Early Identification of Market Disruption


One key strategy for businesses seeking to grow revenue and drive additional market presence is to find and exploit disruptive opportunities. The “scouting” of new technologies is probably the most popular and receives the most media attention. Another strategy is to seek complacency in market segments and arrogance in markets where a company has significant share.

Case in point: I write this as the FTC announces that AT&T has been “slowing” the transmission speeds of their Unlimited Policy customers. The FTC maintains that this was an unfair practice andBarriers-Beware_TRENDS-14 the company failed to notify their customers of the practice. AT&T’s response (and this is the important point here) responded to the media that they notified their customers and in reality “it only affects less than 3% of our customers”. Over a million customers have just been disenfranchised from AT&T’s business and relegated to an afterthought. A market segment ripe for the picking.

Another case in point: Obama Care, like it or hate it, supplied insurance to millions of the uninsured. However, the 1 or 2% of independent consultants (like us), small businesses, proprietorships, small retailers, etc. saw their premiums jump 400%. The media response was once again: “A very small percentage of the market was adversely affected”. Small markets are a relative term and often lead to growing markets.

We see a growing trend in business, at least in the U.S., where small percentage market segments are given little thought and often used as a reason to focus on a larger segment of the market. Disruption comes directly from this disenfranchised segment precisely because they are the ones primed for risk taking, who have a willingness to seek alternatives and who are more likely to work through early adopter pains. This is how and where disruptions first get started. Technologies accelerate the process but the fertile grounds of the disenfranchised is unmistakably ground zero for market disruptions.

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