“Crossing the Chasm” and “The Early Majority”

After spending 250 Million dollars in development over a 10 year period, followed by a heavy investment in yearlong teaser campaign, Ford launched “Edsel” brand car in September 1957, with an assured air of overconfidence in creating a revolution — expected to make inroads into market share of competitors — Ford discontinued EDSEL production in 1960.

Sony introduced BETAMAX a technically superior recording format in 1975. By 1988, Betamax conceded defeat to VHS.

Apple’s NEWTON — considered technologically advanced and innovative on launch, but failed miserably.

The Touchpad was HP’s attempt to compete with Apple’s iPad with powerful processing capabilities, but could not succeed much. Similarly, JooJoo came out in 2009, gone in 2010.

The NOOK e-reader — a worthy competition for Amazon’s Kindle, launched in 2009 by Barnes & Noble is on life support. Kindle is growing from strength to strength.

iPod killed MPMan. Microsoft launched ZUNE to counter iPod and could not create a dent.

In 1980’s Every swiss brand was struggling from the onslaught of Japanese Quartz watches, but SWATCH creates history.

Facebook arrives, survives, dominates — Orkut, Myspace vanishes.

INTEL — a product not visible to consumer’s eyes — is a phenomenal success whereas their competitors struggled to create a brand awareness.

All the above companies had a lot of publicity to start with, spent a good amount of money on marketing, promotion, product worked reasonably well, but could not become a huge success.

Many products were moderately successful. Few products were highly successful. How did they get such huge success? How could they attract people on such a scale? Why could some products not sell in high volumes?

Geoffrey Moore explains “Crossing the chasm” as the difference between products being moderately and hugely successful. It is nothing but making the transition from an early market dominated by Innovators, early adopters to Early Majority.

(Image Courtesy:: The Internet)

If your product doesn’t cross the chasm and reach the Early Majority Segment(mainstream market) — you are missing out a huge fortune.

For crossing the chasm, the company has to transform from “Sales-Driven Company” to “User-Driven Company — Geoffrey Moore

Moore explains that the psychographic profile, needs, wants and desires of “Early Majority” segment is completely different from the “Early Adopters”. It is important to design your product/service with those in mind.

  • Early Majority segment users are pragmatists.
  • They are thoughtful people in accepting the change.
  • They are the one who has funds, disposable money to provide you with a huge fortune. They appreciate value for money.
  • They look for a new proven product to improve productivity, reduce efforts or cut down cost. (Early adopters may like to experiment — But Early majority has clear goals).
  • Seamless integration of the product with their existing life/process/routine — They will not buy, if everything is new in a product and not compatible with their past experiences.
  • They would like to refer from their own segment to buy the product/service. Nobody will buy without consulting others in his or her segment.
  • They prefer to buy from a category leader.
  • They are process-oriented people.
  • They are risk averse.
  • They need assurance that vendor would be around for years to decide on buying the product — They look for long-term commitment from vendors.
  • They would like a network of support services.
  • They are very loyal and once you have got their support, they will help you to keep succeeding and remain as a leader. They act as a “Threat of Barrier” for your competitors to enter into your market.

To attract “Early Majority” and convince them to use your product

  • The product should be easy to use, very intuitive (Ford Edsel’s transmission switch at the centre of steering wheel was a dampener)
  • It has to meet the basic needs (Synchronised calendar, phonebook and Pocket size — Apple newton failed to meet these requirements)
  • Seamless integration (Apple Newton had troubles with integration with PC)
  • Lesser cognitive load (No complex procedures, procedures which need to be recollected from memory) (Newton’s handwriting recognition software was a mess).
  • Marketing messages to Early Majority segment have to be completely different from “Early Adopters” segment.
  • The way of selling has to be different.
  • The product needs to be reliable, of higher quality and work smoothly. They do not prefer to face bugs. (Apple Newton’s
  • A habit-forming product enables them to use the product subconsciously reducing considerable cognitive load and freeing their mind. If they are habituated, resistance to change increases.

References — Contents from “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore.

Secular Humanist, Business Growth Consultant, Design Thinker, India. Reach me at mmshah8@gmail.com. or https://www.shahmohammed.com

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