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Crossing the Chasm

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Geoffrey Moore

Author's Spotlight

Have you read Crossing the Chasm - the Go-to-Market bible for high tech leaders for over 30 years?

Crossing the Chasm, written by Geoffrey Moore, was first published in 1991 introduced the Technology Lifecycle Adoption Framework.

The basic concept of Crossing the Chasm is that there are five stages in the Technology Lifecycle Adoption curve, and each stage has a specific "buyer profile" at each stage of adoption:

Stages of the Product Lifecycle Adoption Curve:

  • Innovators - Get excited about the technology itself

  • Early Adopters - Will bet early on the technology to gain competitive advantage

  • THE CHASM - The critical cross-over point from a niche market to a large addressable market

  • Early Majority - Not genuine believers in technology - much more focused on a high priority problem

  • Late Majority - Must be convinced the herd has already adopted and the ease of implementation and adoption outweighs the risk

  • Laggards - The last phase of tech adoption - the goal is to neutralize, not convince them to change

Buyer type for each stage of the Technology Lifecycle Adoption Curve:

  • Technology Enthusiasts - The first people to adopt any new technology

  • Visionaries - Have the insights to match up emerging tech to strategic opportunity

  • Pragmatists - Looking for incremental improvement versus innovation with higher risk

  • Conservatives - Believe more in tradition/status quo versus discontinuous innovation

  • Skeptics - Believe new technology is synonymous with unintended consequences

Bowling Alley - the strategy to increase the probability of success when crossing the Chasm to penetrate the early majority

  • Knock over the first "use case" and then move to adjacencies

  • Same use case in a different industry

  • Different use cases in the same industry

The first focal point of the bowling alley requires

  • Whole product

  • Word of mouth community which requires 4-5 customers in the same industry as advocates

Inside the Tornado - Result of increasing awareness of a technology segment + budget exists for this category. A great example - Conversational Intelligence

The breadth of the vendors' ecosystem is critical to becoming the leader inside the Tornado.

MainStreet - the stage where the majority of potential buyers knows they need to invest in this category

  • The stage of Cloud and SaaS adoption today

Conservatives have a lot of power in this stage - and ensuring customer success and business value received is critical to continued growth.

How to manage a business at each stage of a company or products adoption curve?

Zone Management - governs the management model at each stage of product adoption:

  • Performance Zone - Main Street market with predictable growth measured by revenue growth, margins, and market share

  • Productivity Zone - process focused on improving the efficiency of every function to optimize profitability.

  • Incubation Zone  - Represents the start-up mindset and is about establishing Product Market Fit and "Power" in the marketplace by winning real customers and beating the competition.

  • Transformation Zone - Basically conducting open-heart surgery on your existing business because the world has changed and your product is viewed as yesterday's news.

Geoffrey Moore and his book Crossing the Chasm are legends in the technology industry marketing landscape. The principles from Crossing the Chasm are as effective in the Cloud in 2021 and beyond as they were when the book and framework were first published!

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