Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers

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Overview

Here is the bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. Crossing the Chasm has become the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets. This edition provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the Internet. It's essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world's most exciting marketplace.

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Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Technology Project

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Overview

Here is the bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. Crossing the Chasm has become the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets. This edition provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the Internet. It's essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world's most exciting marketplace.

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Editorial Reviews

GIS World Inc. Staff
One of the most thought-provoking books on technology marketing...Moore throws outmoded marketing ideas out the window to clear space for the special realities of the high-tech market.
Computer Letter
Geoff Moore's book is full of good medicine for bad marketing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060517120
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Series: Collins Business Essentials Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 154,804
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Read an Excerpt

High-Tech Marketing

Illusion

As the revised edition of this book is being written, it is 1998, and for this time we have seen a commercial release of the electric car. General Motors makes one, and Ford and Chrysler are sure to follow. Let's assume the cars work like any other, except they are quieter and better for the environment. Now the question is: When are you going to buy one?

The Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Your answer to the preceding question will tell a lot about how you relate to the Technology Adoption Life Cycle., a model for understanding the acceptance of new products. If your answer is, "Not until hell freezes over," you are probably a very late adopter of technology, what we call in the model a laggard. If your answer is, "When I have seen electric cars prove themselves and when there are enough service stations on the road," you might be a middle-of-the-road adopter, or in the model, the early majority. If you say, "Not until most people have made the switch and it becomes really inconvenient to drive a gasoline car," you are probably more of a follower, a member of the late majority. If, on the.other hand, you want to be the first one on your block with an electric car, you are apt to be an innovator or an early adopter.

In a moment we are going to take a look at these labels in greater detail, but first we need to understand their significance. It turns out our attitude toward technology adoption becomes significant—at least in a marketing sense—any time we are introduced to products that require us to change our current mode of behavior or to modify otherproducts and services we rely on. In academic terms, such change-sensitive products are called discontinuous innovations. The contrasting term, continuous innovations, refers to the normal upgrading, of products that does not require us to change behavior.

For example, when Crest promises you whiter teeth, that is a continuous innovation. You still are brushing the same teeth in the same way with the same toothbrush. When Ford's new Taurus promises better mileage, when Dell's latest computer promises faster processing times and more storage space, or when Sony promises sharper and brighter TV pictures, these are all continuous innovations. As a consumer, you don't have to change your ways in order to take advantage of these improvements.

On the other hand, if the Sony were a high-definition TV, it would be incompatible with today's broadcasting standards, which,would require you to seek out special sources of programming. This would be a discontinuous innovation because you would have to change your normal TV-viewing behavior. Similarly if the new Dell computer were to come with the Be operating system, it would be incompatible with today's software base. Again, you would be required to seek out a whole new set of software, thereby classifying this too as a discontinuous innovation. Or if the new Ford car, as we just noted, required electricity instead of gasoline, or if the new toothpaste were a mouthwash that did riot use a toothbrush, then once again you would have a product incompatible with your current infrastructure of supporting components. In all these cases, the innovation demands significant changes by not only the consumer but also the infrastructure. That, is how and why such innovations come to be called discontinuous.

Between continuous and discontinuous hes a spectrum of demands for change. TV dinners, unlike microwave dinners, didnot require the purchase of a new oven, but they did require the purchase of more freezer space. Color-TV programming did not, like VCRs, require 'mvestinr in and mastering a new technology, but they did require buying a new TV and learmng more about turning and antennas than many of us wanted to learn. The special washing instructions for certain fabrics, the special street lanes reserved for bicycle riders, the special dialing instructions for calling overseas—all represent some new level of demand on the consumer to absorb a chdn e in behavior. Sooner or later, all businesses must make these demands. And so it is that all businesses can profit,by lessons, from high-tech industries.

Whereas other industries introduce discontinuous innovations only occasionally and with much trepidation, high-tech en@ terprises do so routinely and as confidently as a born-again Christian holding four aces. From their inception, therefore, high-tech industries needed a marketing model that coped effectively with this type of product introduction. Thus the Technology Adoption Life Cycle became central to the entire sector's approach to marketing. (People are usually amused to learn that the original research that gave rise to this model was done. on the adoption of new strains of seed potatoes among American farmers. Despite these,agrarian roots, however, the model has thoroughly transplanted itself into the soil of Silicon Valley.)

