I am always very skeptical about the many “new” concepts or wordings we use in the marketing world. “Cloud”, “Big Data”, “Growth Hacking”: a lot of fancy concepts which keep being promoted as revolutionary movements in marketing conferences, keynotes or trade shows, when in actual fact most of these “new” concepts have been actively used and proven for decades. I decided to find out if the latest “B2B disruptive marketing” was one of these so-called revolutionary movements.
#B2Bdisruption: a hashtag growing in popularity, on both a macro level, all social media and a micro level on Twitter alone, gaining great usability.
Before I begin using concrete examples, in answering the question provoked above, I want to start with a simple statement: it can take up to 10 years to confirm if a so-called disruption actually took place or whether what we experienced wasn’t just another movement in innovation. “Not all innovations are disruptive, even if they are revolutionary”¹.
Take the example of the “PS. I love you” story by Hotmail. The storyline shows two hardware engineers, Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, wanting to launch the first webmail. This story is considered today as one of the foundations of what we call today “growth hacking”. Did Sabeer and Bhatia have any idea that their movements would be called a disruption 20 years later? Not one second. More information regarding this point can be read in the book “Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising” (my book report HERE) by Ryan Holiday.
In other research I conducted, it appeared that the term disruptive innovation was actually coined by Clayton M. Christensen in 1995. The funny aspect to this is that I found articles on serious French websites denoting that “DISRUPTION” was registered as a trademark in 1992 by the French international advertising agency TBWA, claims Jean-Marie Dru, current Chairman of this company. His article available here (in French only sorry). I’m not searching for old dusty pieces of resources here, but I do believe it is interesting to consider the fact that this, now common, concept of disruption is more than 20 years old!