How to define your target market on a broad service?


One of the main reasons I've joined is to learn how I can best push a open-source product I've worked on with the occasional help of others over the years.

Approach is most capable as a SaaS toolkit of sorts, with various features for developers, designers, project managers and executives. One of my key weak points is understanding how to target Approach once we start actively marketing the public beta - which will be fairly soon once the CMS designer is integrated.

While I'm familiar with a great deal of technical and marketing research, I'm rather clueless when it comes to understanding the driving market forces here aside from looking towards my competition (who also seem rather clueless.)

This industry is split largely between global enterprises and small developer teams that have worked in a variety of industries. We are the latter.

I'm looking for any best practices or resources I can find to close the gap on this section of doing good business.

Beta Branding Market Research Target Market

asked Feb 26 '14 at 20:48
Garet Claborn
324 points
  • A couple of questions: (1) who would you say are your top competitors? (2) Would you say that Approach is a php framework? – Bruce Schwartz 9 years ago
  • As Bruce asked, what would you say Approach is in the shortest way possible? It was hard to grasp right away what it was from the github description ("Flow, Compositing, Components, Services, Live CMS, XML, Datasources, Templating"). – Nishank Khanna 9 years ago
  • @Bruce Schwartz - Right now Approach is only released on github in PHP, but closed versions soon to be open also exist for C++, C# and Java. I can't quite call it a 'framework' as the seven main parts of Approach are detachable and useable in other projects or replaceable for Approach. If anything, it's like a replacement for the standard template library which fit to form a multiplexed input-output system. The points you've both hit on are what have actually been my primary difficulty in defining it's place in a market. It *can* be used as framework however, based on it's default project. – Garet Claborn 9 years ago
  • Major competitors include: NoFlow(, AWS Flow (, the Linux kernel and various HMVC architectures. I've thought about marketing it as "an exokernel system for the cloud" but this doesn't make sense to many. – Garet Claborn 9 years ago
  • @Garet It might be worth thinking about breaking Approach up into separate repos with each component being standalone and Approach being the barebones architecture that glues them together. Similar to GitHub's new editor Atom: They've broken it down into almost 70 standalone repos. – Nishank Khanna 9 years ago
  • On a side note, even though you wouldn't call Approach a framework, it might just be the right way to find your target audience. Especially since EllisLab is abandoning CodeIgniter: Khanna 9 years ago
  • @Nishank Khanna - Thanks for the feedback. You may be right about breaking down Approach into multiple subprojects. In the end this could make documentation and involvement simpler and cleaner. I've made some considerable effort to avoid the term 'framework' on Approach, long ago it was a game engine and contains various novel algorithms. Perhaps it is time I set aside those views I have as the over-protective original author =) – Garet Claborn 9 years ago
  • A side note, one of the key goals of the project as a whole is to create community cloud partnership where developers may use the Approach cloud to launch for-profit cloud services. The logistics and pricing models on that side have been well researched. Somewhat inspired by the Steam community and other app markets, with a few twists. – Garet Claborn 9 years ago

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Beta Branding Market Research Target Market