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You Don’t Have to Be a Disruptor to Be Disruptive

By David Yockelson | April 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

product marketingGTMGo To Marketdigital disruptionDigital Business

Nearly every organization is considering or undertaking some form(s) of digital transformation.

Nearly every technology and service provider (TSP) is attempting to tailor its offerings to organizations undertaking transformation.

[editor’s note – the tally officially became “every” for both of the above during the writing of this blog]

Digital disruptors like Amazon/Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alphabet (Google), and Salesforce (among others) are continually top of mind within both end user and TSP organizations, both because of the examples they set and the pervasiveness of their brands and their technologies — and the promise (threat?) of future disruption. Other TSPs, many of which have a disruptive heritage and have attempted or succeeded with more recent endeavors (e.g., IBM and Watson, Microsoft and O365/Azure), seek the near religious fervor surrounding their disruptive competition. Still others are anxious both to incorporate disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, Internet  of Things (IoT) capabilities, augmented or virtual reality (A/VR), or voice within their offerings and take them to market within their offerings.

How can those TSPs that are not digital giants or recognized disruptors integrate the “wow” of disruptive capabilities or business models with the “now” of practicality that digitally transforming organizations need?

By using the elements of disruption. By applying these four elements…



…to the major components of go-to-market (GTM). In reality, there’s not a lot more here than working through sound product marketing 101-like feature-benefit-value translations, but (1) many TSPs don’t do that well and (2) marketing the “disruptive” nature of their “ilities” may not be straightforward. As an example, a provider might use a “freemium” model or even offer key services for little or no fee relative to competition to attempt to disrupt. The TSP might create industry-specific ecosystems to corner a market. It might possess patent technology that gives it a differentiated, unique technical offering and then use that “panache” in hiring campaigns. All of these are potentially disruptive notions that can relate directly both to GTM or (ultimately) value for customers.

Let’s go back to all those digitally transforming organizations. Since so many of them are wondering if either they will be disrupted (and need to play defense) or need to disrupt (and play offense), they require guidance that takes them from the more mundane digital optimization to the exciting world of digital disruption. That, in turn, means understanding where in their business or industry processes they can have the most impact, how disruptive technologies can enable them to approach those identified “business moments” in a novel way, and lastly what that will mean for their customers and stakeholders.

TSPs have the opportunity to leverage the above elements to discuss the disruptive ways in which their “ilities” can make a major difference for customers as well as to affect positively their own GTM initiatives (and disrupt others’). This is the two-sided coin of disruption for TSPs, but many are not adept at seeing both sides. From June 18-21 in Huntington Beach, CA at Gartner’s Technology Growth and Innovation Conference, we’ll be talking about digital disruption, helping TSPs address their GTM challenges, and meshing the two to help providers meet the needs of their prospects and customers most effectively.


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