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The Marketing System for Disruptive Innovation

By Joanne Jacobs

I have always known that “build it and they will come” is worse than wishful thinking. I knew it when I built my first, hand-crafted HTML website. I knew it when I started my Servant of Chaos marketing blog. And I knew it when I started my own companies, worked for global software companies and established digital marketing agencies. But knowing something and acting upon it are two different things. Along the way, I learned other things too – and one of the most important lessons was to make myself redundant. To create systems that carry on the good work that you start. And that is why Disruptor’s Handbook is being created in a quite specific way – it’s a marketing system for disruptive innovation.

Why a Marketing System?

We know that corporate innovation is notoriously difficult, with close to 90% of new products and services failing. The failure rate for startups is similar. And while the way that you innovate within a corporate looks, feels and smells completely different to the way that you innovate within a startup environment, both tend to overlook, discount or undervalue the work of marketing. And yet, almost universally, startup founders and innovation leaders complain about lack of press, media and industry coverage. They fret over awareness with their market, rates of signup and churn, loyalty and retention. What they need is a marketing-led innovation system.

A marketing system is important because it stops you from reinventing the wheel. And when your runway is short, your opportunity is high and the pressure is on, the last thing a founder or venture leader needs is to worry about the newsletter going out. Or the onboarding to suck. Or the product feedback loop to break. It was from exactly these kinds of problems that Disruptor’s Handbook was born.


Putting the Innovation Pieces Together

We have written eBooks, delivered presentations and training and developed handbooks. We have tested and refined everything we do by working with clients – and have a backlog of publishing that we continue to work on.

Our plan has always been to create a marketing-led system for disruptive innovation. We have now had over 1000 downloads of our handbooks, plenty of feedback, encouragement and requests.

So I thought I would share our grand plan with you – the Disruptor’s Handbook Top 50. These are the 50 steps to grow and scale your startup into a business powerhouse.

  • Phase 1 – Getting stuff done. These are the handbooks in red. This is the earliest stage of articulating and defining the problems you are solving and the solution to them.
  • Phase 2 – Doing the right things. These are the handbooks in grey. Now you need to start backing up your enthusiasm and passion with real capacity.
  • Phase 3 – Getting smarter faster. These are the handbooks in orange. Innovation never rests, and neither do your competitors. How do you continue to grow your business?
  • Phase 4 – Gaining scale gracefully. These are the handbooks in blue. What do you do to bring enterprise scale and thinking to your business?
  • Social impact. The future of innovation is not just about what you’ve built, but the impact you’ve had and the legacy you leave. These are the handbooks in green.
  • Basics. The handbooks in light grey cover the basics of a range of topics.

DH - Library



You can download these handbooks and use them. You can have us mentor you through their use in your business, or you can even have us consult with your business to run your innovation ventures. The choice is yours.

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