Digital Disruption: The Good, The Bad, The Inevitable

by Isaac Oswalt on September 22, 2015


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For those of us in digital and inbound marketing, we experience wave after wave of trends, buzzwords, techniques, tactics and even fads. We sift, experiment, research, test and study until we can better get tangible results from what is, in essence, data in the form of electrons. What we do is due to "Digital Disruption”.

One definition of digital disruption refers to it as “Changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a pace and magnitude that disrupt established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and more generally our thinking.”

The word “disruption” would lead us to believe that this change is a negative. While there are challenging aspects of dealing with our digital age, and it certainly can be viewed as a threat, there is also tremendous opportunity in digital marketing.

Past Technological “Disruptions”

There was a time, before recordings were available, that the only way to experience a musical performance was in person. Before radio, few Americans never heard the voice of a president. Television changed the way most of us spent our evenings. These were all “disruptions” in the way things were done in the past. Few would argue that overall, however, they were negative.

Because of these technological “disruptions”, entire businesses and industries grew. We became closer as a society and shared moments that would emotionally bind us. We got to share in the joys of Royal weddings, Olympic achievements, and stunning images from beyond our universe. Today we are sharing on even more intimate levels.

The Good

We are living in a time where people are willing to share information for increased connectivity. This is creating never before seen marketing opportunities for companies willing to embrace this seismic shift. Clearly, companies who have a digital strategy will have greater opportunities for success.

The Bad

Some businesses are almost being paralyzed by digital disruption. They may not know what to do or where to go. They may not have kept up with technology or the digital marketing opportunities that exist. These companies can fall into a couple of categories.  

  • Two feet in the past. These are organizations that refuse to accept what is going on around them. They may have a website and a social media presence, but that would be the extent of it. Sadly, some of these companies will see their margins and their savvy competitors squeeze them into extinction.
  • One foot in the past. Many companies fall into this category. Change is difficult and challenging. They are experimenting with digital marketing and perhaps getting some help along the way. They just can’t move both feet forward…yet.

The Inevitable

There are companies, however, that are stepping into the future. These are the businesses that are embracing technology and digital marketing. They have shifted to inbound marketing and successful content marketing strategies. One such manufacturing company is Wiley Metal. This is a traditional family-owned company with baby-boomer ownership. They are embracing the Millennial workforce. They are implementing business-to-business digital marketing strategies to grow their business. If inbound marketing can work for a traditional metal fabrication firm, it can work for you.

It is time to embrace digital disruption. It is, after all, not about the technology, it is about the customer. It is about how to best reach and serve them. It is likely what you are trying to do now. At 21 Handshake we live and breathe inbound marketing in West Michigan.  We can show you how digital disruption can help you do it better. 


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Isaac Oswalt

Owner of 21 Handshake, a strategic marketing company, driven to grow relationship-driven businesses. Futurist in nature, Isaac displays a deep desire to preserve the human element in today's business. Trust being the ultimate currency, his clients appreciate that "new and stronger handshakes" is a success metric in their businesses.

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