Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers – Geoffrey A. Moore
The point of greatest peril in the development of a high-tech market lies in making the transition from an early market dominated by a few visionary customers to a mainstream market dominated by a large block of customers who are predominantly pragmatists in orientation.
Product Positioning And Marketing: Crossing The Chasm: The Gap
The gap between these two markets, heretofore ignored, is in fact so significant as to warrant being called a chasm, and crossing this chasm must be the primary focus of any long-term high-tech marketing plan. A successful crossing is how high-tech fortunes are made; failure in the attempt is how they are lost.
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The Tech Adoption Life Cycle
The product is first used by innovators—people with a keen interest in technology.
Secondly, the early adopters, who appreciate the benefits of the new concept,
As the product gets traction and becomes mainstream, the early majority starts to use it.
Then comes the late majority, and finally the laggards—people who are away from technology but cannot help but buy it now due to practical reasons.
The Traditional Bell Curve Of Product Adoption
There are two cracks in the traditional bell curve.
Firstly, there is a chasm between “early adopters” and the “early majority.” The market approach that works for early adopters might not work for more mainstream users of the product, or vice versa.
Secondly, there is a chasm between the early and the late majority, as each market has its own dynamics.
Crossing the chasm requires a tech entrepreneur to make a total commitment to the niche and then do one’s best to meet everyone else’s needs with whatever resources one has.
Whole Product Concept
The Whole Product Concept identifies four different perceptions of product:
Generic product – This is what’s shipped in the box and what’s covered by the purchasing contract between the seller and the buyer.
Expected product – What the customer thought they were buying.
Augmented product – This is the product fleshed out to provide the maximum chance of achieving the buying objective.
Potential product – This represents the product’s room for growth as more and more ancillary products come on the market and as customer-specific enhancements to the system are made.
Mainstream Markets: Pragmatists and Conservatives
Mainstream markets in high-tech look a lot like mainstream markets in any other industry, particularly those that sell business-to-business. They are dominated by the early majority, who in high tech are best understood as pragmatists, who, in turn, tend to be accepted as leaders by the late majority, best thought of as conservatives, and rejected as leaders by the laggards, or sceptics.
Getting Into The Mainstream
To enter the mainstream market is an act of aggression. The companies that have already established relationships with your target customer will resent your intrusion and do everything they can to shut you out. The customers themselves will be suspicious of you as a new and untried player in their marketplace. No one wants your presence. You are an invader.
Segmenting To Win
One of the keys to breaking into a new market is to establish a strong word-of-mouth reputation among buyers. For word of mouth to develop in any particular marketplace, there must be a critical mass of informed individuals who meet from time to time and, in exchanging views, reinforce the product’s or the company’s positioning.
Segmenting To Win: The Key
The key to gaining a dominant market share is to attack different segments, adopting the “big fish, small pond” approach.
Make a total commitment to the niche, and then do your best to meet everyone else’s needs with whatever resources you have left over.
In short, winning the beachhead and knocking over the headpin creates a dynamic of follow-on adoption, opening up new market opportunities, in part from leveraging a solution from one niche to another and in part from word-of-mouth interaction between customers in the adjacent niches.
The Four Stages Of The Tech Adoption Life Cycle
- Naming the product is crucial for any brand selling to happen.
- Position the product for who would buy it and for what reason.
- Differentiate and provide details and comparative context to the buying customer
- Ensure financials, futures and reassurance to the customer for repeat buying.