Chasm Crossing - was Good Manuals - Why Rare.

Subject: Chasm Crossing - was Good Manuals - Why Rare.
From: Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- spsi -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 15:52:54 -0500

Thomas Murrell mused:
It would seem that some of the software providers are looking at the same
need: to be able to meet the needs of the non-technical market that will
only buy their products if they
come either pre-loaded or very easy to install.

If this is an actual trend, and not a segment idiosyncrasy or temporary
market exigency, wouldn't that bode well for the writer who can understand
complicated systems and software enough to explain them more simply?
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Jim Shaeffer comments:
The trend you have spotted is nothing new. Geoffrey A. Moore described it in
his 1991 book, _Crossing the Chasm_. Although specific examples from the
book are dated, the patterns it exposes are not.

From the Chasm Group's web site (http://www.chasmgroup.com):
"_Crossing the Chasm_ demonstrated the existence of distinct marketing
challenges for each market segment in the life cycle of new technology-based
products. A significant gulf, the "chasm", exists between the market made up
of early adopters, and the markets of more pragmatic buyers. To cross the
chasm, a product team must identify the needs of pragmatic buyers and
deliver a "whole product" that more than meets those needs."

Early adopters put up with a lot of hassle because they are buying a change
agent and forsee a big payoff because it will give them the lead on the
competition.
Later customers will buy the same product only when they see it as a
productivity tool with a reasonable cost/benefit trade-off that also has
good support.
There is another gap, not a chasm though, that must be crossed when a
technology based product becomes a mass consumer item.

Moore's book is about marketing the same product to these different types of
user, not about technology, but it can sure give us techies a perspective on
things.

Jim Shaeffer
jims -at- spsi -dot- com





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