Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore is a classic reference book for marketers of technology products. As a review, there are a couple of key takeaways in the book that serve as reasons everyone marketing technology products should read it.
NOTE: This book is among those I recommend for all product professionals on my resources page.
Moore’s thesis is that in the technology adoption life cycle, the most difficult step is the jump from visionary innovators to the pragmatic early majority. Contrary to risk-taking innovators, the pragmatic early majority is looking for validation from other buyers in its niche, who can confirm a product will solve problems in their business. By ensuring that the product is marketed to a specific market segment, Moore argues that a company can establish a beachhead from which to expand its presence.
The focus on a single market segment illustrates the second key takeaway: the need for proper segmentation. Moore defines a “market” or “market segment” as a group of buyers with similar problems who reference each other during the buying process. It is this description that helped me internalize the importance of market segmentation. By posing a compelling value proposition to specific segment of the market, a company can “land” in preparation to “land and expand.” “Landing” requires becoming the market leader in that market–and this is how businesses are seen crossing the chasm.
Without market leadership, a company’s offering isn’t seen as credible. Once market leadership exists, the members of that single market segment become referenceable clients who can reach buyers in tangential market segments, providing a way to expand.
If a company does not focus on a single market, and instead gets a buyer or two in many industries, the product doesn’t assume market leadership in any single area. This prevents it from winning any potential buyers by the power of the market leading position. It is this rationale that helps establish why segmenting the market, and focusing on a single segment, is so important for a company struggling to establish itself in the marketplace.
For those learning or reviewing marketing fundamentals, this is a goldmine. There’s a great deal of meat that Moore places around these key concepts, and so Crossing the Chasm is certainly worth reading if you haven’t already.