Step 8: Cluster

Step 8: Group customers & clearly articulate why this is a cluster & identify the BACKS of this cluster.


We construct Sales and Marketing Funnels and other tools thinking that we can create a customer/opportunity from it. This is not wrong. Just by the actual application of some type of process, we are going to focus and become more effective and maybe even more efficient.Market Clusters

The problem is that all these funnels use the same technique; appealing to mass audiences. I call this method a Funnel of Depletion. With this method, you push out a lot of information, hoping it reaches the right people. Whether it is Inbound or Outbound Marketing, there is a lot spraying and praying going on. Worst of all it takes a tremendous amount of time, resources and money to appeal to the masses.

What happens if you start with your core customer and core value proposition? When we start with core customers; things begin to change. We create better relationships and a higher level of learning opportunities. We become more relevant resulting in better communication across more channels. This will enable us to develop greater opportunities and connect with influencers. We use this communication to participate with customers at the relevant edges of the use of our products/services

The Funnel of Opportunity is created from the edges of this participation. We learn how and whom to engage with other organization and within our own. We build upon the known toward the unknown. Always reaching out pushing the edges, looking for adjacency in our markets.

It is not about creating a downstream or upstream flow in some funnel; it is about being relevant in our customer’s market. This type of thinking is outcome-based. A defined outcome provides a set of standards so that we can prepare for our engagements. By having these standards, it creates a set of boundaries for us to work in and when we hit an obstacle, it is just a pause because we know where we are headed.

Adjacencies arc growth opportunities that allow a company to extend the boundaries of the present customer base.  Whether we seek to engage is based on the evaluation or the difference in the markets, technology, processes, environment(platforms), and the existing competitors.

There is no linear path. It is a matter of clustering and attempting different scenarios till obvious connections take place. Large clusters may splinter while others may grow together. The idea is through practice, deliberate practice that these adjacencies are nurtured.

I decided to post the Laddering information here instead of in Step 2 of the Jobs-to-be-Done section. A quick introduction video:

I would recommend Eric Holtzclaw’s book Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior. The outline of the book is a good introduction to the technique.

From Amazon: Laddering outlines a process that powers companies to a better understanding of customers by asking the right questions of your customers and your data. To make smart decisions and determine true ROI, it is vital to get to the core of a customer’s behavior. Laddering provides the framework for evaluating what marketing messages, campaigns, and experiences are most appropriate for your audience. Author Eric Holtzclaw’s process will create the wisdom you need to unlock the potential of your product or service in today’s marketplace. Inside, you will learn how to:

  • Understand your customers’ DNA; that is, why consumers buy from you
  • Capitalize on the true patterns of why people buy
  • Unlock your company’s big data to make smarter, informed decisions
  • Define the consumers’ core motivations and buying ecosystem

Marketing and product development teams need a wake-up call to shift their focus to what’s really important. It’s time to create new rules—and new ways of doing business and measuring success. Laddering makes you look at your customers in a new light to see a path to maximizing your profits and reducing your support costs. Understand what to build and how to market for success in the new many-to-many economy.


A successful company understands its customers and what they need, methods and processes are introduced to keep delivering on those promises. It is what I call standard work. If your eye is only on features, or the market, you miss these changes because relationships aren’t about any of those.

Laddering had its roots in Means –End Theory. There are four levels to the features-benefits-emotions chain. Each level links to the next level. Each level influences buying behavior. All four levels are important in understanding why people buy a product or service.
1. The feature is specific. It performs a specific job.
2. The functional benefit is the outcome of the feature. It is tangible.
3. The higher benefit is what the functional benefit delivers. It is a general benefit.
4. The emotional benefit satisfies feelings and beliefs. Features and functional benefits deliver emotional benefits.

Eric Holtzclaw’s book Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior.

PDF: FOF Part 3 Laddering –

TWI Cards:

The Video covers:

  • Funnel of Opportunity
  • Levels of Perspective
  • Five Pillars of Observation
  • Relationships as a Continuous Process
  • The Context of Laddering
  • Clustering
  • Confirming your Clusters
  • Quantifying Clusters
  • Connecting clusters


If you need any of my notes or a transcription of the presentation let me know.

Sales & Marketing Channels

Explore, Exploit, Empower

Rosetta President Tom Adamski explains how communities and relationships are transforming the way companies do business. Community is an Organic Construct YouTube Video:

Beginning: Funnel of Opportunity Introduction

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