Look Across Buyer Groups to Grow Sales with Blue Ocean Strategy.

When companies desire growth, they all too often assume the growth has to come from within their own customer base. While taking care of customers is certainly important, it is not where significant innovation, growth, and profit from uncontested markets come from. 

We have been discussing Blue Ocean Strategy’s Six-Paths Framework. Thus far, we’ve dealt with Path One and Path Two. This post addresses another very important tool in the Six-Path’s Framework and in Blue Ocean Shift all together. Companies spend years and millions in developing the primary buyer persona and the primary user persona of their product or service. They sometimes know their primary focus group and primary buyer persona and it’s worked for them up to a point. However, the only thing certain in business and the world is change. Change happens. Industries mature. Products and services get commoditized. Disruption happens. Sometimes it’s a disruptive death of an industry, i.e. the textile industry in the US. Sometimes it is nondisruptive. New markets are created where none previously existed. Take the IoT market where household appliances are becoming connected to the web. Manufacturers did not lose their entire industries with this innovation. They are retrofitting current technologies to prove adaptable to the IoT infrastructure. I think you get the point. Change will happen. 

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This particular six-path method will prompt you to ask important questions related to three buyers.

In Path Three, you are prompted to ask who your current user is, who the purchaser is, and who the influencer is when it comes to buying your product or service.

Again, we’re sticking with the Shared Spirits Blue Ocean Innovation taking place in Nashville, TN. Shared Spirits delivers a new way for spirits, wine, and beer brands to manage samplings, tastings, and activations. Samplings, tastings, and activations are the core activities brands use to grow in the liquor industry. 

In the chart below, we’re sharing the visual layout of Path Three of the Six-Paths Framework. 

Path Three of the Six Paths Framework

In the graphic above you can see how one might lay out the distinction between users, purchasers, and influencers.

When going through the Path Three exercise, ask yourself this question first.

What is the primary buyer group focused on in my industry? What is the primary buyer group focused on with my offering? When you’ve answered that question, ask yourself this question.

If you focus on the user as your primary buyer group, how might you shift focus to the purchaser/influencer and add value to those groups?

Question three. If you focus on the purchaser as your primary buyer group, how might you focus on the user/influencer and add value to those groups?

You see in this exercise, you’re likely to add value to an additional buyer group if you simply pause long enough to ask yourself how you would do so if you had a plan in place.

Through a facilitated thoughtful process, you will find that asking questions around how to serve alternative buyer groups will free your mind to explore profitable and innovative solutions.

Blue Ocean Shift is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Uncontested market space is generally not a simple matter. There is however a course to follow.

I invite you to visit ShermanMohr.com and get a complimentary Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas for your business. This free tool is my way of thanking you for reading.

Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist. He is also CEO of Shared Spirits, and an entrepreneur in the marketing technology space.