Big change and the disruption interruption
Crazy times call for disruptive thinking
This month we are all learning a thing or two about disruption. Your daily routines, work habits, and home life have likely all been interrupted in recent weeks. While there are many negative aspects to these unprecedented events, there are upsides if you’re willing to look for them. Fact is, if you look at it right, there are two sides to this interruption disruption coin. Does the interruption have you thinking differently about your business or day-to-day work? Is there an opportunity for your company to be disruptive, but in a positive way? Can you turn this big change into bigger changes?
Here at Cayenne, we believe that sometimes, you can get shown the light in these scary situations if you look at them right.
The historic case for disruption
What do chocolate chip cookies, super glue, and post-it notes all have in common? These commonplace objects were all created unintentionally. Their inventors weren’t planning to invent those specific items, but we enjoy them today thanks to a timely interruption, distraction, or just a good old-fashioned accident.
Let’s explore this idea a bit. The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Graves, expected the chocolate bits to melt and disperse in her cookie dough. They didn’t. But, the results still turned out to be a tasty surprise, one that has boosted chocolate sales at Nestlé for decades. The man responsible for post-it notes, a chemist at 3M named Dr. Spencer Silver, was actually attempting to create a super-strong adhesive. What he did create was a much lighter glue that would allow an item to adhere temporarily and leave little to no residue when you removed it. He added the glue to paper and everyone’s favorite analog reminders were born. Quite the opposite of Dr. Silver’s discovery, super glue was discovered by accident in 1942 when Dr. Harry Wesley Coover was seeking to create clear plastic gun sights for the fighting men of World War II. The project was almost abandoned because the glue stuck to literally everything. He repurposed it for consumer use in 1958.
Here’s where it gets interesting (if you’re a geek about this stuff like we are)
So you may be thinking, “Yes, I’ve heard some of those stories before. But what does that have to do with me?” Take a little time to appreciate what we have here. We have an opportunity to get outside the confines of daily commutes and office life and think through how we go to market.
Consider the following questions:
- How are you defining your sales funnel?
- How are you tracking lead generation?
- Are you hitting your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the year?
- Will you be hitting your KPIs for the year if this public health crisis drags on?
- Is your marketing content part of a comprehensive, omnichannel plan that allows you to measure Return on Investment (ROI) quickly and easily?
Last summer, we posted a blog outlining the basics of inbound marketing. Almost a year later, the concepts are more relevant than ever. Businesses are closing doors or reducing hours in order to fight the worldwide pandemic. Some organizations will struggle mightily in the doldrums of social isolation. This theory of social distancing as a way of slowing the migration of the virus is recommended by public health experts and epidemiologists across the globe, but their recommendation provides little solace to the small business owner who runs the risk of having to shutter because of it. It’s strong medicine. Strong bitter medicine.
Some businesses will be nimble and change direction as a result of this massive change in consumer behavior. Others will struggle with a reduction in physical foot traffic and may not be able to pivot in any meaningful way. Still others will see a surge in demand as consumers look to online marketplaces and solutions for the goods and services they need.
Is it time to kick the tires on your business model?
Assuming you haven’t just decided to take your toys and go home, consider thinking this way: Is there an adjustment you can make in your operation to reveal new opportunities and revenue streams?
Is your business missing out on e-commerce or some other virtual solution? Are there updates that need to happen on your site to embrace increased online behaviors?
Here in Birmingham, Ala., a city recognized over the past ten years or so as a virtual mecca for the foodie – the Dinner Table of the South – bars and restaurants were quick to pivot to curbside pickup instead of seating groups of customers outside. Likewise, the Alcohol and Beverage Control Board has relaxed the liquor laws so that one can pick up cocktails and beers at curbside. “Yes, bartender, I’m in the pepper-red Mini Clubman and I’ll have two margaritas, chop chop. Oh, and bring me some change for the meter, will ya?” Hey, I gotta tell you, I’m less than one week into work-from-home mode, and I’ll be the first to admit that, were a taco truck to roll by my home office window as I write this, I would shoot the tires out to stop it. But, are any food trucks cruising residential routes right now? Not that I’ve seen. But, I bet the smart ones in the bunch are trying to figure out a way to do it.
What other quick adjustments could be made to meet your consumers where they are under these new conditions?
It may be time to seriously consider an inbound marketing strategy. In fact, this may be just the right type of innovation you have been looking for.
So what in the name of pandemonium is inbound marketing?
Your customers/clients seek solutions to their problems, and salve for their pains. In the simplest terms, inbound marketing is the process of creating all kinds of content that lead your audience to the ointment. It’s worth noting that there is also a technical aspect to deploying said content through various channels in a way that allows you to measure the results. More on that here.
Okay… are you ready for the headier definition? If not, bail now. If so, here it is:
Inbound marketing is a digital strategy that leads potential customers down an intentional path to purchase using various levels of technology to serve content such as blogs, case studies, whitepapers, infographics, newsletters, or other items to prospects based on their search behaviors, pain points, and other online interactions. This strategy depicts the various stages of the buyer’s journey and aligns those stages with a process, the client’s measures of success, and the specific content assets that will be used to advance the buyer from awareness, through interest, to becoming a completed lead. < breathe > An inbound marketing strategy is designed to remedy specific consumer pain points they likely feel as they research and ultimately select a solution. These strategies include content maps and processes that ensure all points along the path to purchase are supported by compelling content, and that the effectiveness of this content can be measured and continuously improved upon.
Audiences are personal, which is why we create audience personas
Ok, so let’s assume you’re ready to go full-tilt online. Getting your site up and running equipped with industry best practices for e-commerce or lead collection is really where you start. Once you’ve checked those boxes, it’s time to think about the type of customers you want to target. If you’ve executed against this model before, great! How are the results looking? Are you attracting the types of customers you expected? If you haven’t and this is a new concept to you and your business, check out our previous article and this free persona template too.
You may have explored inbound marketing or marketing automation solutions in the past and walked away, your head spinning with sticker shock and your hand instinctively reaching for your wallet. Yes, there are definitely some pricey enterprise solutions out there. But, we didn’t always have these robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation tools out there. We recommend thinking of inbound marketing first as a grassroots strategy. Do you have content, a web form, and a way to send mass emails? That may be all you need to get started. There are lots of ways to skin this cat.
Bottom line: If you’re seeing the situation we’re going through as nothing but disruption, maybe it’s time you flipped that coin over.
Have questions about developing your own inbound marketing plan? Drop us a line!