Saturday, November 11, 2006

Market Segment Targeting

Entrepreneurs (including myself) often suffer from a lack of focus. By nature we tend to be crafting new ideas constantly. Although this is good for keeping your business idea on the cutting edge, it can be detrimental to trying to get something to the right market, and just getting to market at all. With limited time and resources, focus can help. Yesterday I had coffee with one of the judges from the recent start-up speed dating event I participated in, and we walked through a model to help clarify a companies focus and sweet spot. (Thanks to Dave Hallmen for the insightful discussion)

  • Technology(horizontal): This is the value proposition that you are offering. Different customers may more or less need for parts of your value prop, but this is not typically market dependant. If have a focus here, there is typically some underlying IP you are working on, and you should be spending a large portion of your efforts on R&D, since your goal is likely to sell the technology to someone else who will take it to market.
  • Market Segment(vertical): If part of what you are offering, has unique applicability to certain market segments, or you feel that for example your offering has better applicability in certain areas, make a conscious decision to focus your efforts on these areas. Become an expert in those areas of focus, and understanding how to market to these segements is important.
  • Functional Application(diagonal): Decide if your offering has unique application within a specific business function. Look at the intersection of this with the market segments to drive even more focus with limited time and resources.
Looking at your offering based on these 3 dimensions will likely not change your idea or the concept that you are offering, but hopefully it will make you think about focusing in order to better understand what you are building, who you are building it for, and how they will best use it for competitive advantage.

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