Do marketing to jump the chasm

It’s the end of the month, your thriving financial reports are on your desk. You’ve had a history of great months of revenue, of increased sales, great success overall. You run through your numbers, with the same diligence as the past months, but come up with a decreased cash-flow, less units that are being sold. You might try to find the answers in your accounting books, on the Profit & Loss statements, or even try to understand the reasoning of your sales force. The reality is that you are facing the chasm.

The term chasm was coined by Geoffrey A. Moore in 1990. Despite being more than 20 years old, some of the concepts from the theory are still latent in the modern business theory. A critique to the book has been its focus on high-tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, computers, mobile phones, etc. Nevertheless the theory can be easily applied to any market, since its objective is to achieve a sustained growth of the company.

 

The main idea behind “Crossing the Chasm” is to target your market and focus your efforts on niches. To achieve a better segmentation, Moore based its theory on ​Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Lifecycle. Rogers’ curve presents five different segments:

  • Innovators – constantly in search of new technologies.
  • Early adopters – search for new technologies hoping to solve their problems.
  • Early majority – waiting for technology to solve a problem or issue they have.
  • Late majority – they are not searching for a new technology, if it’s a proven solution, they’ll use it.
  • Laggards – they have to adopt the technology or the innovation because they are finding difficulties not using it.

Image credits to ​Idiology

 

To cross the chasm and take your startup to its growth stage, you can take into consideration these suggestions:

Marketing is essential

We usually leave the marketing department out of the loop of the business development. Moore’s focus on crossing the chasm is based on the ability of this department to reach out to customers and translate your product or services into a value proposition suited for your target market. For Moore, marketing is the group of people working directly with the customer, fitting the product and positioning the image of the brand in a relevant and useful context.

The marketing department ultimate goal is to position the product into the early majority segment – jumping over the chasm. For Moore: “Positioning is the pinnacle of marketing–but it’s also tricky. People hold an image of a product in their minds–and don’t like anyone else to manipulate that. So instead of trying to define it, find ways to make the product easier to buy.”

Understand where your customer buys

You need to create a relationship with your client to get over the chasm. Those Early Adopters and Innovators were willing to come to you and test your product. Now it’s your turn to go and look for them.

Direct sales is the preferred strategy for Moore, but this was pre-social media. I’m not saying that you should just disregard the one-on-one meetings. But if you are on a tight budget, you can reach some of those prospects with the correct automation tools. Once more, don’t just ignore going out there and meeting your clients, in this stage, your product needs to engage customers.

Don’t be afraid to adapt

Moore doesn’t urge you to change your product. To cross the chasm you need to adapt your message. A good tailored message, that

He provides a template to achieve this in two sentences:

For the (target customer),
who is dissatisfied with (current alternative in the market),

Our product is a (new product category)

that provides a (capability to solve target customer’s important problem).

Unlike (the product alternative),

we have assembled (key features that demonstrate you have the whole product, not just a piece of a puzzle).

You are not back to square one

The question that might arise from entering a new segment is: who do I know inside that target niche? You might already have contacts within your previous costumers, talk to them, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask them for a recommendation.

If you are uncertain that they can help, pinpoint the prospect that might have a larger benefit out of your product, that one customer that you can really help. Even if you have no strong contacts, it’s a good thing; you can start nurturing your network!

Is your tactic killing your strategy?

Tactics might become a tornado for companies, and by tornado I mean they can destroy the core foundation of your marketing efforts, overwhelming your strategic intents.

We all talk about a strategy, a plan, a road-map to success, but in reality, finding the right mix between tactics and strategy is easier said than done. Strategy is, like a business plan, once you wrote it, it might be rendered obsolete.

tornado

The problem begins when we stand on top of our managerial pedestal and forget that someone has to implement the plan. You gave the marching orders, but do you walk the walk? Can you make your crew to walk it with you?

Check the next 5 points to avoid the wreckage of overspreading you and your team. Do I have to begin with: Have your strategy written down! I’m not even going to bother with that point.

