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The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets by Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits, Brant Cooper

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Market Segment

An IT manager and CIO may face the same problem—network security—but they don’t speak the same language. Although the IT manager is actively fighting a breach, a CIO might be estimating the potential risks of exposed assets. The CIO doesn’t look to IT managers in other organizations to find solutions to network security issues. Neither do IT managers look to CIOs for the best products to solve their immediate issues. They do not look to each other as a reference for resolving the problem, so they are said to not speak the same language.

The benefits they hope to receive from a solution are different. Therefore, the product requirements will be different. They also tend to get information from different sources and their methods for approving solutions will differ, and will require different marketing and sales methods.

Clues that people are in different segments:

  • Their depth of pain or passion is markedly different.
  • They hang out in different places—for example, Facebook versus LinkedIn.
  • They expect different solutions—for example, fast food versus a sit-down meal.
  • They expect different distributions—for example, online versus brick and mortar.
  • They expect different sales methods—for example, field sales versus e-commerce.

Clayton Christensen asks, “What job is your product hired to do?” The same product is hired to do a different job by different customers. In his now famous (among marketers) example, a researcher for a fast-food restaurant found that a large ...

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