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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crossing the Chasm

Crossing the Chasm
Marketing and Selling High Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

by Geoffrey A. Moore

Crossing the Chasm is a book by Geoffrey A. Moore that deals with the challenge that many start-up companies face of overcoming the marketing gap between early adopters of a certain technology and mainstream users. Consequently, Moore offers specifics for solving this problem.

The philosophy behind Crossing the Chasm is based on the so called "Diffusion of Innovations" theory by Everett Rogers. This theory argues that there is a chasm between the early adopters of a product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority of users (who are pragmatists). Moore explains that visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations from a product. While early adopters buy things because they are cool, later groups value the functionality of the product.

This creates a "chasm". Moore attempts to explore the differences between the groups and suggest techniques to successfully cross the chasm to reach mass market. He suggests solutions such as: choosing a target market, understanding the whole product concept, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most appropriate distribution channel and pricing. For a product to become attractive to mainstream users, it should be easy to adopt and fulfill a desperate need. One of his creative suggestions is to focus on one group of customers at a time and using each group as a base for marketing for the next group.

The distinctions Moore draws between the different target groups are largely based on the classic technology adoption lifecycle where five main users segments are recognized: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. The underlying thesis is that technology is absorbed into any given community in stages corresponding to the psychological and social profiles of various segments within that market.

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