In most instances, ideas are deemed as being unique, individual philosophical thoughts, whereas transitioning a single idea into fluid fruition is often is more laborious. When entrepreneurs idealize the concept for a new product or concept, the stages that exist between the idea phase and the market phase has the potential to disrupt free-flowing innovation. However, this should not be viewed as a deterrent, but rather a cautionary phase that allows the entrepreneur to gain a firm understanding that while they are the driving force of the new idea, product or concept, it is ultimately the consumer’s behavior that determines how the end result is presented on the market. In Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Consumers”, Moore highlights the relationship between entrepreneur and consumer how they both affect innovation.
At the time Moore drafted the version of his book being reviewed for this assignment, Moore indicated that automotive technology had advanced to such a point that major car manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all had prototype models of electric cars. With that being said, Moore challenged his audience to answer the question as to when they would purchase one. However, before answering this question, Moore reminds his readers that they can only honestly answer this question when they question their own ability to accept the idea of a new product (7).
Although initially drafted this text with the growing software companies in mind, principles discussed in the text apply to the larger issue of how entrepreneurs can demonstrate the need for their next innovative product or service in a desired niche market. For the context of this review, a market will be considered current or future customers who share the common need or desire for a product or service and often times may consult one another to determine how to get the most for the money that is being spent.
Moore goes to great lengths to discuss the concept of the “Technology Adoption Life Cycle” which describes stages in which, in spite of its nomenclature, is not only relegated to the technology industry (10). In reality, this tenet discusses how consumers (users) of new products or services are willing to not only understand, but ultimately accept and utilize these products or services. Because of this, it is extremely important that both entrepreneurs and consumers appreciate and facilitate interdependent relationships where the consumers’ needs will drive not only what new product or service is needed but also provide consumers with an opportunity to be “involved” in the innovation process.
Prior to creating a new product or service, entrepreneurs must have a firm grasp on who will benefit from the inclusion of new innovative practices. According to Moore, “by going deeper into the dynamics of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, [it is possible] to correct the flaws in the model and provide a secure basis for marketing strategy development” (19). When considered as a basis for a marketing model, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, psychographics, understanding and classifying people based on one’s attitude, goals and behaviors with regards to marketing research, can assist an entrepreneur to determine what real potential exists in moving forward with new product innovation (Moore 24).
Moore effectively articulates that consumers of the newly devised product or service are the first people to appreciate the unnoticed nuances that went into the product development life cycle. By having a pulse on what is, and more importantly, what is not currently available in the marketplace, consumers play a pivotal indirect (i.e. hands off) approach to driving how entrepreneurs approach and refine how they develop and ultimately release their next greatest innovation (23).
Subsequently, this will require that entrepreneurs disregard traditional sales attempts to drive product appeal in order to place more focus on what is needed to create a lasting brand by not only thinking as a product developer but also as a consumer to anticipate future market needs and wants. According to Moore (43), neglecting to revisit sales pitches may cause entrepreneurs to limit their scope of untapped customers in the market. Entrepreneurs must be reminded that increasing customer share is not completely inclusive of the traditional sales pitch. However, selling to both the current and future consumer base must be viewed in the context of entrepreneurs always being keenly aware that sales opportunities are constantly available and making the decision to redefine the approaches as to how to attract new customers will continuously drive innovation and create the demand for better product or service improvement.
Insights coined in the text highlight four principles: (1) innovative entrepreneurs can get ahead of their competition by taking the risk of creating new products and services consumers will embrace, (2) consumers are willing to take a chance on a new innovative idea if it meets their needs, (3) consumers are capable of stepping outside the boundaries of the ‘norm’ to take calculated risks and (4) entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities to step outside of their comfort zone and embrace the challenges that are associated with creating and ultimately presenting innovative ideas and concepts to consumers. As a result, these concepts can be seen as offering a fresh new perspective on how to approach innovation and sales depending on the audience who reads the text.
On one hand, experienced professionals who are accustomed to embracing industry changes in highly competitive markets understand that in the 21st century business arena, maintaining a mindset that can be deemed as “status quo” will not contribute to an entrepreneur successfully growing a business. Additionally, entrepreneurs must be engaged with their consumer and/or customer base in ways that consumers feel free to effectively communicate and actively participate in future development projects. Entrepreneurs should be encouraged not to read Moore’s text with a blind eye and treat what is being read as information that’s been heard before. Rather, these individuals should be willing to modify current business models and practices, as needed, to effectively market new business ideas to a broad reaching consumer base. On the other hand, new entrepreneurs can use Moore’s text as a model to assist with laying a foundation as to how they plan to approach future business growth in their respective business sector(s).
Information presented is both useful and pragmatic. Most individuals that not only desire to become entrepreneurs but ultimately decide they want to become a lasting brand in their respective targeted niche market can benefit from the basic principles presented by Moore. To grow one’s business to a point that it is viable enough “to enter the mainstream market is an act of aggression” (Moore 48). As an entrepreneur, one of the most difficult tasks is to position oneself to think as both an entrepreneur and a consumer requires a “balancing act” that drives both new product innovation and how the new product will penetrate the market to become a lasting brand in an ever-increasing and ever-changing market.
Moore, Geoffrey A. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers. Revised ed., Harper Collins, 1998.