Understanding non-customers

I’ve spoken about Blue Ocean markets before, but for the uninitiated, the term comes from the book Blue Ocean Strategy. The core story of the book is that businesses spend a great deal of time competing over the same market share. Over time, this drives prices down, and makes competing harder and harder. Instead, organisations should seek blue oceans, markets void of competition, as a way to grow, innovate, and help as many customers as possible.

Take Aways
- What are the 3 Tiers of non-customers
- Why they matter
- How to identify a blue ocean market for your business


The first tier of non-customers is the closest of the bunch. They sit just on the periphery. They might purchase the service, but are outside of the market for most of the time. They don’t really spend a great deal of time talking about the product, or even needing it, but once in a blue moon they may come across a need and purchase something.


The second tier is customers who straight up refuse to use an industry offering. They’ve seen the product, they know what it is, but they refuse all the same. If I think about myself here I know there are lots of great cars on the market today, but I refuse to buy one. I simply don’t use a car enough, and when I do, I’ll usually take a car rental, a GoGet, or just use an Uber. For me, they just offer more of what i’m looking for, access over ownership.


The third and final, far away tier is those who have unexplored the market. This group is full of users who have simply never considered the market’s offering as an option. One area I see this a bit is with on-demand car ownership services like GoGet. The service is great. It costs nothing to be a member. The cars are on the street, and if you want to take one, you simply log onto the website, book it for how long you want it, and thats it. You walk over, swipe your card on the dashboard of the car, and drive it away.

Capturing the blue ocean

By finding what is common across all three tiers, businesses can identify ways of bringing those users into your product or service. You might invent a single product or service for each group, or a single idea that all three might find appealing.

Product Management Executive 🖥 Writer 📚 Tea nerd 🍵 Machine Learning Enthusiast 🤖