Do you have a ‘chasm’ in your market to get over?

Often there are differences in how readily customers will adopt your product. Early adopters may exhibit very different purchase criteria than later adopters. If so, you have a ‘chasm’.

The chasm concept comes from Geoffrey Moore’s ground breaking book, Crossing The Chasm, and normally applies to the adoption of high-tech products. But more broadly, the concept can be used to think about how your value proposition may need to evolve in order to appeal to the more reluctant adopters of your product- who typically make up the majority of your potential market. If adoption of your product has stalled, you may have a chasm to cross. Here are three things to ponder:


Are some customers anxious for the change my product will bring, while others are relatively satisfied with the status quo? (Gather input from a broad cross-section of the market- not just enthusiasts. Here, qualitative research techniques work best.)


What further value/refinement/relevance might be needed to make the product appealing to those less-anxious customers? (e.g.: a different business model; additional features; better integration with customer’s existing workflow; etc.)


How can we test these assumptions? (Make the proposed ‘solution’ as tangible as possible, e.g. via rapid prototyping, and engage non-early-adopters directly to assess its value to them.)

However tightly circumscribed, your market is probably not monolithic. Don’t be deceived by the enthusiasm of early adopters. Find those who are less-anxious in order to understand how what they value may differ.