Disruption is a deviation from a central character or behaviour or process or style of doing something. But why would you deviate from something? Deviation for the sake of deviation or disruption for the sake of disruption doesn’t really work either. Because if a process is working very well then wouldn’t changing it be bad? Swapnil Devre talks about how, when and what to disrupt in the branding and marketing niche. This article is a guide on how to think differently as well.
Swapnil Devre on how to decide what exactly to disrupt?
Whenever people exhibit herd mentality or behaviour based on conformity as opposed to logic there is something fishy going on. This is also called a trend if you want to be more politically correct. Ask the question what are people doing in any field that has no real reason but have excuses to back their action up. Now here is a problem with this approach. You are part of the mob and you are also doing somethings that you yourself don’t know exactly why. For example, people use Facebook and Google ads to promote their business because it’s cheaper. So there is a natural consensus on this. But is it true that digital ads are cheaper or are people just blindly walking in this direction without thinking?
If you think it through, the attention span of people has dropped sharply in the last decade. Don’t you think that this has some impact on Ad expenses? This has changed the digital ads landscape completely because a one-second drop in attention span coupled with increased competition in that space has made it nearly not possible for most new and small advertisers to get some meaningful ROI through digital ads. So just like TV ads, digital ads are increasingly going out of reach for the average small business. Thinking that digital ads are the holy grail is like thinking that this one pick-up line will work with all women. We know this is nonsense. This is how you decide what to disrupt.
Digital ads are not working for the average small business both online and offline. You might have heard complaints from businesses like “I tried Facebook ads via a digital marketing agency but was just able to breakeven and not make the kind of return that I expected.” This is a wakeup call. If you are not listening to this cry and filtering it out then you are not thinking, you are on autopilot.
Once we decide what to disrupt, how to disrupt it?
Swapnil Devre thinks that this too needs a rational approach: I think that each business requires its own unique strategy. It’s like war, if everyone one uses the same strategy then no one can have an upper hand and win in a meaningful way. It’s a stalemate among all the similar strategies. It then boils down to who can execute the same strategy. Which is what we are seeing with people trying to make attractive ads to hook the audience. They are trying to out-execute the competition and not outmanoeuvre the competition with strategy.
So how to outmanoeuvre with strategy because this might be your only option if you are David against Goliath. Small businesses cannot out-execute they can only outmanoeuvre against established businesses. For small businesses and startups, a non-competitive space for advertisement would be smaller billboards and local sales and networking groups where you can effectively create a small monopoly. The goal here is to reach people and not which channel is cooler to advertise on. You cannot think about mass-market appeal at this point. The same goes for online businesses. The least competitive space is the best place to start and create a mini monopoly. Online groups are a mini world where you can dominate and get into people’s heads and become a brand. Spend some money on targeting these people with attractive non-sleazy value-added posts. Because unlike Facebook ads where people scroll through, group posts get more attention and plus it’s free. Also you can control the retargeting. You have more control over your advertising in a Facebook group than bigger competitors who are doing paid ads.
What is Swapnil Devre’s advice to young marketers?
Think, just think it through and you will think differently as a result because others are not doing it. Think every step of the way, why am I doing it?