This is a continuation of a series of blogs on subjects discussed in Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.
In the previous blog, we realized how to go about making a decision on which market segment to dominate. Such a low data high-risk decision required an intuitive approach that consisted of creating customer characterizations and a rating system that distinguished which market segment is best to attack.
To purchase any product, the buyer needs a compelling reason so our product needs to be superior in comparison to its alternatives. This becomes the main goal when targeting a niche market so much so that we ought to establish a monopoly.
As with any marketing campaign, there will be slight differences between the promise and the deliverable product. To ensure smooth market domination, we ought to pay attention to the completeness of our product: The Whole Product Model. Moore describes the product completeness as an onion-layered circle where there are 4 layers:
- Generic product: the general features to be shipped
- Expected product: the minimum functionalities expected from the product
- Augmented product: the product with the highest possibility of meeting user needs and expectations
- Potential product: the product with high growth potential as feature additions are deliverable
The visionaries and enthusiasts, at a minimum, will need product support. But the pragmatists evaluate and buy whole products. Meeting their demands is key to negotiating the chasm between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority. And so, we ought to pay attention to whole product planning.
Whole Product Planning is a roadmap to jump from each layer of the whole product model to achieve a more complete version of the product. To have a more complete product, we have to start with the end-user and work our way backwards to see what else our product needs to bring a fully complete user experience. Can we have additional integrable software, more hardware, installation management tool, training or guidelines?
The need for integration of additional features calls for partnerships.
Partnerships are tricky, especially in managing cultural clashes of two companies. However, to be successful it is important to evaluate the alliance in a tactical way such that the whole product facilitates success for all companies. An example could be when SAP, HP and Anderson Consulting joined forces to replace IBM as the vendor of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
The whole product needs to be reviewed from each partner’s perspective such that each vendor wins fairly. No one should feel ripped off after the product’s success in order to maintain the leadership in the market.
In the process of partnerships, it is important to establish trust with specific individuals as companies are always suspicious of one another.
In the end, the most difficult partner to manage in the forces is our own company. It’s important to refer to our customers as a reflection point as they are our truest allies.