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Crossing the Chasm Best Practices

The chasm is the space between the vision of the innovative product or service and the early segment of the market that will purchase the product. Crossing the Chasm involves taking steps in order to reconcile the discrepancy between the visionaries’ desire to be cutting edge in order to attain a competitive advantage and the desire of the early market to have an improved version of an existing product or service.

More about Crossing the Chasm

Description of Crossing the Chasm

In order to cross the chasm, three steps should be taken:

Step 1: Redefine customer needs

Consider the changes that need to be made to the ideas that were pitched to the stakeholders who bought into the idea so that they capture the attention of the market. While the ideas initially presented to stakeholders might involve revolutionizing a product or service, in general, the mainstream market will usually desire something that is an improvement over what currently exists.

Step 2: Drive word of mouth

In order to locate the mainstream market, it is important to make good network connections and communicate the message about what is being created. However, this step creates a roadblock because in order to make connections within the mainstream market, there needs to be a connection to it. Thus, it becomes critical to target the right segment of the market.

Step 3: Target the right niche

Typically, the best segment of the market to use as a starting target is the largest portion. By focusing on meeting their needs first, the organization will generate the most economic value because their needs generally overlap with more discrete segments. Applying the word of mouth generated in the previous step to the niche will give the organization momentum to move to the next segment.

Being able to cross the chasm successfully involves knowing which segment of the market you are dealing with to target your message appropriately.

Early Adopters- This group of consumers is eager to try any new technology or product. This is an important group to target because they are the most willing to try new things.

Visionaries- This segment of the market does not just pursue innovations for hobby, they make purchasing decisions based on their intuitions. They are able to understand the benefits of new technology.

Pragmatists-This group is wary of fads. However, they will purchase a product if they believe it to be useful.

Conservatives- This customer segment consists of buyers from more well-established organizations or products that have been on the market for a while

Skeptics- This group is typically not interested in purchasing innovative products or services. They might move into other segments of the market at different time points, but generally for personal or economic reasons are not interested in new technologies.

Praxie's Online Crossing the Chasm Tools & Templates

Praxie’s online Crossing the Chasm tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Get started with our Crossing the Chasm template.  

How to use it:

  1. Review model and keep in mind your various segments of the market. 
  2. Complete the chart to identify your own target segments for each phase of the Chasm.  
  3. Define strategies to market, sell to, and engage each segment. 
  4. Create an action plan based on the different market segments and key strategies you identified for each phase of the Chasm model. 

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