Independent Meeting Planners: Are You Swimming in a Blue Ocean of Opportunity?

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 15 years, you should have heard about the books from Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne “The Blue Ocean Strategy” and “Blue Ocean Shift.”

What is it and how can you use it as an Independent Meeting Planner?

In the Blue Ocean Strategy, there are two oceans: red and blue. Which ocean do you think you would like to swim in?

RED: the red ocean is filled with other business owners in your industry. Everyone in this ocean is competing on price and is offering the same type of service as everyone else. It’s very crowded in the red ocean. You have a high risk of being commoditized due to the competition!

BLUE: the blue ocean does not have much competition, or maybe you are even swimming alone. It is an “uncontested marketplace where competition is irrelevant.” It is not very crowded in the blue ocean, and the likelihood of being commoditized is a lot less.

Let me share with you a simple story from the book

Imagine decades ago, if you went to a circus owner or manager and said, “I have this great idea, I want to create a circus without animals!” – They would have most likely replied, “Seriously?” or “What, no animals? A circus needs to have animals!”

Well, this example is known today as Cirque du Soleil! Sound familiar?

It is a perfect example from the book, of why swimming in a Blue Ocean is always best!

In their book, the authors share, “How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.”

When you make your competition irrelevant, your value increases dramatically!

But how do you do this in the Meeting and Events Industry working as an independent planner?

The Blue Ocean Strategy has a tool that you can start using today to grow your business and use with your clients to help plan their face-to-face meeting.

As an event business owner, applying the Blue Ocean Strategy 4-question matrix can set you apart from your competition.

Here’s how the 4-question matrix applies to your client and your business:

  • What is your industry taking for granted that you are going to stop entirely?
  • What is the feature in your product or service that you are going to increase?
  • What is the feature in your product or service that you are going to decrease?
  • What is the new element or innovation that you are going to bring that is totally different and will set you apart from your competition?

Let me give you an example of how you can apply these four questions to your clients in your independent planning business:

Before your meeting with your client, map out all the touchpoints that the attendees are going to have in this particular face-to-face event.

Next, ask this question to your client: “Imagine if we do not do XYZ or ABC at these touchpoints?”

  • When they receive the invite
  • When they register for the event
  • When they arrive and check-in
  • When they come into the building
  • When they receive their badge

At every stage, ask, “What if we would not do…?”

Asking these questions at every touchpoint will create triggers for new ideas, innovative solutions and experiences for the attendee and set you apart from your event planning competitors!

As an event business owner, I have used the Blue Ocean Strategy’s 4-question matrix numerous times. I always had excellent results when I utilized this tool. I would highly recommend purchasing this book for your event business library (I am not an affiliate, just a fan)!

Do it now, don’t wait until you are commoditized – then it’s too late!

If you have already applied the Blue Ocean Strategies 4-question matrix in your event planning business, do you have any other real-life examples to share?

Let me know in the comments below…

Eric Rozenberg