Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Creative Disruption.

Semantics play havoc with many business concepts - witness the ongoing confusion of promotion and marketing that remarkably still persists. Another example, I think, is that of disruption which to me is a word that generates visions of almost violent upheaval, but Clayton Christensen's paradigm shifts do not necesarily have to be like that. The impact may be significant, but that which causes the disruption can be subtle.

As Christensen himself says "The successful disruptive business model facilitates or lubricates existing patterns of behavior. It's not predicated on consumers changing behaviour." Web 2.0 advocates should take note.

Cement companies have lifted themselves out of the commodity business and grabbed more of the value chain by becoming suppliers of ready mixed concrete with guaranteed delivery times, while a frustrated junior chef in London entered the wholesale fish business and realised he could charge far more if he supplied ready filleted and prepared portions to his restaurant customers. Customer behaviour didn't change, but their life was made far easier.

The coup d'oeuil (literally a bang in the eye) outlined by famous military strategist Von Clausewitz is so described because it's a rare thing and we can all waste vast amounts of time looking for the next big idea when merely adapting something from one market to another can be hugely disruptive and successful.

Costnerian economics is all too often undermined by building in the wrong place so just cast where the fish are.


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