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Rule The World One Core Market Segment At A Time

“Understanding who your target audience is, and what they want, and writing to them (and only them!) is the most important component of being successful as an author.”​

– John Locke

Nearly every company dreams of becoming a universally recognized household name. What’s not to like about building the next Apple or Nike? It’s important to remember, however, that before they became global dominant players with broad offerings, both companies focused their efforts narrowly – Apple on computers in the education space and Nike on shoes for jogging aficionados. While any company’s ambition of ubiquity is laudable, it can also lull them into watering down their initial go-to-market approach and, with such a generalized goalpost, miss critical opportunities and fundamental building blocks for sustained growth.

Without initially focusing on a primary market segment, you risk diluting your unique value proposition in an effort to be all things to all people. This value proposition is the benefit your product or service provides and establishes what differentiates you from your competitors. When you water it down you run the risk of minimizing adoption and customer delight, which can be an existential risk to a startup or to an established business attempting a change in the business model.

Going Deep With One Market Segment

Often, the best marketing approach is to focus on one market segment at first and to dive deeply into communicating to that particular audience, letting go of the fear of alienating ancillary customer segments. This methodology forces your team to think through the lens of customers’ needs rather than relying on a product-out mindset. Applying this ethos to your own go-to-market model allows you to test, fail, iterate and optimize your marketing engine in a lower-stakes situation — so that you can scale more efficiently and confidently when you are ready to go broad in your marketing efforts.

Amazon, for example, focused at first on one segment of price-conscious book shoppers before becoming a dominant force in a wide array of businesses — e-commerce, entertainment, and cloud services. Facebook zeroed in solely on building a social platform for undergrads at Harvard. Once early adoption and brand advocates had been established, the company expanded to more schools, and eventually a broader product offering.

A Guide to Effective Marketing Segmentation

Focusing on one core marketing segment at a time and going deep into understanding and earning the love of that group makes your marketing more efficient and effective. Here are four simple principles to guide your marketing segmentation:

1. Choose Your Bullseye

Spend time defining your core customer. Doing so ensures you understand their pain points and needs better than anyone and that you are intimately familiar with why your product has the potential to address that problem. You don’t want to invest in building a solution in search of a non-existent problem to solve. Delighting this core segment can often have a halo effect on other segments.

2. Define Your Positioning

Craft a single message that sets your positioning; this message should clarify the pain point your product or service solves and illustrate why your solution is better than your competitors’ offering. A durable brand positioning should also connect your product’s value proposition to the company’s mission and values to drive authenticity and brand clarity.

3. Build Your Minimum Viable Marketing Engine

Your initial “minimum viable marketing engine” allows you to make small, measurable bets, define success criteria in advance, and determine an ongoing intelligent design of marketing experiments to test audiences and messaging. It’s crucial during this phase to make failure acceptable, as underperforming tests yield valuable data that will drive improvements on key metrics down the line.

4. Establish A Panel of Key Opinion Leaders

These opinion leaders are individuals with expertise in a specific subject. Build an advisory panel of product and segment-specific customers and request insights and feedback about your efforts. Doing so will not only help steer your marketing and product choices, but also can produce a nucleus of evangelists who will spread word of mouth, offer testimonials, and case studies.

In Closing

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Rather, focus on one market segment at a time. This approach builds the DNA for a scalable marketing engine and self-sustaining organic flywheel.

Get Expert Insights On Building Your Core Market Segments

If you’d like to learn more about how 621 Consulting can help you determine your core marketing segment and build a go-to-market strategy, contact us today at


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