‘Disruptive’ may be a trendy word in start-up pitches, but academics don’t throw around the term lightly. Theoretically, companies need ground-breaking ideas–and ambitious plans for bringing them to low-end or new markets.
Netflix is a great example that disruption can take time and that is why incumbents frequently overlook disrupters. Netflix launched, in 1997, its initial service wasn’t appealing to most of Blockbuster’s customers, who rented movies (typically new releases) on impulse. Netflix had an exclusively online interface and a large inventory of movies, but delivery through the U.S. mail meant selections took several days to arrive. The service appealed to only a few groups and Blockbuster filled the need of a larger and very different customer.
However, as new technologies allowed Netflix to shift to streaming video over the internet, the company did eventually become appealing to Blockbuster’s core customers, offering a wider selection of content with an all-you-can-watch, on-demand, low-price, high-quality, highly convenient approach. And it got there via a classically disruptive path. If Netflix (like Uber) had begun by launching a service targeted at a larger competitor’s core market, Blockbuster’s response would very likely have been a vigorous and perhaps successful counterattack. But failing to respond effectively to the trajectory that Netflix was on led Blockbuster to collapse.
Incumbents must have the ability to recognise and overcome the typical pattern of response (or lack of) that characterises companies in the incumbent’s position. This most often requires acuity of foresight and a willingness to respond boldly before it’s too late, which usually means acting before it is obvious you have to do so.
Osmii attended the App Promotion Summit London a few weeks ago, that since 2013 has lead the App and Marketing growth conference across London, Berlin and New York. On this edition “disruption” kept being the most spoken keyword of the summit. Many marketing tools are necessary across the path of disruptive apps. Without it, companies may not be able to cross the “early adopters’ stage”.
Across a full range of app marketing techniques, the most important ones nowadays are App Store Optimisation, Mobile Growth Hacking, Digital Advertising, Personalization and Automation, and the key topic that most impressed us was during the event was about Recommendations Systems and Smart Notifications with Ben Woolf, Co-founder of Andi.
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