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When I refer to “making blue oceans”, I am referring to strategy laid out in a book written by Harvard Professors, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, called Blue Ocean Strategy (go buy it from Amazon here).
The whole point of the book is to analyze how companies have battled head-to-head with each other for competitive advantage and market share. Every company wants to be the “big fish” within their market, however (as Blue Ocean Strategy authors put it)”competing head-on results in nothing but a bloody “red ocean” of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” Kim and Mauborgne argue that tomorrow’s leading companies will succeed not by battling competitors, but by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space ripe for growth.
Red Oceans are all the industries (and niches) in existence today—the known market space. In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products become commodities or niche, and cutthroat competition turns the ocean bloody. Hence, the term red oceans.
Blue oceans, are all the industries that do not yet exist, the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.
The cornerstone of Blue Ocean Strategy is 'Value Innovation'. Value Innovation is created when a company creates value simultaneously for both the buyer and the company. The innovation (in product, service, or delivery) must raise and create value for the market, while simultaneously reducing or eliminating features or services that are less valued by the current or future market.
Basically every industry, at one time, was a blue ocean. The key is figuring out how to be continuously innovative because all blue oceans will eventually turn red…
My marketing philosophy revolves around this concept! I believe that all businesses (that spend the time and effort) can create blue oceans. But this also hinges on the idea of challenging status quo – you cannot create a blue ocean by “staying safe” and sticking to the traditional marketing methods accepted by your industry.
“Wow. That’s different!” or “That’s not what I expected” need to be phrases heard frequently around your office! If every other Chiropractor/Staffing Agency/Plumber/Auto Mechanic/<insert your profession here> is running their marketing and business model the same, then you are trying to be the loudest in the crowd – imagine how much easier you could be heard if you were the only one shouting!