The Intersection of Engagement Hierarchy and Market Wedge Strategies for Startup Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 24, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Engagement Hierarchy and Market Wedge Strategies for Startup Growth


In the world of startups, achieving sustainable growth is the ultimate goal. However, simply focusing on increasing the total number of users without considering their engagement with the core action of the product is akin to consuming empty calories. This article explores the concept of the engagement hierarchy, where the core action serves as the foundation of a product's success. Additionally, it delves into the market wedge strategy, which involves targeting a specific niche within a larger market. By understanding the connection between these two strategies, startups can optimize their growth trajectory and build a solid foundation for long-term success.

Understanding the Engagement Hierarchy:

The engagement hierarchy centers around the core action of a product, which defines its essence and purpose. For social media platforms like Twitter, it is the act of tweeting; for Pinterest, it is pinning; and for YouTube, it is uploading videos. While attracting new users is crucial, their engagement with the core action is vital for sustained growth. Without a growing number of users completing the core action, a product's momentum will eventually dwindle. To ensure success, startups must prioritize user engagement and create a seamless user experience that encourages interaction, such as following, liking, and replying.

The Power of the Market Wedge Strategy:

The market wedge strategy, popularized by Chris Dixon's article "The 'thin edge of the wedge' strategy," offers startups a strategic approach to resource allocation. Its focus lies in catering to the needs of a specific niche within a larger market before expanding further. Unlike product wedges, which prioritize growth over profitability and defensibility, market wedges sacrifice growth for power. By initially targeting a constrained area or niche, startups can establish a strong foothold and deliver on their promises.

Finding Common Ground:

At first glance, the engagement hierarchy and market wedge strategy may seem unrelated. However, a closer examination reveals their interconnectedness. By prioritizing the core action, startups can identify the specific niche or market segment that aligns with their product's purpose. This targeted approach allows for a more focused and optimized user experience, increasing the likelihood of user engagement and retention. In turn, this engagement drives the growth and expansion of the product within the larger market.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Define and Prioritize Your Core Action: Identify the action that defines the essence of your product and prioritize its optimization. Ensure that new users understand and can easily complete the core action to foster engagement and drive growth.
  • 2. Research and Select Your Market Wedge: Conduct thorough market research to identify a specific niche within your target market. By focusing on this niche initially, you can deliver a tailored and compelling user experience that meets their unique needs. This approach establishes a powerful foundation for growth and expansion.
  • 3. Iterate and Scale: As you solidify your position within the market wedge, continue to iterate and improve your product based on user feedback. Once you have achieved significant traction and engagement within the niche, gradually expand to other segments of the larger market. This gradual scaling ensures a sustainable growth trajectory while maintaining a strong user base.


The engagement hierarchy and market wedge strategy offer valuable insights for startups navigating the complex landscape of growth. By prioritizing the core action and targeting a specific niche, startups can build a strong foundation for long-term success. Remember to define and optimize the core action, select a market wedge, and iterate and scale strategically. By incorporating these actionable advice into your growth strategy, you can maximize engagement and drive sustainable growth in the ever-evolving startup ecosystem.

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