The model describes the market penetration of any new technology product in terms. of a progression in the types of consumers it attract throughout its useful life:

As you can see, we have a bell curve. The divisions in the curve are roughly equivalent to where standard deviations would fall. That is, the early majority and the late majority fall within one standard deviation of the mean, the early adopters and the laggards within two, and way out there, at the very onset of a new technology, about three standard deviations from the norm, are the innovators.

The groups are distinguished from each other by their characteristic response to a discontinuous innovation based on a new technology. Each group represents a unique psychographic profile—a combination of psychology and demographics that makes it marketing responses different from those of the other groups. Understanding each profile and its relationship to its neighbors is a critical component of high-tech marketing lore.

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Table of Contents


Introduction
Part I: Discovering the Chasm
Chapter 1: High-Tech Marketing Illusion
Chapter 2: High-Tech Marketing Enlightenment
Part II: Crossing the Chasm
Chapter 3: The D-Day Analogy
Chapter 4: Target the Point of Attack
Chapter 5: Assemble the Invasion Force
Chapter 6: Define the Battle
Chapter 7: Launch the Invasion
Conclusion
Index
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Preface

My journey begins in the dentist's chair. The nurse is pressing dental dough into my lower incisors, and she and the doctor are playing dueling banjos with funny stories about their kids. They've paused for me to nod or grunt as if I, too, were part of their conversation when in walks a man, another dentist, dropping by to say hello. "I've got a good one," he says cheerfully, and goes on to tell a racist joke. I can't recall the joke, only that it ends with a black man who is stupid. Dead silence. It's just us white folks here in the room, but my dentist and his nurse know my wife, who is black, and they know my son and my daughter, who are, as they describe themselves, tan and bright tan.

How many racist jokes have I heard in my life? Five thousand, maybe ten thousand, at least. But today, for the first time - who knows exactly why? - I am struck with a deep, sharp pain. I look at this man, with his pasty face, pale hair, and weak lips, and I think: This idiot's talking about my children!

I want to shake him, shove him against the wall. But I say nothing. Hastily, my dentist grabs a tool, the nurse extracts the dough, and the idiot leaves. But I remain in suspended animation. It isn't just the joke. It isn't the tension in the air. It isn't even the idiot. It's my recognition that I've crossed a line, and that for an instant I've traveled to a place where white Americans rarely go. I feel revulsion and anger at this man. I feel fear and anguish for my children. I feel helpless. Am I, I wonder, feeling like a black man?

I have a memory of a long time ago, when I was eight, maybe nine, when I sat with my grandmother onthe steps of her house in the country, thirty miles outside Chicago, snapping fresh beans. My grandmother was a large, stern woman with a baritone voice, round wire-rimmed glasses, and ashen hair swept up from her forehead, temples, and neck in that old Gibson Girl fashion. I called her Big Grandma with fear and respect. That day she told me she'd been to "the city" - Chicago Heights, which in the 1950s was an industrial town of about thirty-five thousand people. Big Grandma said she'd seen "coloreds" everywhere. She said that while standing in line at the Walgreen's she'd heard one colored lady tell another colored lady, "I always carries a razor in my purse." Big Grandma said this with dramatic inflection, a shiver, and a kind of rage, but I missed her complex meanings. Coloreds, I thought. What in the world are coloreds? I had no idea. But from her tone, I knew enough not to ask. I decided that coloreds were people whose skin, for mysterious reasons, resembled a concoction of melted crayons stirred into a weird, beautiful swirl. When I eventually went to Chicago Heights with Big Grandma and she pointed out a colored, I was amazed. I was disappointed. They weren't colored after all.

