Usually marketers look at competitors to see what they are doing. They use their direct competitors for this but ideally they want to have no competitors so they are the first to come up with a new concept. After that, it’s important to know where their target market is and where the users are who are not yet aware of the concept or product.

Be one step ahead of the not-yet-existing competitors

What often happens is that marketers look at their direct competitors. This allows us to figure how they operate and what the company can capitalize on as well. They have to be very distinctive within the competition to stand out and it is a difficult market to enter within an existing market. Therefore, they would prefer to have no competitors. They enter a new market and are the first with the concept and therefore have no immediate or direct competition.

It is important to start with discovering the market. This involves 3 characteristics:

  • Existing demand
  • Similar products
  • Price sensitivity

To win in a competitive market means to be the best. Everyone wants to be the best. Being the best means offering the best quality, the best value, enough availability and enough choice. This is already difficult enough and on top of that there are matters like the ongoing development of faster delivery. It is very difficult to always take this into account and always be the best.

Therefore, there are 2 oceans in which they can find the red ocean and the blue ocean. The red ocean is where they are up against the competitors and where the market is saturated and very competitive. The blue ocean is a new ocean with no competitors because they are the first one. In the blue ocean, they can build their own “not yet known market” and make their current competition irrelevant. Of course, there is a risk involved and that is an investment, and if it does not work then it is very unfortunate that it does not turn out as expected. However the reward is greater and that makes sense because if it had been easy then everyone would be doing it. 

 

There are several parties that have done this, for instance entering a new concept, take Uber. Uber came up with a concept that no one else had done yet. It has similar points to other competitors but they have a slightly different concept. Netflix is another great instance of this. Netflix was the first online streaming provider to enter the market. After that, they had several competitors that took over their concept. Yet each time Netflix just managed to differentiate themselves so they don’t always have a direct competitor. They introduced “Netflix original”, a proprietary series and movies line of Netflix itself that has no other competitor. They differentiate themselves from the competitors because of this. But how do they build on this and how are they going to make sure that the new concept brings the right users to the website? 

Find their niche / non-customers

It’s important to know where their target market is and where the users are who don’t yet have awareness with the product. So they need to look for the non-customers but, where are they? What are they doing? And what are they looking for? They have to find where the users are who are asking questions about the product, so they are going to focus on the questions of the user who could possibly be their new users. They need to look for the biggest questions and capitalize on this in their own concept. A tool for this is, for instance, a forum where they can look at a pattern of concerns. They can use this to first answer the questions of the non-customers on the website. Make sure that the demand of the topic corresponds to the new concept. 

Unexplored

Make sure to really focus on the question and not on pushing the product, because the brand is entering an unexplored market that does not know the brand yet and first needs to build a feeling with the concept. Here, then, it is mainly about product expansion and brand establishment.

Refusing

Here there has already been a contact and it is important that the messages become much more specific. So the company could anticipate that the concept is an alternative to another service with an established demand. So here it is mainly about trust signals, address concerns and brand. The company is mainly concerned with brand and product marketing.

Soon to be

This is where they mainly come out about how they can help, what they have to offer and why they should go try this. Here is the brand mainly doing product-focused marketing. For example, the company could make a video with a step-by-step explanation in it of how to use this.

Current market

Here it is mainly about the customers of the industry and the company can use the normal marketing funnel. Here they are mainly concerned with brand awareness and brand marketing. Maintaining the current market.

They must Amplify it

The hard part of the blue ocean is that people aren’t actively searching. In fact, they are making their own demands. The company could put the generated demand for the product, out with a TV commercial or put it on a big billboard. But they have to think smarter about how they are going to get the attention. They can start pushing the articles outwards through PR. Make sure that it is not about receiving a backlink, the main focus is building demand. Create a good story where human interest is the top priority in the article. In doing so, they can make a sidebar as long as people find it a really interesting article. This is how to bring all the elements together: Find the niche. Build content. Amplify it. Whether that’s internal or external, it’s about creating the illusion of a new market.

 

Because the brand is the first with the concept they are always ahead of the (not yet existing) competitors. Go looking for the demand of their non-customers. Find out what they are looking for and respond accordingly. See which part applies to them and make sure they start pushing this naturally. In this way they ensure that they get awareness with the users who come to the website and they always stay ahead of the possible up-and-coming competitors. So will they stay in the red ocean or will they make the step to the blue ocean? 

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