This is a continuation of my series of blogs on one of the most popular books in the product management field, “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore. In the previous blog, we learned about 5 different market segments who by their definitions had gaps between them. The biggest gap was between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority, called a chasm, which is identified as the major reasoning behind a product’s failure to be adopted.
Jumping from each market group to another is not necessarily a swift and continuous movement. For Early Adopters, there is a market, then with the chasm, there is no market at all, then there is a market for Early Majority. It’s important to understand this phenomenon in order to revise the marketing plan for each market segment’s needs.
As we learned, the first markets to play with a new high tech product are the Innovators and Earlier Adopters. Tech enthusiasts are nerds at heart and enjoy technology. They are willing to step out of their comfort zone and over the product’s bugs and glitches just to have the newest and the latest. In return for their compensation, they want companies to be frank with them. Tech support is a must and they would only acquire the product at a low cost.
Regardless of their demands, Innovators are, well, innovators. They drive the product forward with their feedback so it’s important to provide them with the product or pieces of product at a large discount. Direct response advertising is the most effective method of marketing for this market segment.
On the other hand, we have the Early Adopters who are identified as “visionaries”. Highly driven, they are seeking a pivot in their industry and need a game-changer and so, they are willing to put their hands deep in their pockets and spend what is needed. In return, their high expectations must be managed very well.
Visionaries usually find you instead of you finding them. Engagement is key in such a scenario as visionaries are driven by a dream. Attending conferences and appearing in blogs that they read are ways to be found. A dreamy person tends to have high expectations as well. Therefore, it is important to have a sales team that is capable of visualizing the possibilities in the new product to the visionary while the rest of the company is accommodating their dream. False promises for visionaries are dangerous but enthusiasm must be kept up.
Out of all the early market segments, the real financial success of the product is all based on selling to the Early Majority. This market segment is known for their practicality and pragmatism, so much so, that they want to see your product being used by the rest of the Majority. That’s the catch22 since your product needs to be used by them before they use it. The important thing to note is that once they adopt a product, they stay very loyal and even help you succeed even further. This is proven as they standardize your product across their enterprises and institutions.
The Late Majority are the conservatives because they do not enjoy disruptors. The traditions for them are more important than improvements, thus if something works they stick to it. Despite the fact that they are difficult in adopting new technologies, they inevitably give up the resistance and make the change, just for the sake up of keeping up with the entire planet. They are last to buy in a cycle and they like to purchase for lower prices. Bear in mind, lower prices come at a lower quality which could in return spark a negative opinion about the product.
Because the Late Majority is less empathized with by tech enterprises, their potential is often underestimated. They do, in fact, own one-third of the whole market so bundling products together and selling them packages at a discounted rate gives the product the life support that it otherwise would not have.
In the whole Majority section, the pragmatists help with the development. They don’t need the first or the best but they do need a product that gets the job done. After the technology is established, it needs to market to the conservatives as an improvement or an upgrading to already existing infrastructure or processes.
The skeptics are the Laggards who are willing to even block the technology product from advancing. The goal of interacting with this market is not just to prove your product but to gain credibility as the skeptics hang onto failed promises. Your marketing needs to be mindful and diligent in the message they portray for your product.
Each market segment would willingly consult one another despite the gaps between them and regardless of the chasm, the Early Majority would follow the footsteps of the visionaries.