Three decades later, sitting in the dentist's chair, I'm struck by how much I am still like that little boy who believed he understood what he absolutely did not. I have been married to a black woman for ten years, and we have two children. I've had years of visiting my wife's family in rural Kentucky, years of births and deaths and holiday meals, of hunting with my father-in-law and his friends, of shared shots of Old Forester, shared jokes, lies, and hunting knives--years of what I believed was a life lived across the color line. Yet only today, at age thirty-nine, have I really felt the intimate intrigues and confusions of race in America.

Only today, for the first time, have I crossed the line.

When does a journey begin? Is it the day or the hour or the minute you finally stash your bags, wave good-bye, and set out?

Or does a journey begin way back before you ever knew you'd set out, when the idea was still locked in some undiscovered place in your mind or your heart, surfacing in only fleeting, misunderstood images and half-noted thoughts for years or even decades? So that when the idea occurs to you - say, in the dentist's chair - it seems you've always had it? That's how it was for me, anyway. From the moment I realized that I needed to do this - go out and travel America's parallel black world - it seemed as if I had always needed to do it. Thank the idiot in the dentist's office. His callousness had pierced my lifetime of distant intellectualizing about race and struck at the place where my hopes for my children reside, struck at my heart and not my head. In that instant, I was touched and humbled, converted. In that instant, I knew in my heart that I didn't know anything about race, that I never had. That I had to start again.

For as long as I can remember, the coloreds, then Negroes, then blacks, and now African Americans, have been somewhere on my mind. I suspect this is true for most white people. In our heads, race is always back there somewhere, on a back burner, bewildering us, making us shake our heads and wonder at "those people," alternately blaming ourselves and them for the conundrum that is race in America. But that's where most of us white folks stop. We've got lives to lead, mortgages to pay, birthdays to celebrate. But for me, from that moment in the dentist's chair, the matters of black and white in America were no longer curiosities. I no longer had the luxury of keeping "those people" on my mind's back burner.

Those people were my kids!

The more I thought about this and listened to my white friends, family, and neighbors, the more I realized how little any of us knew. How few of us had even one close black friend, how few of us had ever had an honest conversation with a black person, how many of us were still hiding behind the same frightened rage I'd seen in Big Grandma on the porch thirty years ago. Looking back, I know now that race has baffled and fascinated me all my life, that I've always yearned to understand "those people," to feel something of what it is they feel. I suspect that this is true for most white people. Because in some way, blacks are our other half. In some way, we can't understand ourselves if we don't understand them. It is racism's oldest dynamic.

So with a lifetime of curiosity to satisfy, and a father's need to protect and guide his children, I am heading out into black America to learn something - not from the statistics and politics of race, but from the lives and voices of real people, black people from every imaginable age, income, occupation, and locale. I've tacked a map of the United States to my wall, and I begin a list of places and people, one filtered through the suggestions of friends and colleagues, black and white, and my own curiosities. I have these goals: When I'm done with my travels, I want to have experienced the breadth of black America. I want to be the blind man who touches the whole elephant. I want the story of my journey to be less like a social scientist's analysis and more like an artist's collage. I want my children, when they are old enough, to be able to pick up this single volume and see, hear, feel, taste, and understand the sweeping arch of people, places, and opinions that make up half of their heritage. Some of my destinations are obvious: Montgomery, Alabama, where Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in 1955. Some are deeply personal: I hope to find the first black man I ever knew in my life, someone I met when we were both teenagers. In between are dozens of other people I plan to visit: a city police chief, a jazz trumpeter, a convicted murderer, a farmer, an architect, a welfare mother, a corporate mogul, a rap star, moviemakers, Hollywood stars, novelists, poets. All across the country, black people have agreed to show me around, introduce me to their families and friends, tell me the stories of their lives.

That's the plan, anyway. But as I pack clothes, books, notebooks, pens, tapes, and tape recorders, I think of Mark Twain's words, "Circumstances do the planning for us all," and I decide to go where the circumstances take me.

My kids say their quick good-byes and run off to play, not really comprehending that I will be gone more than a little while. My wife walks with me out to my tan Isuzu Trooper with too many miles on it already, kisses me good-bye, and stands with her hands on her cheeks, crying. I think about how much I love her. And I think how strange it is that I'm about to leave this black woman behind so that I might learn more about black America. But this much I take for granted: no one person is black America, not even if she is my wife.

