Blue Ocean Strategy | Articles


Nowadays in digital marketing we are used to advertise for an existing market. Our tactics are easier with all the features flourishing on the advertising platform.

But what about launching an advertising campaign about a product which is new and doesn't have a market yet ? For the ones that read the international bestseller “ Blue Ocean Strategy“ from Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, you understood I am referring to the “blue ocean”. They created the terms red and blue oceans to differentiate the market universe.

In this article, we will first summarise what’s the difference between red and blue oceans. Then, we will discover how we can advertise digitally for those non-existent markets. 

Red Ocean

Red Ocean represents the majority of advertisers currently who are competing in existing and known markets. There is a high competition and advertisers try to outperform their rivals to claim a bigger market share. Usually focussing on the same advantages and claiming to be better than the competition. This intense competition gave the bloody colour to this concept of red ocean.

Given this saturation, growing is a synonym of stealing market share from competitors. The profits are usually lower due to this tension.

Blue Ocean

Blue ocean is referring to the unknown & unexplored market space.

In this context, the competition is irrelevant because the market rules still need to be set.

This lets a huge playground in terms of potential for growth. Exactly like an ocean which is vast. Don’t fall directly into this desire to plunge into this untapped market: you need to be aware that demand fully needs to be created. There comes the real challenge to create innovative value.

An example is Apple who created their blue ocean with a high quality product clearly differentiated from competition. The desire was for the brand itself and not the product anymore: a need was created.

I believe now you wonder how to create innovative value and reach this blue ocean. We will unfortunately let you without an answer on this question. But we highly recommend you to consult the six paths framework created by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, authors of the bestselling 2005 book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant.

Now let’s rather focus on our real expertise …

What about digital advertising?

While for existing markets (red oceans) you have various advertising solutions totally mature like the in-market audience for instance. Here to advertise in a blue ocean, we are obliged to be inventive with our approach and tactics.

The first step is to get immersed in the product's understanding. The USP and needs it is replying to has to be crystal clear within the briefing.

Then you can move to the audience and more specifically on how you can reach it. While a socio demo audience approach is now more than easy, for the blue ocean you need to identify the mindset of the potential customer. But yes a mindset is way more subjective and not always tangible to reach digitally.

To implement this strategy, we advise to use a tactic that is luckily working in all mindsets identified. The tactic is pretty simple: determine apps or research that this mindset implies.

Let’s take an example to better understand. Our mindset is “flexibility, autonomy & young” (with “young” I am not referring to a demographic element but a mindset). Those characteristics are not that tangible to target online via an audience or specific inventory. But we could easily link to specific apps:

  • Flexibility: Frichti, Too Good To go, Gorillas, UberEats to order easily and fastly your meal at home
  • Autonomy: Tricount ( help you to split the shared spend among several people ); EasyPark
  • Young: Tinder, Yuka ( to be aware of real ingredients within your product), Netflix

So in this example you would be interested by the audience that are looking for those apps or searching for search terms similar to the needs resolved by these apps.

Once you identified the app & researches, we need to concretely target this audience.

We are continuing the example with Google ads where you can create a custom intent audience. This audience is based on keywords researched the last 7 days on Google. There is an equivalent to capture your research of Apps within Google Play. By creating this audience you succeed in reaching this mindset. This audience can be used in the full Google stack advertising so also into Google Display Network and YouTube for instance.

Yes you could have also bought a keyword such as “Netflix” within your Google ads account. But what’s the interest ? You would pay an extremely high CPC because your ads are not relevant for this research. Moreover you know that someone searching for “Netflix” is determined to go on Netflix at this instant. While with our solution you are capturing the mindset.
See below how this is concretely working:

As explained in the scheme,

  1. Customers make a research on Google ( google search or Google play) within this last 7 days
  2. You target this audience based on this mindset within YouTube. So you are not directly replying with ads into Google Play or Google search results. This makes this approach even stronger.
  3. Thanks to your YouTube presence, you are in line with your audience mindset and have a higher chance to spark the curiosity to visit your website.
  4. Once this potential audience is coming on your website, they can directly interact with your brand and are captured into your remarketing audience.


Our digital advertising possibilities are extremely mature. To target an unknown market you can easily tweak those initial options in an inventive way to reach the right audience.
In a nutshell; continue to use the current targeting options but adapt it to your real context.

Finally for a blue ocean strategy, focus rather on the mindset than our classical socio demo targeting.

publication author margaux marien
Margaux Marien

| LinkedinThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Get in touch

Semetis | Rue de l'Escaut 122, 1080 Brussels - Belgium

Connect with us

Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies that are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. By accepting this OR scrolling this page OR continuing to browse, you agree to our privacy policy.