The Pioneer-Migrator-Settler Map: Visualizing the potential of each product in the future growth of the company

Often in the corporate world, we get so buried in numbers and words that it is difficult to see the big picture. One of the key principles of Blue Ocean Strategy is to focus on the big picture, not the numbers. How much easier it is to understand a position or concept when you can see a picture of it.

The Pioneer-Migrator-Settler (PMS) Map is a diagnostic tool that allows you to see just how your revenue generating products and services fare in their contribution to the future growth of the company. It helps you determine if you are fighting for your life in the Bloody Red Ocean of competition or enjoying the beautiful deep Blue Ocean with no competition in sight. Key products are organized into three categories and then displayed by size.

The Pioneers are products that offer unprecedented value and high profit growth potential. They are not at all like the competition, actually have no real competition and enjoy a market all to themselves. Examples of Pioneers include Cirque du Soleil, Nintendo’s Wii, and Casella [yellowtail] wine.

The Migrators are products and services that have value but are not innovative. These products sit on the border between Red and Blue Oceans and may have profit growth potential if some changes are made.

The Settlers are products and services that follow the industry norms. They are not innovative, do not diverge from the competition, generally have little or no profit growth potential, and face a shrinking pool of customers. This is the Red Ocean. Most products on the market today fall in this category. Examples of Settlers are cars, trucks, appliances, services. The chart above is typical of most companies today.

We like to think we have a really unique product or service. The reality is that to the customer, you look like everyone else. It is critical for CEOs and boards of directors to look realistically at their products and services to determine, first where they fall, really, on the P-M-S map, and then, what are they going to do about it.

The companies that are serious about the truth will take this question to the market and get their answer there. We are all too close to our products and services to be objective.

So, if you want to create your own P-M-S Map, email me with your name, company and address and I will be happy to send you the instructions.

Dr. Sarah Layton, CMC, CEO and Managing Partner of Corporate Strategy Institute, is a certified management consultant and motivational speaker. Blue Ocean Strategy, outlines the processes of removing the fight for competitive advantage and the battle for differentiation typical of many corporate strategies.

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Posted by Dr. Sarah Layton in Blue Ocean Strategy, Growth on April 29, 2009.

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