As I wave good-bye and coast down the gentle hill of my driveway, I suddenly think, I'm crazy! Why am I doing this? But I keep going, because I do know why. I'm doing this for myself, my children, and the dentist with his racist jokes. What do I hope to discover? Who knows? As John Steinbeck wrote, "You don't take the trip. The trip takes you."

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Reading Group Guide

"For the most astute companies this book provides the blueprint for success, for the others it is a manual for their survival, and for all it is a great read." --William Davidow, general partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures
The bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries, Crossing the Chasm has become the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets. This revised and updated edition -- which provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the Internet -- is essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world's most exciting marketplace. Questions for Discussion
  • The Technology Adoption Life Cycle is "a model for understanding the acceptance of new products." What is the logic behind it? Discuss the consumer types that comprise the Technology Adoption Life Cycle -- innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Identify the key factors that define each group. Which one is the most integral to success?
  • In the preface, Geoffrey Moore states, "The world has changed. The high-tech community is now crossing the chasm intentionally rather than unintentionally….The basic forces don't change, but the tactics have become more complicated." What does he mean by this statement? How does it apply to recent shifts and changes in the high-tech market? Discuss the ways in which a decade of experience with life-cycle models has affected marketing strategies in both high-tech and other industries.
  • Crossing the Chasm is based on what Moore calls the "chasm model." What isthe chasm model, and how is it applied? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
  • Apply the factors of the Market Development Strategy Checklist (outlined on pages 98-103) to a company and product with which you are familiar. Then determine a marketing strategy using this information and drawing on what you have learned from this book.
  • "One of the most important lessons about crossing the chasm is that the task ultimately requires achieving an unusual degree of company unity during the crossing period." How does Moore illustrate the importance of this "lesson"? What other factors are integral to a company's success in crossing the chasm? About the Author: Geoffrey A. Moore is chairman of The Chasm Group, which provides marketing strategy consulting services to hundreds of high-tech companies. He is also a venture partner with Mohr Davidow Ventures, a venture capital firm. Moore was recently named one of the "Elite 100 leading the digital revolution" by Upside magazine.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Best playbook for launching new ideas

    A great book for anyone interested in new ideas, new products, and bringing new things to the world. Though most case studies are framed for high tech, there are great lessons for anyone who wants to build a business from new ideas and products.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2009

    A classic must-read for anybody involved in product strategy for high technology.

    This is a classic must-read for all people involved in product strategy for high-technology. Published in 1991 and updated in 1999, it introduced a very innovative way of how technology is adopted by different segments in the market. The book goes beyond theoretical models and really offers almost hands-on, very systematic (!) approach on what the optimal steps are to market and sell your technology, and this depending on where your product is in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.

    If you haven't read it yet, don't hesitate any longer. Seriously. If you're short of time (hey - the book is only about 200 pages...) then I suggest you read the summary (free download, google it or check my blog www.techopath.com for the link) from the nice people at Parker Hill Technology - but you will miss out on a great read by doing so.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2004

    Great Book even for software services industry

    Must read for everyone - especially for those who are techy and want to cross the chasm and get into sales & marketing of IT products or services.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    Good book for a technical team ...

    This book helped me in understanding the marketing side of a technical product. The author has done a good job in explaining the marketing strategies and tactics for crossing the 'chasm'- which separates the early market and the mainstream market. As the author talks about 'whole product model', this book will be helpful even for developers (who would help in designing a 'whole product'). This book is not just for marketing specialists but also for all employees whose futures depend on the success of a technical product. I recommend this book very highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2001

