Blue Ocean Strategy, With Andi Simon

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In our latest episode of Test. Learn. Grow., we sat down with Corporate Anthropologist and Founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), Dr. Andi Simons, as well as Level Agency’s Partner & Executive Vice President, Patrick Van Gorder, as they unpack the role marketing plays within a Blue Ocean strategy to help businesses expand into the vast (but powerful) unknown. 

Rather listen than read? In this podcast episode, Dr. Andi Simons, Corporate Anthropologist and Founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), and Patrick Van Gorder of Level Agency, discuss how Blue Ocean strategy and Level’s Test. Learn. Grow. marketing ethos can help you see things through a fresh lens and take your business to new heights. Listen now! 


The way forward is all around, if only you could see it… 

So, what is ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy? Blue Ocean strategy is the creation and pursuit of uncontested market space where it is needed – rather than trying to outperform rivals to capture a greater share of existing demand in an already crowded market.  

It is both a mindset and strategy that encourages business leaders to view their market ‘boundaries’ as changeable and vast. With a Blue Ocean strategy, businesses must look outside in, not inside out. Shifting conversations with clients from – “This is what we offer, take it or leave it” to “What do you need from us?” then tailoring what you do to meet those unmet client needs. In doing so, competition becomes less relevant as you break off from your competition and unlock significant profit growth potential through new demand.
Dr. Andi Simons notes that ‘the best way for change to occur, is to have a crisis or create one.’ While no one wanted or could have envisioned the pandemic happening, the catalytic shift that accelerated because of it has now given businesses a unique opportunity to capitalize on changes and unmet needs in their business model going forward.  

Challenges to be mindful of when venturing into Blue Ocean strategy 

Feel, see, and think in a new way by gathering real client feedback 

Humans tend to skew the truth, not always on purpose or to be deceitful, but simply because it is human nature to view things in a way that suits our own narrative, or that will please the person we are speaking to. It is important to gain real feedback by sitting with clients and observing how they use your product or service – this allows you to overcome your own bias and the chance a client is misrepresenting their needs. 

Blue Ocean strategy encourages a new way of feeling, seeing, and thinking, accelerating growth into new and relevant areas. This is a principle that is just as important for businesses at the entrepreneurial stage as those that are well-established – remember, no matter the market you play in, things are always changing.

Bring along your team (at all levels) to embrace change 

One person, one thought leader cannot drive the vision for change or innovation within an entire organization. It is imperative that everyone (from the bottom up) understands the vision and purpose, otherwise, it is easy to fall back into old habits. Trust your team to get involved in the discovery phase and become advocates for change, otherwise, the transformation will not work. 

How does Blue Ocean strategy connect with Level’s Test. Learn. Grow.? 

  1. The potential of marketing is not simply to be a sales generator 

Businesses need to think about their marketing function as more than just an immediate ROI driver, but also as a driver of critical insights within fast-changing ecosystems. 

In tandem with Blue Ocean strategy to pursue and create new opportunities, Level’s Test. Learn. Grow. culture encourages the use of data-driven frameworks to methodically test hypotheses, and measure success in a controlled way and over a certain amount of time, in order to generate insightful data that feeds back into the change funnel.  

  1. Cultivate a culture that gives people a safe space to fail 

Both Blue Ocean strategy and Level’s Test. Learn. Grow. culture relies on an environment that celebrates constructive failure. Both strategic frameworks enunciate the twin objectives of exploitation (when something works optimize it and exploit it, to get the most out of it for clients) as well as exploration (testing and learning with and for our clients in order to find blue oceans).  

Curious about how to integrate Blue Ocean strategy into your business? Check out Andi’s book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights 

Interested in working with Level Agency? Book a consultation today.  

Did we miss something? Feel free to share the successes of your organization’s culture or other thoughts on the topic!  

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