vSente is a marketing consultancy. We help challenger enterprises wage and win battles for market shares.

Disciplines - Advertising | Marketing | Sales
Competency - Challenge | Defend
Deliverable - Profitable Market Share
Audience - CEO's | Marketing | Sales
Scale - Small | Medium-sized Enterprise
Services - Campaigns | Workshops
Location - San Francisco | London


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Weekly we send via plain text email a short description of a competitive marketing tool or technique along with a link to a resource you can download and use. These resources come from vSente's Armory and consist of wizards, manuals, white papers, planners all focused on helping marketing managers battle larger competitors.

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How To Create Uncontested Market Space and Make The Competition Irrelevent

Late last fall I received an e-mail from Harvard Business School Publishing announcing a new book. The title of the book was so compelling I immediately paid $6.00 to download an excerpt and read more. What compelled me were the breathtaking assertions in the title that you can create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. The folks at HBSP tend to be a reserved lot so I figured there must be fire under this smoke. This is how they described the book:

Since the dawn of the industrial age, companies have engaged in head-to-head competition in search of sustained, profitable growth. They have fought for competitive advantage, battled over market share, and struggled for differentiation. Yet, these hallmarks of competitive strategy are not the way to create profitable growth in the future. In a book that challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success, W. Chan Kim and Renee Aubergine argue that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and 30 industries, the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating "blue oceans"--untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. Such strategic moves--which the authors call "value innovation"--create powerful leaps in value that often render rivals obsolete for more than a decade. Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any company can use to create and capture blue oceans. A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this book charts a bold new path to winning the future. W. Chan Kim is the Boston Consulting Group Bruce D. Henderson Chair Professor of Strategy and International Management at INSEAD. Renee Mauborgne is the INSEAD Distinguished Fellow and Professor of Strategy and Management.

The excerpt provided more detail on both the problem and approach - but nothing I could characterize as new or breakthrough to support a claim of creating uncontested market space. In fact it seemed as if the authors were simply repackaging long held notions about market niches. Which led me to establish contact with the authors via the following e-mail:

Renee, Chan,

Mike Smock here.

I1m the managing director of vSente the San Francisco based marketing consultancy.

We have developed and practice a form of marketing campaigning designed to attack and dislodge the larger competitor.

So you can probably guess that your Blue Ocean piece caught my attention.

Especially since we draw on many military theories for our practice and consider Porter¹s Competitive Advantage and Competitive Strategy as foundations for successful marketing strategy.

Competitive cycles today have been compressed to days and hours. All of the cases you cited were created back when competitive cycles were months and years. A blue ocean strategy could be executed with a reasonable expectation that your competition would take years to respond to you.

Today, the internet, Fedex, Blogs, etc., has reduced the vast blue ocean that once existed to a pond. There isn¹t a place you can hide or operate today without attracting the attention of other competitors. The blue ocean is actually a small pond and it is full of blood-thirsty sharks.

I would like to propose a challenge for your consideration. Have you ever done any war-gaming or strategy simulations? What I'm proposing for your consideration is a game situation that involves your group developing a Blue Ocean strategy case. My group will then develop an Attack case to see if we can dislodge you.

We have a relationship with The Alidade Group who stages war games and simulations for both business and the defense sector. This is their web

site: I think Alidade would find this to be a compelling proposition. They could stage this as a full-on game with participants and observers or we could host the game via the Internet.

Any interest?

I've had a couple of interesting e-mail exchanges with Chan and will continue to pursue the notion of a challenge. Interestingly enough, Chan is also the Boston Consulting Group Bruce D. Henderson Chair Professor of Strategy and International Management at INSEAD.

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