I just finished reading a great book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Cahn Kim and Renee Mauborgne. I highly recommend this book for marketing professionals.
The major premise of the book is how to avoid the red ocean of highly competitive companies struggling to survive and move into the blue ocean of unlimited market space and business success. The book outlines how some have done it and the steps to make it happen. Examples of red ocean companies would be Ford and GM or United and American airlines. Red ocean companies are fighting for market share and offer very little unique benefit for customers. Examples of blue ocean strategies include Apple’s iPod or Cirque du Soleil. Blue ocean companies have very little competition and dominate their market spaces with unique offerings.
The Internet has tremendous blue ocean potential–most Websites swim around in a red ocean competing against each other in the wrong areas! Here are a few examples of red ocean versus blue ocean strategies on the Web:
Red Ocean – Competing on who has the best graphic design.
Blue Ocean – Making it simple for users with clean, professional and basic designs.
Red Ocean – Using marketing speak and sales content in an attempt to impress visitors.
Blue Ocean – Communicating directly, with bullet points and avoiding marketing-speak.
Red Ocean – Adding bells and whistles to the Website for flash and sizzle.
Blue Ocean – Understanding user needs and giving them what they want.
Red Ocean – Using photos as design elements, branding and placeholders.
Blue Ocean– Using meaningful photos with captions that tell a story and benefit visitors.
The list can go on and on.
The good news is that your Website can easily move into a blue ocean by meeting the needs of users, keeping it simple and communicating directly. This is such a powerful step it can provide a competitive advantage for your business and get you one step closer to a blue ocean strategy.