The most important strategic choice in online marketing

At the most abstract level, your organization is a single entity. At the most detailed level, each of your customers is an individual, unique and special.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in marketing is reconciling these two forces: the unity of your brand and the individuality of your audience.

You want to speak to people as specifically as you can, addressing their particular wants and needs, related in a way that resonates best with their perspective of the world. But businesses grow by also tapping into the commonalities of many customers, identifying segments that can be scaled in a non-linear fashion.

The disruptive innovation of online marketing is that it has enabled near limitless — at least in theory — parsing of your global audience into highly targeted segments, even micro-segments. This is The Long Tail. Still, there are trade offs in how much time, effort, and money is involved in sliding down the curve from mass marketing to micro-marketing.

Picking your place on that curve — somewhere between prehistoric mass marketing and the Platonic ideal of segments of one — is possibly the most important strategic choice in online marketing today.

This is market segmentation granularity as strategy.

Technology designed to scale digital interactions, such as post-click management software and social media management software, can shift your sweet spot further down the curve. But there’s still a wide swath of possibilities for how segmented you choose to make your marketing.

Have you consciously made that decision?

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Comments

  1. Could you tell us more about how you see the trade offs here?
    There must be some kind of ideal path for solopreneurs vis-a-vis larger well funded names.
    Shouldn’t solopreneurs concentrate on building viable relationships first before branding?
    How does USP and Brand creation interplay?

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