Establish your measurements

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” – established Edwards Deming.

When we create an outreach plan, a marketing plan, even a sales strategy, we rely on outcomes, numbers, data. This is the same as with Big Data (you can read my previous post on the Trap of Big Data here), identifying which are the important factors to measure is as important as your strategy. Kevin Hillstrom has great insights on how to work on your measurements on his blog.

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will vary, widely, and it all comes down to your strategy and where your customers are on the funnel (yes – I don’t believe the funnel is dead – go to point 3). If you don’t select which data means something, you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of numbers which might or might not mean anything.

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Communication, communication, communication

What makes a great manager is the ability to communicate clearly that plan to her team. My point here is that we tend to care much more about how we communicate to the outside audiences, and we don’t make the same efforts with our inside crowd. We allow the tactics to become the strategy for our team, because that is the tangible asset, those are the easily measurable items. We pound our team to have a strategic approach, but demand the tactics to deviate from the strategy, to generate immediate results.

If we are able to communicate what we want, how we wanted, and how far along our team can pivot from the immediate rewards/revenue, we’ll have a better and more motivated team.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Don’t forget the funnel

The funnel is dead they say? I disagree – I think the funnel is more alive than ever. Those who say its dead might base their opinion on the complexity of the current funnel.

Customers and clients don’t follow the traditional funnel anymore. They can get into our radar anywhere – maybe they no longer need to be ushered from lead to prospect, they may already be customers, but how to know? Using a CRM, tracking their interactions, rely on technology. If you don’t have the resources to do it – go back to your KPI’s those are will give you some information on your tracking efforts.

The sales funnel might look as neuronal network instead of just a funnel.

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where are your personas?

There are good and bad news if you already have your personas. The good part: if you have them, you already have them. You don’t need to invest more time or resources in figuring out who they are.

The bad news: Maybe your personas are inside someone’s drawer, or computer, or the Cloud. I’m all in favor of saving paper, and trees, but you have to have them where everyone who’s selling and doing marketing can see them.

An important point – update your personas often. Don’t let your personas age throughout the strategic plan. If you see that they are changing, they are using different media, they are moving to other websites, re-target and re-name them.

not idea

 Pivot and align – then align and pivot

When you have your strategy ready, try to stick to it. The danger of tactics will remain, it’s inevitable. Let’s remember D. Eisenhower’s words: “…plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. The mere action of telling your team the plan, establishing a course of action and adjusting it to the environment will help you to be better prepared to satisfy your customers, to fulfill their expectations. Remember, they are your business, that’s why we work so hard.

Plan

The fantasy of free media

There was a time in which you CEO’s and CMO’s used to tell their teams, let’s do social media, it’s cheap and effective! Wait, these are those times still. In my consulting I’ve come across several of these executives who are trying to cut Marketing expenses through the use of social media.

Are you saving money?

Are you saving money?

As digital marketers, we are to blame if this idea is still in place. We need to help understand our clients, bosses, and directors the enormous efforts required to create and maintain a social media campaign. Specially maintain. When do you think the “tweet nightmare” is going to explode? A Wednesday morning when your whole social media team is in the office? Of course not! It happens on a Friday night, where everyone is chilling at their place.

Of course it happened after hours!

Of course it happened after hours!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing experience being able to analyze and plan campaigns through digital channels, but some of your brands shouldn’t be on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or any other social media. Your efforts could be better spent and your ROI will maximize through email marketing, which produce 27% leads in average, according to the Hubspot.

Email is effective!

Email could work better than social media if you have the correct strategy.

As a marketing consultant I don’t go for flashy, I’d rather be effective. I don’t go for reach, I’d rather have quality. This might not be what you as a CEO or CMO want to hear, but as a digital marketer is my job to tell you that your strategy is wrong (if you have any in place). My next posts will go over the ten sins of brands and companies while in social media. Next week we start with Facebook.

Read my previous posts!

Read my previous posts!