Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Differentiation Isn't Disruption.

This could be the start of a series of posts about the misuse of terms by supposed experts. We shall see. Today's example was an author/lecturer suggesting that the UK bottled water industry had ballooned into an £8 billion business because the market had been disrupted by companies who didn't sell water but sold experiences based on stories about French mountain streams and Swiss lakes.

Wrong. That's not disruption, that's just plain old differentiation and pretty lazy differentiation at that. It's one water company trying to make us think that their water is markedly different from that of their competitors and clearly superior to tap water.

The disruption occurred when people in temperate climates became convinced that in the normal events of their normal day they must inevitably become dehydrated and therefore need bottled water. I don't know if it was a calculated commercial move or just an offshoot of the fitness boom, but it was that new mindset that led to changed behaviours.

Disruption grows markets by changing minds. Differentiation is much more concerned with cutting up the pie. It's a crucial distinction.


Blogger Mark McGuinness said...

Thanks for differentiating disruption.

12:31 AM, May 13, 2008  

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