Crossing the Chasm

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Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers
Book cover
AuthorGeoffrey A. Moore
CountryUnited States
SubjectMarketing high-tech products
PublisherHarper Business Essentials
Publication date
Published in English
Media typeBook

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers or simply Crossing the Chasm (1991, revised 1999 and 2014), is a marketing book by Geoffrey A. Moore that focuses on the specifics of marketing high tech products during the early start up period.


"A compelling use case that will create pull, a whole product that nails the use case, and a word-of-mouth community that can communicate and reinforce the marketing message."

—Geoffrey Moore on the three dependencies for 'crossing the chasm'.[1]

Moore begins with the diffusion of innovations theory from Everett Rogers, and argues there is a chasm between the early adopters of the product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists). Moore believes visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations, and he attempts to explore those differences and suggest techniques to successfully cross the "chasm," including choosing a target market, understanding the whole product concept, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most appropriate distribution channel and pricing.

Crossing the Chasm is closely related to the technology adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority). This is the chasm that he refers to. If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which enough momentum builds, then the product becomes a de facto standard. That is, by creating a complete solution for one intractable problem in one business vertical before building out services in adjacent verticals and expanding on from there. However, Moore's theories are only applicable for disruptive or discontinuous innovations in a B2B marketplace. Adoption of continuous innovations (that do not force a significant change of behavior by the customer) are still best described by the original technology adoption lifecycle.


Pre-chasm, in technology entrepreneurship, describes the phase prior to Crossing the Chasm that focuses on the specifics of marketing high-tech products during the early start-up period. Pre-chasm was suggested as an extension to Moore's model, arguing that the phase prior to the "chasm" is left unintended and that it, driven by technology commoditization and lean startup principles, requires an ambidextrous[clarification needed] approach to product development alongside marketing to achieve product-market fit.[2]

Legacy and Reception[edit]

The fundamental theories in Crossing the Chasm, including the concept of a gap or chasm between the early adopters of a product and the mainstream early majority, were developed in the late 1980s by Lee James, Bert Desmond, and Warren Schirtzinger, consultants working at Regis McKenna, Inc.[3]

Moore and his publisher originally thought that the book would sell around 5,000 copies. By 2002, ten years after the first publication, more than 300,000 copies had been sold. Moore attributes this to word-of-mouth marketing, resonating initially with high-tech managers, then to engineers, venture capitalists and finally business schools.[4]

In 2006, Tom Byers, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, described it as "still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later".[5] The book's success has led to a series of follow-up books including Inside the Tornado, Living on the Fault Line, The Chasm Companion and a consulting company, The Chasm Group.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Casado, Martin (8 Jan 2019). "Crossing the Chasm, in Practice". A16Z. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021.
  2. ^ "What's in a Startup Methodology?". Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Meet the original creators of the chasm concept". Retrieved 1 Nov 2021.
  4. ^ Moore, Geoffrey (April 2002). "Author Essay by Geoffrey Moore". HarperCollins. Retrieved 2007-07-11. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Educators Corner: Tom Byers, Stanford Technology Ventures Program - Ten Enduring Success Factors for High Technology Entrepreneurship

External links[edit]