Crossing the Chasm

Growing and marketing a technology company is different than other industries. New technology often is misunderstood, mischaracterized, or simply too technical for most people to understand. How do you grow a technology business like Salesforce or YouTube?

In Crossing the Chasm Geoffrey Moore discusses how the notion of the hockey stick growth, the up and to the right chart, is a misrepresentation of how technology companies have to grow. There are distinct buying personas and moving from one group to the other is not so simple. There is a “chasm” or gap between each buying group that requires careful planning and flawless execution to overcome.

Financial Glass - Growth Chart - Hockey Stick Graph

The distinct buyer personas are:

  1. Innovators or Technology Enthusiasts
  2. Early Adopters or Visionaries
  3. Early Majority or Pragmatists
  4. Late Majority or Conservatives
  5. Laggards

Each group requires different levels of support, messaging, and are making purchasing decisions for different reasons.

The first two groups care more about the technology and what the future will look like with it. These two groups communicate and are able to support you as you move from one distinct buying group to the next.

Financial Glass - Crossing the Chasm Graph

The chasm really exists between the second and third group. This is the biggest challenge for the success of a technology company. The early market cares about technology while the early majority cares about pragmatism and gaining a competitive advantage in the market. The early majority cares less about the technology and more about the business problems that the technology can solve. Bridging this divide is crucial to the success of any technology company.

There are nuances to crossing the chasm as a whether you are a consumer technology company or a business technology company makes a difference. The methodology is mainly targeted at B2B technology companies there are obvious overlaps for B2C technology companies. Moore addresses consumer-focused tech companies in more detail in the appendix.

Financial Glass - Iguana Jumping Across building - crossing the chasm

I highly encourage anyone involved in technology to read this book as it breaks down different market segments and how companies must change as they tackle these segments. You’ll notice the buyer profiles of your customers and how your organization is adapting at each stage.

Another reason to read this book is that Gartner, one of the largest analyst advisory firms (I’m sure amongst others) utilize this methodology with their clients.

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