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How to successfully market a disruptive proposition.


In a world shaped by evolving customer expectations, there’s more space than ever before for innovative thinking. Visionary companies are harnessing the opportunity and using disruptive value propositions to shake up industries and inspire customers to think differently—either winning market share or creating entirely new markets.

Some iconic examples include: Tesla, which has not only created electric cars that set new energy- and cost-efficiency standards, but also gone beyond the final frontier and sent vehicles to space; and Netflix, whose streaming services have completely transformed the way most of us access entertainment.

While not every disruptive proposition is designed to drive incumbents out of business, the core goal is to offer something more innovative and attractive than the status quo.

What creates the conditions for disruption?

Multiple factors are at play, from regulatory change to rapid technological advancement. In the financial sector, for example, the credit crisis and various high-profile banking scandals have put transparency and the fair treatment of customers top of mind. These priorities are strongly reinforced by rising public scrutiny and greater enforcement action from the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). This, along with the increasing availability of innovative technologies, has fuelled the emergence of disruptive brands who are providing financial services that are more transparent, customer-centric, user-friendly and flexible than ever before.

There has also been a broader call for greater accountability, transparency and integrity around the use of personal data. Growing concerns over data protection and privacy, as well as ever-increasing cyber-crime risks, are transforming business practices and giving birth to tighter regulations, including the GDPR. This growing awareness of data privacy as a basic human right has stimulated innovation in many fields – creating a demand for new data protection services and solutions that support new, more transparent and responsible ways of working with personal data.

And, of course, the COVID-19 crisis has been a major catalyst for change recently, forcing many companies to accelerate innovation. There has, for example, been a massive upswing in demand for contactless customer service and engagement. Research shows that this trend could be here to stay, creating an excellent opportunity for ground-breaking approaches and fresh thinking around marketing channels. One study by McKinsey found that more than three quarters of B2B buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement over traditional face-to-face interactions.[1] Why? They’re not just appreciating the safety, but also the speed and convenience that these approaches offer.

Perhaps the most influential factor, however, is the shift in power from brands to customers. Customers have come to expect better and more innovative solutions from companies, because they have experienced market disruption from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Uber. These avant-garde brands have proven that anything is possible; and pushed the goalposts out for every company, in every industry.

As a result, today’s customers are more open to shifting their loyalties to the next best thing—a company that anticipates and meets their needs better than the incumbent brand.

At a time when your prospects and customers are thinking differently, your business needs to think differently too. If ever there was a time to bring a disruptive proposition to market or explore a disruptive new go-to-market model, it’s now!

Managing the challenges

There are many hurdles on the path to launching and marketing a disruptive proposition. You may have already encountered and solved challenges such as securing funding, obtaining licenses, ensuring compliance with regulations, and so forth.

Other common obstacles include:

Overcoming inertia:

When you’re marketing a ground-breaking solution, you need a clear value proposition that inspires people to change the way they think about traditional offerings in the industry—and switch to your brand. As you know, just being the newest, shiniest offering is not enough. Your customers need to understand WHY they should think beyond the status quo; and why they should be excited about your approach.

Ensuring scalability:

Some people are born to be ‘early adopters’; and they’ll be attracted by the novelty of your offering (perhaps the fact that you’re leveraging the latest technology trends). But how do you scale from there? Firstly, it’s critical to build strong relationships with your early adopters, so you can encourage them to become ambassadors for your brand. Secondly, you need systems, processes and marketing channels that are agile and scalable, so these support you as you expand your reach or go beyond borders to explore new markets.

Educating your market:

At first, your prospects may not even realise they need or want your offering. It’s critical that you educate them, so they can understand how your solution meets their needs. They may need to familiarise themselves with your new business model or way of working, and perhaps the new language or jargon you’ve had to invent to explain your convention-shattering solution. The better you educate your market, the more you’ll build understanding and credibility: the keys to ongoing success.

Staying ahead of the curve:

Once you’ve entered the market, don’t stop there. Keep identifying where incumbents’ practices and solutions are falling short, so you can fill these gaps and meet needs that aren’t being anticipated by competitors. Keep giving your customers more and more reasons to switch from the status quo; and then stick with your brand.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make when it comes to communicating your disruptive proposition is which communication channels you use to reach, educate, inspire and build rapport with both your early adopters and potential future customers.

One channel that’s well worth considering is voice contact.

Here are six reasons why live voice contact is well suited to disruptive propositions

1. Voice allows you to reach the right people who are open to change.

Once you've reached them you can then build relationships with these influencers or early adopters. According to Gartner, marketers who guide their buyers through change journeys “have even greater opportunity to build decision confidence and close the deal, because they’re helping buyers with what really matters: not the purchase, which is often just an outgrowth or incremental part of change, but with the change itself.”[2]

2. It’s educational and persuasive.

Because disruptive solutions look to meet needs that have previously been unmet, you need a channel that helps you to actively educate and persuade people who may never have imagined such a solution before. In a live conversation, you can share your vision, explain what’s possible and present a tailored argument based on real needs—current and future.

3. It allows you to capture customer insight.

Phone conversations enable you to gather honest and detailed customer feedback. These insights help you build a deeper understanding of your market, so you can identify the unmet needs that your disruptive proposition might address.

4. It’s agile and scalable.

Two-way conversations are dynamic, so you can position value in a personal way based on the interaction, as well as deeply engage to understand. Once your concept is established, however, a versatile, data-led channel such as the phone can be scaled quickly to drive growth.

5. It gives you the space to build trust.

Investing in a disruptive product requires a leap of faith on behalf of the buyer. Conversations help to build relationships, earn buyer confidence and gain trust—all the elements that need to be in place before customers will take that leap of faith and partner with you.

6. It helps you mitigate risk.

A disruptive proposition is unchartered territory for your business, so you’ll need an engagement channel that helps you gauge and manage risk. Voice is highly measurable, so you can compare it to other channels, as well as benchmark different strategies and approaches. It is also well suited to testing, so you can trial and refine your proposition, messaging and approach for maximum impact.

In the Age of the Customer, the onus is on brands to keep offering customers better and better solutions, while keeping competitors on their toes.

If your business is looking to introduce a disruptive value proposition and alter people’s perceptions of your brand, we can help you achieve these goals.

At The Telemarketing Company we have worked with many visionary, high-growth businesses in multiple sectors, helping them to disrupt markets, test propositions, establish credibility and grow sales. Our flexible, consultative phone-based services enable organisations to integrate human interaction alongside digital channels to deliver an exceptional customer experience and remain compliant. If you would like to discuss how we could support your unique requirements, get in touch.

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