What is a Blue Ocean Inbound Strategy? In the ideal marketing environment, there is no competition. With an inbound marketing strategy that is very specific to your company, it is possible to reduce competition and create an uncontested market space, known as the Blue Ocean. Unique marketing strategies stand out, so by representing your uniqueness as a company through your marketing, it’s possible to avoid the competitive and bloody Red Ocean. In the Red Ocean, competitors are tearing each other apart, while in the Blue Ocean, the waters are clear, business is good, and the marketing space belongs to you.
In order for your company to be successful online, your inbound strategy needs to be a Blue Ocean Strategy. This means that the content you are providing needs to be found nowhere else on the Internet. So for the most part that means that you need to be writing content that people find to be extremely valuable and extremely rare.
To develop the kind of quality content that the Blue Ocean calls for, you need to understand what your marketing discipline is. There are three key marketing disciplines:
- Service: Are you all about providing top-notch customer service and quality to people, through what you do for them?
- Technology: Are you a technology leader? Are you at the top of the performance bandwidth for your products and services?
- Operational: Can you maintain excellent pricing for your products because your operations are so smooth?
Your content needs to reflect your discipline. Operational companies might post content about the efficiency of their business, while service companies might post content about customer service techniques. Your Blue Ocean Inbound Strategy will be a direct reflection of the nature of your company.
Strategy Has to Come from the Top
If you are going to have a Blue Ocean Inbound Strategy, it has to come from the leadership in your company. The strategy has to be something that leadership drives throughout your organization. Without it, people are very quick to go to the Red Ocean and start competing with their content, so leadership is absolutely critical.
Meeting the Needs of Customers Where the Magic Happens
The people whom best understand the needs of their customers will be the first ones to find the Blue Ocean. The magic happens in the Blue Ocean when you are able to meet needs which customers did not know they had. For example, when Cirque de Soleil first came out, nobody was asking for it. Nobody was saying, “We want to see this kind of entertainment”. Yet when people saw it, they thought that it was much better than any show or circus that they had ever seen before. So Cirque de Soleil created a Blue Ocean Strategy, and they have benefitted greatly from it. Your content needs to match this approach by meeting needs which people did not even know they had.
Blue Ocean Strategy Action Items
To figure out what you can do in a Blue Ocean Inbound Strategy, here are your action items:
- Talk to your customers. You must understand your customer’s psychographic needs by answering the questions: “Why do people do business with this company? What are people getting from this company, and what are they looking to get in the future?”
- Start looking at your competitors, and ask the question: “What’s missing here?” Which customer needs are the competitors unaware of? Dealing with these needs will bring your company out of the competitive Red Ocean.
- Walk in the shoes of your customer. Try to figure out what it is like to live a day in their lives. Get out of your familiar working space, and get into the mind of people who need your company. Organize your customers into segments based upon their desires and how they spend their time. Utilize these segments to figure out how to design and implement a Blue Ocean Inbound Strategy.
With the implementation of these action items, marketing can take on a whole new dimension, and the competition can become irrelevant. This is the nature of the Blue Ocean.
Kim, W. Chan., and Mauborgne Renée. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. Harvard Bus Review Press, 2016.