruption could develop when you least expect it, throwing a wrench into your perfectly-planned marketing strategy. Keep that from happening by staying abreast of the latest industry innovations—whether technological, agricultural, or commercial—and being mindful of how those innovations could affect your business.