What Does a Market Strategy Look Like?
Let’s say this is a few years ago and you are launching something like FourSquare. You decide that in order for the game to be interesting, a critical mass of your social network has to also be using it so it makes sense to roll it out in a geographical way. You decide New York will be your “lead pin” since you live there and you can get your friends and family using it. Once you knock that pin over it would make sense to knock over a pin where the social graphs intersect. That might be Boston (a lot of folks go back and forth between Boston and New York) or you might decide your user base is more young tech-savvy folks that are traveling to San Francisco a lot, so you pick that. You might then decide that you will roll out to a certain number of cities in the United States before you tackle anything outside the States. When you do decide to go international you might pick Toronto as a good first spot since it’s on the same time zone and those Torontotonians are batty for social media. Next you would hit the major cities in Europe. (I’m talking about this hypothetically, I know nothing about FourSquare’s market strategy)
Now in this case you might be saying – oh that’s obvious – it isn’t, especially for folks that are blazing a trail in new markets. Watching Groupon expand through cities organically in the U.S. and then through acquisition in Europe, you can see this isn’t the only way they could have expanded. They could have offered more than one deal a day, they could have started doing deals that weren’t solely for local merchants. They could have, but that would make Groupon a very different company.
A B2B example might look like the more traditional vertical market bowling pin strategy similar to what we used at Janna Systems. We started with Investment Banking which naturally lead to Private Client Services, Retail Banking and eventually beyond traditional financial services to Insurance and beyond (we got acquired before we had a chance to knock over too many of these but trust me there was a detailed market strategy). The key is to make sure that your pins are related so that awareness, word of mouth, customer examples, etc. can travel with you from one pin to another and you aren’t in essence starting from scratch in a completely new market.
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