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Blue Ocean – What makes you unique?

Everyone is unique. Our DNA, upbringing and environment in which we find ourselves makes us unique. And when a group of people unite to one goal, then unique companies are created. Companies of which only one exists in the entire world.

For its importance, you also have to look at the wonderful set of brains people have. Brain that must make the “right” decision in a split second to survive. (also read the white paper ‘The unconscious influence in marketing & sales‘) Not only in making a good decision, but also in doing so energy efficiently. Therefore, the brain is constantly looking for patterns. So our brain is super good at pigeonholing. Our brain by now instinctively knows that you can buy bread at the bakery.

And everyone loves bread, and so thousands of bakeries have sprung up in the Netherlands. More every year. Bakers all alike. After all, they all make bread. But also all are unique in their own unique way. But then what makes them unique? With bakers, of course, you can think about assortment, location, preparation methods, the baker himself, that nice saleswoman and so on. Fairly tangible unique properties.

Development of number of hot and cold bakery establishments, 2011-2021

Development of number of hot and cold bakery establishments, 2011-2021

As with bakers, the same is true with Managed Service Providers or other IT vendors. But how do you make sure you are particularly found as an MSP? What makes you different from others? As with the bakers, what makes you unique?

Blue & Red Ocean

That’s where The Blue Ocean Strategy can help. This strategy described by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne can answer that. The strategy indicates that putting yourself in the same box as your competitors is ineffective. In fact, you will then enter what is known as a Red Ocean. An “ocean” characterized by a lot of competition. Competition to be defeated, with price and product differentiation. This results in a battle in which much blood flows and the ocean changes from blue to deep red. We see IT companies mainly acting in accordance with the Red Ocean strategy.

To break through this, you will have to re-create your added value (Value Innovation). Within this value renewal, you will need to take two important steps, namely:

  1. Renewal of the service or product
  2. Cost Reduction

Implementing this innovation and cost reduction will create a Blue Ocean. An ocean without competition. I’ll give you two examples that are often used:

  1. Cirque du Soleil – Combining circus, dance and ballet, Canada’s Cirque du Soleil managed to create a new kind of performance. In addition, many fixed costs such as circus animals and expensive star performers were removed from the program. This allowed Cirque du Soleil to establish a new kind of “circus” with higher revenues. This created a very profitable “circus” concept.
  2. Nintendo Switch – An innovation in controlling the game console and not betting on an increasingly powerful game console with expensive components opened up a new market. A game console that was unique because of its controls and could be put away at a good price without the expensive components.

How’s that for IT?

Looking closer to home, you can also think of Office365 as a Blue Ocean. By looking differently at the traditional way software was sold as a product with a box and a distribution model, Microsoft has reinvented its application suite, and molded it into a service. Companies pay only for use of the suite. In addition, by cutting out production and distribution, she has been able to cut out a large portion of traditional costs.

For IT vendors and MSPs, you will also need to look closely at your own products and services. What are things you can combine or add to your services that make your solution unique? What helps here is to offer your service for a specific target group.

What (new) target audience can you appeal to with this? Where are the opportunities in that target market? What additions to your portfolio, make your solution even better suited to that target audience? In analogy to Nintendo, as an IAAS provider, are you going to offer more capacity and computing power, or are you going to enable smarter controls and applications?

Would you also like to swim in a Blue Ocean? But don’t know where to start? Contact us to work with us to uncover your own unique characteristics.


Do you want to know more or have a talk? Plan a call with Thijs van Hofwegen, the founder of Force21.

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