A Blue Ocean Strategy for Membership Marketing

Stepping back and looking at the big picture is what three day weekends help us to do. So I wanted to share a couple of concepts that I came across today in re-reading the book, Blue Ocean Strategy.

As marketers, we tend to continually refine and focus our segmentation. But what if we took the opposite approach and looked for larger commonalities in the marketplace?

That’s what Kim and Mauborgne recommend in their book. The authors write:

“Typically to grow their share of market, companies strive to retain and expand existing customers. This often leads to finer segmentation and greater tailoring of offerings to better meet customer preferences. . . As companies compete to embrace customer preferences through finer segmentation, they often risk creating too-small target markets. To maximize the size of their blue oceans, companies need to take a reverse course. Instead of concentrating on customers, they need to look to noncustomers. And instead of focusing on customer differences, they need to build on powerful commonalities in what buyers value. That allows companies to reach beyond existing demand to unlock new mass customers that did not exist before.”[1]

Here are a couple of other unconventional solutions from Blue Ocean Strategy.

The authors claim that extensive customer research may not be the best method of opening up new strategies and markets.

“Our research found that customers can scarcely imagine how to create uncontested market space. Their insight also tends toward the familiar ‘offer me more for less’. And what customers typically want ‘more’ of are those product and service features that the industry currently offers.”[2]

So what is one way a company can evaluate a new strategy? They recommend, “A good way to test the effectiveness and strength of a strategy is to look at whether it contains a strong and authentic tagline.”[3]

If you cannot put your promise into a clear and concise tagline then you should question whether or not it is a viable offering.

[1] W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, Harvard Business School Press, 2005, page 101 and 102.
[2] Ibid. page 27.
[3] Ibid. page 40.

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