Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Business networking in a time of blue ocean marketplace opportunity

Posted in social networking and business, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on August 27, 2010

The economy and marketplaces that drive it are in a state of flux and uncertainty right now and the one outcome from this that we can be certain of is that they will change and in new directions as they stabilize and move into growth again. This is a time when businesses need to be careful in what they do and in how they do it. But at the same time and consistent with that due diligence and care of execution, this is a time of tremendous opportunity. It is a time when businesses can identify and create new blue ocean opportunities and market spaces that will collectively drive new economic growth and expansion.

I recently posted a note, Business Networking in a Time of Business Challenge, that touched on the role of effective business networking in this, and the importance of more actively reaching out as a key part of due diligence and careful execution. At the end of that posting I said that I would “follow up on this with a second connected posting on networking and crowd sourcing, and developing new business and marketplace opportunity.” If this earlier posting was about building from a sounder foundation for moving forward and about that foundation itself, this posting moves on to discuss some of the issues involved in actually moving forward into sustainable growth.

First, I want to point out two of the defining qualities of crowd sourcing:

• It is all about tapping into the marketplace and potential marketplaces to identify and focus in on unmet needs that can practically and cost-effectively be met.
• In this it is all about effective networking as identification and sharing of mutual value, and in that I cite my laws and principles of good networking as listed at the top of Social Networking and Business.

I wrote in Business Networking in a Time of Business Challenge about more proactively reaching out to network and of throwing a wider net and that is important. But at the same time you want to increase the range of your visibility to include demographics that you may not have been targeting with your marketing and your business, but that you need to now – if you are to identify and develop that blue ocean opportunity.

• Break-through growth and development always means breaking out of the constraints of what you have been doing and who you have been doing that for.
• Networking and communicating are the keys to making that possible, and first you have to network to make that communications dialog possible. In this, networking and interactive Web 2.0 are how you can move beyond marketing to a passively receptive audience to sharing your message while hearing theirs.

In the abstract at least this sounds fairly trite insofar as it is the type of buzz that any Web 2.0 oriented market firm would use. The trick is in internalizing this into actual practice that supports your business and that can also serve to support the communities that your marketplace develops from.

• Look for unmet needs that connect to your core strengths as a business, and reach out from there, connecting to members of those demographics, gathering feedback and input and insight and ideas.
• Use this to fine tune and expand the demographics you are reaching out to connect with.
• Use the feedback and creativity shared from this to further develop your product and service concepts and develop and provide so as to meet the priorities that your newly enlarging marketplaces show to be their priorities.

This can only work as an active, ongoing hands-on exercise, taken out of the abstract and into day to day operational practice.

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