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Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers Paperback – July 7, 1999

71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Crossing the Chasm should be the Bible for high-tech companies looking for direction with marketing and distribution challenges. Geoff's model corresponds directly to the launch of Lotus Notes and continues to shape our marketing programs." -- Robert K. Weller S.V.P., North American Business Group

"Crossing the Chasm truly addresses the subtleties of high-tech marketing. We have embraced many of the concepts in the book and it has become a 'bestseller' with Unisys." -- James A. Unruh, CEO, Unisys

"If you find yourself wondering why it is that the majority of potential buyers for your newest breakthrough technology are not as enthusiastic as your early adopters, read this book or risk joining the others at the bottom of the high-tech abyss." -- Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge, author of Credibility, President of the Tom Peters Group/Learning Systems

About the Author

Geoffrey A. Moore is the author of Escape Velocity, Inside the Tornado, and Living on the Fault Line.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPB; Revised edition (July 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066620023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066620022
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between start-up companies in the Mohr Davidow portfolio and established high-tech enterprises, most recently including Salesforce, Microsoft, Intel, Box, Aruba, Cognizant, and Rackspace.

Moore's life's work has focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations. His first book, Crossing the Chasm, focuses on the challenges start-up companies face transitioning from early adopting to mainstream customers. It has sold more than a million copies, and its third edition has been revised such that the majority of its examples and case studies reference companies come to prominence from the past decade. Moore's most recent work, Escape Velocity, addresses the challenge large enterprises face when they seek to add a new line of business to their established portfolio. It has been the basis of much of his recent consulting.

Irish by heritage, Moore has yet to meet a microphone he didn't like and gives between 50 and 80 speeches a year. One theme that has received a lot of attention recently is the transition in enterprise IT investment focus from Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement. This is driving the deployment of a new cloud infrastructure to complement the legacy client-server stack, creating massive markets for a next generation of tech industry leaders.

Moore has a bachelors in American literature from Stanford University and a PhD in English literature from the University of Washington. After teaching English for four years at Olivet College, he came back to the Bay Area with his wife and family and began a career in high tech as a training specialist. Over time he transitioned first into sales and then into marketing, finally finding his niche in marketing consulting, working first at Regis McKenna Inc, then with the three firms he helped found: The Chasm Group, Chasm Institute, and TCG Advisors. Today he is chairman emeritus of all three.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Bob Carpenter on February 19, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Moore's primary point in this book is that the early adopters of a technology are not necessarily the same as the mainstream market. Moore points out that early adapters often buy things because they're cool, not for practical reasons. Early adapters deal with pain in the form of bad interfaces, minimal network effects. etc. Following this informal observation, Moore divides the population into innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. This is his "Technology Adoption Life Cycle", of which 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" (p. 15). He illustrates this with a bell curve with a horizontal axis corresponding to time of adoption. There's no explanation for why a Bell curve; I'm guessing it just looks pretty in PowerPoint. Moore continues with "this process can be thought of as a continuum with definite stages, each associated with a definable group" (p. 15), although actual definitions are notable by their absence. So Moore advises us that marketing to the two groups might have to be different. Complex? No. Obvious? Perhaps. In any case, this observation is followed with 185 pages of examples and pep talks which I found perfectly readable, but without much additional content.
The second point, which is really just as important, is that the way to "cross the chasm" is by targeting a single industry or group of users, a so-called "vertical market". The only way customers who are beyond the early adopter phase are going to buy into a new product is if it is easy to adopt or if it truly fills a perceived desperate need. That is, it looks less "disruptive".
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147 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Philip Greenspun on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book illustrates a fault in the publishing industry. If you have a 50-page idea it is too long for a magazine. But it is too short for a book. So if you wanted to get it distributed before the Web came along, you had to drop in words until you reached 200 pages.

Here is Moore's important insight in one sentence: "Don't celebrate your victory in a market after becoming the market leader with pioneer consumers; as the mass market develops and all the competitive offerings have adequate performance, the new consumers won't care about the advanced features that your organization is exquisitely tuned to produce but rather ease of setup, ease of use, and low cost."
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Crossing the Chasm (1991) and Inside the Tornado (1995) aremost valuable when read in combination. Chasm "is unabashedly aboutand for marketing within high-tech enterprises." It was written forthe entire high tech community "to open up the marketing decision making during this [crossing] period so that everyone on the management team can participate in the marketing process." In Chasm, Moore isolates and then corrects what he describes as a "fundamental flaw in the prevailing high-tech marketing model": the notion that rapid mainstream growth could follow continuously on the heels of early market success.
In his subsequent book, Inside the Tornado, Moore's use of the "tornado" metaphor correctly suggests that turbulence of unprecedented magnitude has occurred within the global marketplace which the WWW and the Internet have created. Moreover, such turbulence is certain to intensify. Which companies will survive? Why? I have only one (minor) quarrel with the way these two books have been promoted. True, they provide great insights into marketing within the high technology industry. However, in my opinion, all e-commerce (and especially B2B) will be centrally involved in that industry. Moreover, the marketing strategies suggested are relevant to virtually (no pun intended) any organization -- regardless of size or nature -- which seeks to create or increase demand for what it sells...whatever that may be. I consider both books "must reading."
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joanna D. #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Most people who do marketing are familiar with the adoption curve (i.e. Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.) Companies who create technological products frequently have brilliant success with the first two groups and then fall into a pit trying to get to the pot of gold on the other side of this rainbow, selling to the rest of the curve.
Crossing the Chasm details the important gap between Innovators and Early Adopters and then outlines a campaign strategy for crossing that chasm to mainstream marketing success. The book gives many examples of products that crossed the chasm successfully (such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft.)
Time and time again, technology companies fail because they are concerned with sales numbers (to please shareholders or investors) or because of a bean-counter mentality or simply insufficient funding. The author Geoffrey Moore uses D-Day and the taking of Omaha Beach as a powerful metaphor for how to establish a beachhead before assaulting the mainstream. Like the beaches of Normandy, high cost and certain losses can be essential to establishing the toehold that stages victory. Also important is the idea that to reach the mainstream market, vendors must provide the a complete solution, including support. This is an area that high-tech companies typically want to skimp on; the Innovator and Early Adopter types are natural pioneers and self-sufficient. These buyers accept a higher level of product problems and work-arounds. The mainstream majority buyers are pragmatic; they buy a product not for its own sake, or because it is "cool." They buy to get a job done and want a product that does the job and does it trouble-free.
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