by anil on December 28, 2006
Title: Crossing the Chasm
Author: Geoffrey A. Moore
Publisher: HarperBusiness Essentials
If you are in the business of marketing/selling disruptive products to mainstream customers? This book is for you.
When Apple introduced iPod in the market how long did it take for you get one yourself? You might have tried it as soon as you heard about it, or you might have got one yourself when you saw it in the hands of your savvy nephew, or you might have bought one as you started to see them around in your office, or you might have bought it due to peer pressure. Or, at the last, you might have bought one because you needed that for your survival.
In every technology market, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle of a disruptive product passes through the above-mentioned five stages. These markets are technically called Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards by Geoffrey A. Moore. Interestingly each segment is separated by a chasm; a chasm can be fatal if not managed properly. He explains how a chasm can be identified, tackled and can be got over to continue to ride the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.
This book also explains the importance of selling disruptive products to “self-referencing” markets. You will not really build a market by initially selling your disruptive product to banks, transport companies, government and school; all at the same time. You need to identify the niche that most suits your product and starts selling. He says, “Trying to cross the chasm without taking a niche market approach is like trying to light a fire without kindling”.
In the section “Beyond Niches” he says that “there is life after niche. Major market dominance ultimately transcends niche.” As the next step, the book shed light to the importance of selecting the strategic target market.
Moore also says the importance of having a defined target in your actions. He quotes the quote: “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably aren’t going to get there”. One can use the guidelines given in this chapter to identify the best niche market to target his product at.
He introduces the concept of “Whole Product”. What we generally supply is a generic product which cannot fulfill the requirements of customers. They either need to have their team to work on it to make it a Whole Product or the supplier has to do that job. There is a strategic advantage with your product if you can provide it in a Whole Product form.
The book says about the importance of having competition to enter the mainstream market. Principles of Positioning is also explained here with process and examples.
Building channels is another important step in any sales process. This book explains various channel/distribution mechanisms found in the market along with its merits and demerits. And the book ends with a chapter named “Getting Beyond the Chasm” which explains the role of Financial Decisions, VC, Organizational Decisions, etc..
This book is an absolute read for anyone who is trying to market anything disruptive. This books contains several case studies to demonstrate the principles explained. A must read. I would rate this book 5/5.