“Competing head-on results in nothing but a bloody ‘red ocean’ of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” Yikes! That passage from the book jacket of Blue Ocean Strategy had its intended effect. With visions of Jaws swimming in our heads, we quickly bought the book to find out how we could create “blue oceans of uncontested market space” without business competitors.

business competitors can be just as bloodthirsty as this great white shark.

It’s easy to spot your bloodthirsty rivals, but unseen competitors lurk below the surface.

Then reality sank in. As we always tell prospects who claim they “have no competition,” no business — no matter how brilliantly conceived or strategically differentiated — is without competition. You may in fact be the next Steve Jobs and come up with something millions of people don’t yet know they want. But even Apple has rivals and the company spends gazillions of dollars on marketing to make sure all sentient beings with ears have heard about their products, understand their value and feel they must have them right now.

Just for fun, let’s pretend your company or nonprofit has managed to create a true blue ocean, free of business competitors. Do you still need a competitive marketing strategy? Yes, and here’s why:

  • Never heard of you is a competitor. Your prospects can’t buy from you or give to you if they don’t know you exist.
  • Don’t understand your value is a competitor. Your prospects may choose to buy from or give to a competitor if they don’t get why you’re a better choice.
  • Don’t really need it right now is a competitor. Your prospects may not buy or give at all if they don’t feel an urgent need or want for the thing you offer.

As Steve Jobs surely knew, any prospect who is not spending his or her precious dollars on you is either holding onto those dollars or spending them on business competitors.

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

 

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