I recently met with a prospective client who is contemplating a vertical go to market strategy. One of the core questions we addressed was whether or not a vertical strategy was the right one. Many of our clients choose a vertical strategy, and in many cases “going vertical” makes sense (see Cisco and/or SAP). But it is also true that in many other cases, going vertical is not the best way to tackle the problem of segmentation.
Segmentation is a question of determining the common attributes found in a group of buyers that enable you to look at them (and market to them) in a similar fashion.
Sometimes that is found within a vertical (otherwise known as an industry), many times it is not. The common attributes could be usage of a technology, it could be a common problem that needs to be addressed across most industries, it could be defined by the way people use a product or service as opposed to who they are. For example, in looking at a consumer market, a vertical strategy is unlikely to the right strategy whereas a segmentation based on psychographics or demographics or age category or age categories within geographies, may be a much more effective way to segment your market.
So the question about how to best segment can be answered only after you define the common attributes of users and influencers that enable you to group them together and therefore communicate the same value proposition to them. Then you create a go to market plan to address them, find the right partners to go to market with, etc. etc.
Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.