“Crossing the Chasm” Passes Page 69 Test

Today, I put one of the stalwart titles in tech marketing — Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm — to the page 69 test. Said test is based upon Marshall McLuhan’s suggestion for choosing books to read: turn to page 69 of a book and, if you like it, read it.

And I’ll be dipped if I didn’t find, there on page 69, a concise definition of one of Hanson Marketing’s current consulting projects, for a software provider who’s seeking expansion into emerging, influential markets:

…One of the keys in breaking into a new market is to establish a strong word-of-mouth reputation among buyers… in the high-tech buying process, word of mouth is the number one source of information buyers reference, both at the beginning of the sale cycle, to establish their long lists, and at the end, when they are paring down their short ones.”

“…for word of mouth to develop in any particular marketplace, there must be a critical mass of informed viewers who… in exchanging views, reinforce the product’s or the company’s positioning. That’s how word of mouth spreads.”

“Winning over 1 or 2 customers in each of 5 or 10 different segments … will create no word of mouth effect. By contrast, winning 4 or 5 customers in 1 segment will create the desired effect.”

Word of mouth leverage, says Moore, thus arrives earlier for the segment-targeting company than for the sales-driven company.

Our client’s sales and marketing resources, limited though accomplished, will be put to best use by cultivating its reputation as subject matter expert in a short-list of target sectors. Emerging industry sectors are a great place to do this, and even allow experts to help shape best practices.

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