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Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers Paperback – July 25, 2006
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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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Some key points and lessons learned:
- It is important to maintain momentum in order to create a bandwagon effect that makes it natural for the next group to want to buy in.
- Early adopters want a change agent while the early majority looks for productivity improvement for existing operations - they want an evolution not revolution.
- Vapor vare should be avoided during chasm crossing - Vapor vare is pre-announcing and pre-marketing a product which still requires significant development.
- Resistance is a function of inertia growing out of the commitment to the status quo, fear of risk or lack of compelling reason to buy.
- Crossing the chasm requires moving from an environment of support among visionaries back into one of skepticism among pragmatists. It means that moving from product related issues to unfamiliar ground of market oriented issues AND moving from the familiar audience of like minded specialist to uninterested generalist.
-It is the market centric value system - supplemented ( but not superseded ) by the product centric - One that must be the basis for the value profile of the target customers when crossing the chasm.
-Elevator Speech Template
1. For (target customers - beachhead segment only)
2. Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
3. Our product is a (new product category)
4. Unlike (the product alternative)
5. We have assembled (key whole product features for your specific applications)
- Why is elevator speech important ?
1. Your claim cannot be transmitted by word of mouth consistently.
2. Marketing communications will be all over the map.
3. R&D will be all over the map.
4. You are not likely to get financing from anybody with experience.
- The product alternative in your elevator speech helps customers understand your technology leverage (what you have in common) and your niche commitment (where you differentiate). Market alternative helps people identify your target customers (what you have in common) and your compelling reason to buy (where you differentiate).
- Positioning: Goal should be to make products easier to buy not easier to sell. The four stages in positioning:
1. Name it and frame it - Positioning needed to make a product easy to buy for a technology enthusiast.
2. Who for and what for - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy from the visionary.
3. Competition and differentiation - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy for the pragmatist.
4. Financials and future plans - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy for the conservative.
- During the chasm period, the number one concern of pricing is not to satisfy the customer or the investor, but to motivate the channel.
- When crossing the chasm we are looking to attract customer oriented distribution by using distribution oriented pricing. There are two types of pricing strategies: value based and cost based. The value based strategy is based on the final big value the client will realize using the product while the cost based is dependent upon the cost incurred to deliver the product.
This blue print begins by segmenting customers into groups with different needs and goals (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards). These groups do not form a continuous spectrum. Indeed, there are gaps that exist that any company looking to succeed needs to understand and bridge. Once the company identifies the highly specific target segment within a mainstream marketplace, they then proceed to understanding their compelling reasons to buy. Then they must build around the notion of a "whole product" with the aid of partners as required to make that a reality. To further help the customer, the company must clearly define their competition and how they position themselves with respect to them. Finally comes selecting a distribution channel and ensuring that the sales force is empowered to deliver the required results.
From my perspective, this book helps any IT executive understand how to better work with technology vendors. In addition to helping them identify the ones that are indeed there to stay and grow. It also pushes IT executives to make fundamental decisions on where in the consumer spectrum they want to position themselves based on their needs and the risks that they are willing to undertake.
In all a very good and informative read. Despite it being originally written in the 90s the fundamentals of the blueprint still hold true. This is a true bible in the field of technology marketing. On the critiquing side, I would say that this book could have been written in a more concise fashion. It seemed slow at times, when reading it. Also, it would have been great to see updated examples of the principles described which would make it easier to reflect upon from a more recent perspective.
If you work at a growing startup, even if you're not on the marketing side, you owe it to yourself to read this.
All individuals in marketing, sales, or developments of a new technology should read this book! Remember to also buy Inside the Tornado!
Ph.D in Innovation Management from Purdue University
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