Lateral Marketing, a related concept found in the marketing literature, can also be used to assist in identifying Blue Ocean markets. The goal of lateral marketing 1 is to help create new markets by:
- trying to reach a new set of customers by radically changing the product features either by adding or subtracting features;
- trying to identify substitute products or services that can compete with an existing product or service;
- trying to identify complementary products and services for existing lines;
- trying to reposition a product by having it satisfy different needs for different market segments.
The lateral marketing approach along with the other ideas presented in this chapter complements the Blue Ocean approach as a mechanism for identifying how product features can be added, subtracted, and adapted to create innovative products and services. Not all products and services introduced will be Blue Oceans; nevertheless, the approach using the FAD template and the Strategy Canvas will certainly provide a useful tool for understanding the positioning of your products and your competitors.
Marketing research is a complementary and systematic avenue for identifying key attributes and marketing opportunities for products and services. The literature describes a number of approaches for identifying what features are relevant to consumers:
- Brainstorm to identify a superset of existing and future product and service features
- Use auctions to identify what products and features are relevant to consumers
- Develop consumer surveys and sampling approaches
- Ask consumers what features they think are important
- Ask consumers to evaluate, compare, and rank the features they deem important in a product and service
- Use statistical analysis to disentangle and understand the relationships between customer wants and product features
- Look at consumer and editorial reviews and try to understand what features of a product or service appear to be attracting people.
For additional and more detailed insight into the concepts and approaches for conducting market research, you are encouraged to read Naresh K. Malhotra and David F. Birk’s very thorough book on the topic 2 and the Cavusgil, Knight, Riesenberger, and Yaprak 3 book on conducting international marketing research.