    Helpful Revision of a High-Tech Marketing Classic

    Crossing the Chasm deserves more than five stars for putting 'a vocabulary to a market development problem that has given untold grief to any number of high-tech enterprises.' Crossing the Chasm is the most influential book about high technology in the last 10 years. When I meet with CEOs of the most successful high technology firms, this is the book that they always bring up. What most people do not realize is that Geoffrey Moore did an excellent update of the book in a revised edition in 1999. If you liked the original, you will like the revision even more. It contains many better and more up-top-date examples, and explores several new ways that companies have crossed the chasm that he had not yet observed in 1991 when the original came out (such as 'piggybacking,' the way that Lotus 1-2-3 built from VisiCalc's initial success). If you plan to work or invest in any high technology companies, you owe it to yourself to read and understand this book. The understanding won't be hard, because the material is clear and well articulated. The book's focus is on a well-known psychological trait (referred to as Social Proof in Influence by Robert Cialdini). There is a potential delay in people using new things 'based on a tendency of pragmatic people to adopt new technology when they see other people like them doing the same.' As a result, companies must concentrate on cracking the right initial markets in a segmented way to get lots of references and a bandwagon effect going. One market segment will often influence the next one. Crossing the Chasm is all about how to select and attack the right segments. Many companies fail because innovators and early adopters are very interested in new technology and opportunities to create setrategic breakthroughs based on technology. As a result, these customers are not very demanding how easy it is to use the new technology. To cross the chasm, these companies must primarily appeal to the 'Early Majority' of pragmatists who want the whole solution to work without having to be assembled by them and to enhance their productivity right away. If you wait too long to commercialize the product or service in this way, you will see your sales shrivel after a fast start with the innovators and early adopters. The next group you must appeal to are the Late Majority, who want to wait until you are the new standard and these people are very price sensitive. Many U.S. high technology companies also fail to make the transitions needed to satisfy this large part of the market (usually one-third of demand). The final group is technology adverse, and simply hopes you will go away (the Laggards). The book describes its principles in terms of D-Day. While that metaphor is apt, I wonder how well people under 35 know D-Day. In the next revision, I suggest that Desert Storm or some more recent metaphor be exchanged for this one. The book's key weakness is that it tries to homogenize high technology markets too much. Rather than present this segmentation as immutable, it would have been a good idea to provide ways to test the form of the psychological attitudes that a given company will face. The sections on how to do scenario thinking about potential segments to serve first are the best parts of the book. Be sure you do these steps. That's where most of the book's value will come for you. Otherwise, all you will have added is a terminology for describing how you failed to cross the chasm. I also commend the brief sections on how finance, research, and development, and human resources executives need to change their behavior in order to help the enterprise be more successful in crossing the chasm. After you finish reading and employing the book, I suggest that you also think about what other psychological perceptions will limit interest in and use of your new developments. You have more chasms to cross than simply the psychological orientation towards technology. You also have to dea

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Crossing the Chasm

    I feel that this book will be very helpful to someone that is in the market already. For someone that has no experience, this book doesn't really make a lot of sense. Although it will help us prepare for any problem that will be faced. When and if I do go into marketing, I would definetly read this book again. I would recomend this book for someone in the field of marketing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2001

    A great book for company startups.

    I am a team member in a company innovation initiative program and found this book very educational. The idea of learning from the innovator and early adopter markets ought to be explored and learned from vigorously before going into the early majority markets. It will put you in a better poisition than otherwise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

    I really liked the book. It was helpful in getting to know how marketing affects how successful a company will be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

    The book was not only interesting, but very informative. As a college student I have not been around the workplace to see how marketing really affects a company, but this book has opened my eyes to the truth about how a company must market its product to stay alive. The examples are great and I will definitely read this book over in the future!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2000

    Not recommended for any of my competitors...

    A brilliant analysis of the problems facing high-tech marketers. Why can¿t you leverage an early adopter success into a mainstream success? This book gives a very down-to-earth psycographic description of the different types of buyers a high-tech company faces at different stages of the technology adoption cycle. An excellent D-day strategy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    Best business book

    This book opened for me a world of business. As a technical person I've been always quite skeptical about this whole management / marketing / sales thing, my perception of it was 'much ado about nothing'. Out of necessity I had to start learning this area: starting my own high-tech start-up. This is the first business book that goes beyond shallow facts and obvious ideas, the author is extremely smart and knowledgeable person who has a great logic and sense of language, the whole thing reads like a fiction book. Must read for anyone starting his/her own business.

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