Geoffrey Moore’s bestseller Crossing the Chasm dives into the mechanics of marketing your high-tech product all the way from inception to the mainstream customer.
Moore groups customers by where they are most likely to buy in your product’s life cycle. Each of these categories is then analyzed and you are shown how best to market to each of these groups:
Innovators pursue new technology products aggressively … because technology is a central interest in their life, regardless of what function it is performing.
This group is obviously the easiest to persuade to try out your product. They become pivotal in pushing your product along to the next group.
Early Adopters … buy into new product concepts very early in their life cycle … they are people who find it easy to imagine, understand, and appreciate the benefits of a new technology, and to relate these potential benefits to their concerns.
These influencing individuals will help give credibility to your product in your attempts to move to the mainstream public.
The Early Majority … are driven by a strong sense of practicality. They know that many of these new-fangled inventions end up as passing fads, so they are content to wait and see how other people are making out before they buy in themselves.
They wait until something has become an established standard, and even then they want to see lots of support and tend to buy, therefore, from large, well-established companies.
These people simply don’t want anything to do with new technology
Don’t waste your energy on this group. In fact, it may be more valuable to focus on a new product by the time you hit this part of the customer base.
The Bell Curve
These groups form a bell curve with Innovators on the left leading edge and Laggards on the far right. The Majority fit squarely in the middle of the curve with the largest amount of customers.
Unfortunately, marketers can’t progress smoothly from one category of customer to another across the bell curve. There are “cracks in the curve” with a huge chasm between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority.
Moore outlines specific strategies for marketing your product as you transition from one group of customers to another. The main focus of the book is, of course, how to cross the large chasm between the Early Adopters and the Mainstream customer.
Today’s Web Boom
I found this book of particular interest in today’s revived Web Application boom. If you’re building the next great web application, you need to read this book. Failure to cross the chasm after the TechCrunch/Silicon Valley crowd will destine your product to stagnate and fizzle out before it reaches the masses of customers needed for long-term growth and profitability.
Have you read Crossing the Chasm? Tell us what you thought of the book in the comments below.