Do You Know How a “Blue Ocean” Strategy Can Help You Bring Your Business to the Next Level?
Have you ever noticed how virtually all businesses in the same industry tend to use the same strategies? Then there will be one business which utilizes at least one strategy not used by the others, and as a result experiences greater success. That success can be in increased sales, greater profit, or a more productive team. This is the concept of a blue ocean strategy vs. strategy convergence.
Strategy convergence is where all businesses use the same strategies to run their businesses and get the same results. When other businesses try something different, get different results, (and often gain a competitive advantage), that is a blue ocean strategy. The name comes from the idea that most boats will stay close to shore, which involves less risk, but everyone is fighting for the same fish. With a blue ocean strategy, you take more risk, go out further from shore, and can catch many more fish because you have an enormous ocean in which to fish without any other boats nearby.
An example is the mortgage industry, where everyone wants to build relationships with home buyers during the sales process so that they get more business from the home buyers– repeat business from them and referral business from their friends and family. But after the sale, people remember their real estate agent and few other people involved in the purchase of their home. To overcome this problem, one mortgage company developed a package of information perceived as valuable to the home buyer, so that they would remember their mortgage company too. Then five years later when they were moving again, they would remember who helped them with their last mortgage, and how to contact them. Another mortgage company developed an innovative mail program for their customers to keep top of mind for their next move. It was unlike any other mortgage company’s mail program, and resonated with customers.
Years ago, two drug companies promoting the same product was unheard of, yet one company in the 1980’s hired another company to help them sell their big drug. As a result, Zantac became the biggest drug in the country and the company made lots of money. Today that is a strategy that is used at times by many drug companies, but back then it was a blue ocean strategy.
Working with people in various industries, we sometimes borrow something which is a standard marketing practice in one industry and use in another industry where it has not been used in the past. Sometimes, this turns into dramatic results.
We have also used strategies which had been successfully used in the past, and then stopped although no one could remember why. What is interesting is that their competitors did the same thing – successfully used the strategy, then stopped.
Look at your business and sales and marketing strategies utilized today, and think about what you could differently. Are you happy with the safety of being close to shore, or are you ready to try something different? What’s your blue ocean strategy?