How to Target the “Blue Ocean” to Succeed with Your Business
Written By: Dan Steininger, President and Co-Founder of BizStarts
As seen on the March 15, 2016 post in Milwaukee Business Journal OnRamp Blog.
Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their book the Blue Ocean Strategy upended the traditional thinking about strategy. It aims not to out-perform competitors, but to make the competition irrelevant by breaking away and create creating uncontested market space. The called this space the blue ocean.
In marketing the notion of targeting a blue ocean has become the gold standard to companies wanting to grow their business in market segments that have been ignored by the competition.
Casella Wines did this when they launched Yellow Tail wine by targeting beer and mixed drinks consumers who were turned off by the taste of wine and all the fancy names. Yellow Tale wine became the fastest growing wine brand in the history of the wine industry.
Josh Silldorff found a blue ocean in the senior care market with senior citizens wanting to communicate with their loved ones.
Silldorff personally experienced the frustrations of not being able to visit with a loved one in a senior living community. He couldn’t stop thinking about all of the families that were facing this same problem, so he set out on a mission to solve it.
That’s why in 2012, Josh started BrightLife Innovations and created EasyConnect HD, the first and only video conferencing solution for senior living communities. The initial focus was to connect senior residents face-to-face with their families, allowing them to be together even when they can’t be. He was able to successfully sell the solution to numerous senior communities of all types, from independent living retirement communities, to assisted living and nursing home facilities.
Looking at the bigger picture, senior living communities must effectively communicate with many different groups of people outside of their community walls, and face-to-face communication is often times impossible. Video conferencing technology has the power to overcome the obstacles and connect people face-to-face, but the available options are not designed to meet the unique needs of senior communities. Video chat programs like Skype and FaceTime do not meet their needs of technological simplicity, security, and support and is exactly why communities are not utilizing these programs today.
In 2013, Mark Thompson came onboard the company to assist Josh with some strategic growth initiatives. They worked closely with their customers to discover additional problems in senior communities which video conferencing could address and. By doing so, they discovered a new market for their product and entered a blue ocean where they dominate the market space.
The new and improved solution combines an easy-to-use touchscreen, HIPAA compliant infrastructure, and live support. It’s a turnkey offering provided to customers as a subscription model, and includes telehealth capabilities to capitalize on the increasing demand for connected health across the care continuum. Wasting no time, they secured paying pilot opportunities at customer communities and are in talks with some of the largest organizations in senior living for larger deployments. BrightLife Innovations has the right solution, at the right time. Their next step is seeking a seed round of funding to support their aggressive growth plan and become the industry platform for face-to-face connections.
About the Author
Dan Steininger is the president and co-founder of BizStarts. BizStarts facilitates the creation of new companies in southeast Wisconsin. He currently teaches courses on innovation for the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education for business leaders. Contact BizStarts >>
OnRamp offers conversation and connections among the entrepreneurs who are shaping Wisconsin’s economy, and brings corporations and start-ups together at statewide events. View other OnRamp blog posts >>