27 Sep

Is it Time to Do Some Disrupting of Your Own?

Much has been written about the fear of being disrupted.  Maybe it is actually time to do a little disrupting of your own and strike fear into others. Here’s an example of a company thoroughly understanding their external environment, making a calculated move and capitalizing.

The client was a successful, mid-tier player in a maturing market that caught the attention of some very large players who sought to bolster their own market shares by buying up niche players and migrating these customers to the large player’s own platform. In one case, the large player had bought a niche player and had announced that the niche player’s platform was being phased out in a few months.

This served as a trigger for the client who sensed that there might be a fleeting opportunity to capture a few new customers by virtue of the change. The strategy we embarked on was to swiftly interview a number of decision makers, both wins and losses that the client had experienced against the niche player over the past year.  We discovered that while the niche player’s client base was satisfied with their current application, they were okay with a switch as long as the key functionality was covered, but what they feared the most was having to incur the pain of what they believed would be a lengthy, costly migration.

This was a relatively surprising finding as we were all thinking that it would be about closely matching the core functionality “to a tee,” which would have been costly for the client to implement. With this information, the client’s product managers were able to focus and create a comprehensive migration bundle that addressed and removed the pain identified in the interviews. It was also far less expensive than implementing changes in their offer to match the incumbent’s offer. With the ease of migration message clearly articulated in some pin point marketing, along with an educated and well-motivated sales force, this campaign resulted in millions of dollars of takeaway revenue for the client in a short period of time. It was far more than they had expected to obtain.

A few months later, one of the other large players bought a niche player and the client got very excited, thinking that we could notch another similar success.  In the course of our interviews, we uncovered a much different attitude in this niche player’s base.  Their concerns were being addressed and they were “drinking the Kool-Aid.”  The client did not go after this “false opportunity” and kept their powder dry to disrupt another day.

Keeping an eye on the external market enabled this company to spot trigger events, direct the research effort and act accordingly.  In one case, they scored a big win and in the other avoided unnecessary costs.