In the early 90’s Geoffrey Moore wrote ‘’Crossing the Chasm’ ’, a pillar in the marketing of technologies based on the theory of diffusion of innovations by Everett Rogers. It soon became the marketing bible for most IT companies.
Most, if not all, IT companies were treating their first few customers as innovators and the ones following them as early adopters. Then came the dreaded chasm. Crossing the chasm meant a live or die situation. If you couldn’t get the early majority of the mass market on board, you wouldn’t make it. Your marketing strategy had to be in tune with where your solution was on the innovation adoption curve otherwise your company risked death by chasm.
This was, by far, the best marketing approach in the 90’s and early 21st century when most applications or technological products were true innovations in the sense that Rogers wrote about. Rogers’ definition of an innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption.
Today a majority of applications or technological products are a variation or a better mouse trap version of something that already exists. Therefore they are often not perceived as new by the customer.
The innovation would be then be perceived by customers to be the category of software or product your specific solution falls under and not the new offering.
Why should you care? Because the customers you will be targeting with your brand new application or product may very well not be innovators or early adopters. They may have an early or late majority profile or even a laggard profile.
Hence you won’t need to cross the chasm at all. This little truth will significantly impact how you market your solution off the bat. In fact, it should seriously impact how you develop your application or product. That however, is a story for another post.