Should you target the broad market or a particular smaller one?

I am in charge of a product in a new area where it has never been before (Europe). I am testing in several market categories and find that a small segment in Europe has an excellent product-market fit. I am only working with users from this segment of the market, however. How would you respond? Focus on that little expert segment where we are able to adequately address their problems, or find out more about the larger sector where it is now inapplicable? I should mention that I have goals to achieve for my region’s user base and revenue.


Geoffrey Moore’s book Inside the Tornado advises starting your product’s growth in specialised segments, capturing them fully, expanding to other specialised segments that make sense for your product, and (once established and known as a provider of a variety of specialised services), then developing your product into a generalist solution that captures the larger market.

Specialized->Good Reputation->More specializations->…->General Solution.

In the end, you unavoidably start weakening your solution to satisfy the largest user story.


@HannahBorges, I like this strategy, but it also provides competitors a lot of time to mimic what the company did to produce their own specialised products.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Airbnb were market-dominating corporations that offered all-encompassing services. Even though many people might not find LinkedIn to be the best option, everyone still uses it.


Here are a few things you can consider:

  1. Understand the needs and preferences of the small expert segment: If you see a good product-market fit in a small segment in Europe, it could be a good idea to focus on that segment and try to understand their specific needs, preferences, and pain points. This can help you tailor your product to meet their needs better and establish a strong foothold in that segment.

  2. Explore the potential of the larger segment: While focusing on the small segment is a good start, you should also explore the potential of the larger segment. This can help you identify any gaps in your product that are preventing it from being a fit for the larger segment. By understanding the needs and preferences of this segment, you can make changes to your product and marketing strategies to appeal to a broader audience.

  3. Conduct market research: It’s essential to conduct market research to gather data about the market, customer preferences, and competition. This can help you make informed decisions about which segments to focus on and how to tailor your product and marketing strategies.

  4. Balance short-term and long-term goals: While it’s important to focus on short-term goals, such as gaining a foothold in the small expert segment, you should also keep long-term goals in mind. Think about how you can position your product for sustained growth in the future.

To sum it up, you should aim to strike a balance between focusing on the small expert segment and exploring the potential of the larger segment. By conducting market research and understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, you can make informed decisions about how to tailor your product and marketing strategies to appeal to both segments.


What is the long-term strategy? That, in my opinion, will guide your immediate choices. Making short-term decisions without a long-term plan or goal is likewise not a great idea.


Agree to most of the replies to your post, but where is the money?


Thank you all for your replies.
@AhmadBashir, Probably the specialist segment will pay more as there is less competition. But I have a few 10k potential users max while in large segment there might be a 100-500k users, but lots of better tools out there. I need to start getting sales numbers for my region and have to start selecting a segment.


Hmm… What are your goals?


My goal: Keep my job as I have targets to reach. Hard to say: Either the specialist segment will pay more, or I go broad but with a cheap offer.


Having a long-term plan is crucial for making informed short-term decisions that align with your overall business objectives. Here are some things to consider when developing a long-term plan:

  1. Define your business objectives: Start by defining your business objectives, such as revenue targets, customer acquisition goals, or market share. This will help you create a roadmap for achieving your goals.
  2. Conduct market research: Conduct thorough market research to understand your target customers, their needs, and the competition. This will help you identify potential opportunities and challenges.
  3. Develop a product roadmap: Develop a product roadmap that outlines the features and functionalities you plan to add to your product over time. This will help you prioritize your short-term decisions based on your long-term goals.
  4. Create a marketing strategy: Develop a marketing strategy that aligns with your long-term objectives. This includes identifying the target audience, developing messaging and branding, and identifying the most effective channels to reach your customers.
  5. Monitor progress and adjust the plan: Regularly monitor your progress towards your long-term goals and make adjustments as needed. This will ensure that you stay on track and can adjust your short-term decisions accordingly.

By developing a long-term plan that aligns with your business objectives and market research, you can make informed short-term decisions that support your overall goals. This will help you build a successful business over time.

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Absolutely agree. Geoffrey Moore’s “Inside the Tornado” is a well-known book that describes a framework for product growth called the “Technology Adoption Life Cycle.” The framework suggests that successful products start by targeting a specialized niche market and then gradually expanding their reach to larger markets.

This approach allows a company to gain a strong foothold in a specific market segment and develop a good reputation for delivering value to customers. As the company expands into other specialized segments, they can leverage their existing expertise and customer base to capture more market share.

Eventually, the company may develop a more general solution that appeals to a broader market. However, as you pointed out, this may require diluting the product to appeal to a wider audience. This is why it’s essential to have a clear long-term plan and product roadmap that balances the need for growth with the need to maintain a strong value proposition for customers.

Therefore, starting in specialized segments and gradually expanding into other specialized segments is a proven approach to product growth. However, it’s important to balance short-term growth with long-term sustainability and value for customers.

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