Back to Blue Ocean

Authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne wrote the book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. 


Unlike a ‘red ocean strategy’ where competitors bludgeon each other in the waters of the marketplace to take business from each other, a blue ocean strategy looks for new (i.e., blue, open white spaces) waters to grow their business.




Using The Four Actions Framework (FAF) in order to craft a new set of value elements that will allow companies to differentiate themselves and pursue new markets.


  1. Which factors that the industry takes for granted should be eliminated?
  2. Which factors should be reduced well below the industry’s standard?
  3. Which factors should be raised well above the industry’s standards?
  4. Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?

Using the FAF, you’ll be able to create an actionable list of things your company needs to do to be able to find new opportunities to serve a new set of customers.



  • Sometimes eliminating marketing activities in a given market that hasn’t shown any promise will allow you to reallocate those funds to new markets or new product development.
  • Or, it may be better not to eliminate the marketing activities altogether but simply reduce the amount of money or effort.  
  • Or, In terms of a given product, maybe you could reduce the number of features the product has in order to serve a market that couldn’t afford the product.

It’s an exercise worth doing with your team on a quarterly basis as resources and budgets get tighter.

I use a similar model, but I’ve changed the words to make it easier to work with a group or a team.


  • What do we need to start doing?
  • What do we need to do more of?
  • What do we need to stop doing?
  • What do we need to do less of?


Step 1: Pick an issue (e.g., more lead gen)

Step 2: Ask yourself the 4 questions above and for each one, write 2-3 suggestions or actions.

Step 3: Once complete, prioritize the actions for each of the 4 questions.

Step 4: Choose one of the 4 questions and implement the action items in a given month if possible.

Step 5: Measure and move to the next question and priorities.

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