Crossing the Chasm
By Geoffrey A. Moore (1991)
Crossing The Chasm 1
Author: Andre Kearns
Key Introductory Concept
The diffusion of innovations theory argues there is a chasm between the early adopters of the product (the
technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists).
The Technology Adoption Lifecycle
Description of Adopter Segments
Crossing The Chasm 2
The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early
majority), “the chasm”.
Innovators Technology enthusiasts. They are keen to be the first to try out a new technology, but they
represent just a sliver of the model.
Early Adopters Visionaries. Somewhat keen to try out new technologies. They appreciate a product's
potential to give their organization a competitive advantage. They represent a larger slice of the
market, and they tend to have much more influence in an organization than do Innovators.
Early Majority Pragmatists. Represent the bulk of the market. They tend to buy in to new technologies only
after they perceive solid references and safety measures that guard against potential failures.
Securing the pragmatist buyer is the most important marketing challenge.
Late Majority Conservatives. Very large portion of the market. They are extremely cautious when buying
into a new technology. They want to see proof of results before they will accept a product's
Laggards Skeptics. Would prefer to avoid new technologies altogether. They will buy only if they really
Examples that popped into my head while reading
Successfully Crossed The “Chasm” Didn’t Successfully Cross
PCs Pen Based PC
Palm Pilot Newton
WordPerfect Microsoft Word
iPod Rio PMP300
Crossing The Chasm 3
Difference between Early and Mainstream customers
Visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations
Market Type Early Mainstream
Adopter Type Enthusiasts Pragmatists
Characteristics Intuitive Analytic
Support Revolution Support Evolution
Break away from the pack Stay with the herd
Follow their own dictates Consult with their colleagues
Take risks Manage risks
Motivated by future opportunities Motivated by present problems
See what is possible Pursue what is probable
Key Concepts for Helping Companies Cross the Chasm
Crossing The Chasm 4
Strategies for successfully cross the "chasm," from early to mainstream includes choosing a target market,
understanding the whole product concept, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most
appropriate distribution channel and pricing, etc.
Target the Point of Attack Secure the beachhead (D-Day analogy)
Segment the market into target niches
Focus on one target niche at a time
Dominate target niches, become market leader
Start moving to adjacent niches
Assemble the Invasion Force Whole Product Concept
Partners and Allies
Define the Battle Create the competition (Pragmatists always looking for options)
Launch the invasion Sales and Marketing strategy
Crossing The Chasm 5