In the previous two blogs, we learned about the Technology Adoption Lifecycle, the 5 different market segments and the chasm between the first two markets. We then dug deeper into the characteristics of each market group in order to identify their behaviours. In this blog, we go over the third chapter of the book and discover strategies to cross the chasm.
The biggest danger for a company that is about to cross the chasm is negative cash flow. In this state, they have already absorbed the early adopters and are about to prove the pragmatists that their product is a risk worth taking. Simultaneously, the competition is retaliating with knock-off products while the venture funding may or may not be fading away. Some venture capitalists take advantage of this situation and discredit the company to drive the valuations down so that they can buy the rest of the company for much cheaper.
The chasm is, well, in other words, the daaaanger zooooone. The goal is to get to the mainstream market asap and such an act requires a good amount of aggression. Well, what can we do? The competition is disgruntled with our existence and the consumers don’t quite know how to trust us. The answer is simple. Time and energy must be spent on a single target, a niche market. Then we work out way horizontally to adjacent markets. The most important task is focusing on the targeted niche and realizing that it would be much easier to market to a small base than trying to sell to everybody. In this way, there is time to straighten the wrinkles and experiment with marketing methods.
Executives at tech companies don’t want to limit their product to niches simply because they are sales-driven and not necessarily market-driven. However, before we can start a big fire we need to have kindling and the niche markets are the kindling. These markets must be provided with the complete product or in other words, all that they need in order to accomplish their goals. Of course, a lot of effort is involved and this type of service cannot be offered to everyone. The point is that commitments must be made strategically, where we can cross the chasm.
Market-driven methodologies are most suitable. Targeting a niche market provides an environment where consumers are connected to one another and are able to talk with each other about the product, thus increasing the chances of spreading the product through their word of mouth. Obviously, this is not as likely to happen in a large market.
With one niche market taken. adjacent niche markets can be taken over and hence, the cross across the chasm.
Three companies worth studying who accomplished crossing the chasm are