Updated: Nov 30, 2020
In their popular Business Book of 2009, called “The Blue Ocean Strategy”, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne suggested a theory to small business owners about marketing their business. The authors claimed that small and mid-sized companies do most of their marketing where there is lots of competition. In the book, they called these markets “Red Ocean”-like, because of the bloody nature of brutal competition.
Instead of blindly looking to jump in highly competitive markets, they suggested that companies look to move into markets where there was demand for their product, but also where there was little or no competition. The authors called these markets, “Blue Ocean”-like. This is/was a great strategy, in theory. The strategy assumes that a company’s research department consistently does the legwork to determine where the new markets might be. However, most small businesses don’t have a research department. And for a business to purchase or pay for that kind of research only to experiment with an idea, would not be the best use of extra capital. However, there is an alternative to getting good research on potential new markets for companies that embrace internet marketing.
When a small business, or business of any size, makes an effort to make its business ‘findable’ in one of the major search engines; that process is called optimizing. You may have heard of formal term: Search Engine Optimization. Marketing industry professionals use the acronym, SEO.
SEO for small business is the process that professionals use in structuring website content (articles, podcast, videos, social media) to give those who use the major search engines, a path to find your website.
When the site visitors of Google, Yahoo or Bing, arrive at their chosen search engine, they type the words in to describe the kind of website or information they are looking for. Marketers call them, key-words (keywords), as they tell the search engine computer program what kind of website or results to show the searcher.
Companies can increase their sales and their profits by being one of those websites to be displayed when a searcher types in relevant keywords. For instance, a searcher may type “plumber” into the search box; and those plumbers whose websites are displayed, are likely to see more visits and phone calls than if they are were not displayed.
But a competent internet marketer can also use this same process to explore new markets or “Blue Oceans”. By making sure that the websites that they are working with are the ones that show for keywords searched; that marketer can test the responses. Based on the reactions of the visitors once they get to the site being tested, they can determine whether the people doing the searches form a new market for the company’s products and services.
Then based on the amount of competition there is, a marketer can work with the business owner to determine whether or not they are truly looking at a “Blue Ocean”. The marketer can repeat this process many times, without spending a considerable amount of capital on additional research expense.
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