From Kansas to the land of Oz – From down on the farm in deepest Kansas, CEO Dorothy and her cow (the cow is the organisation – the wisdom of cows) had just circumnavigated the chasm trying to escape the mundane, they had won their game in the bowling alley and were suddenly caught up inside a tornado, in search of the marvellous land of Oz! “We’re not in Kansas any moo-re!”; the story so far in ‘crossing the chasm’ has already been told, the story now is very different! Geoffrey Moore’s sequel is focused on mapping the marketplace beyond the chasm, and through the subsequent stages of the ‘Technology Adoption Life Cycle’ (TALC) and on down the yellow brick road!
Playing to win in the bowling alley
Moore describes this as a period of niche-based adoption in advance of the general marketplace, driven by compelling customer needs and the willingness of vendors to craft niche-specific whole products. To play the bowling alley requires this niche marketing strategy that is highly customer-centric, focused on economic buyers. The bowling pins are set up so that when you get the strike you then move into the tornado. The head pin is the focus of the crossing-the-chasm effort, every other pin is then derived from the head pin breaking down by technology application on the right and industry segment on the left. Each application and segment niche needs to be completed before moving to the next. The reward in the bowling alley is to make money now and accumulate credits toward being declared the Gorilla in the tornado!
Surviving the tornado – From Cow to Gorilla!
Moore describes this as a period of mass-market adoption, when the general marketplace switches over to the new infrastructure paradigm. In order to survive the tornado, there is then a need to push in the opposite direction towards a mass-market strategy for deploying a common standard infrastructure. There are some warning signs from the buyers who are generally pragmatists, when they move, they move together, they will all pick the same vendor, and once they decide to move they will move as quickly as possible. Then let the tornado begin… virtually overnight, demand outstrips supply and there will be a huge backlog of customers. If you want to survive just ship the products and ignore the customer; no segmentation, no customisation, just ship and optimise the supply chain! The dominant market share leader will become the ‘gorilla’, the one or two strong competitors will become the ‘chimps’, and the rest just ‘monkeys’
On the main street and down the yellow brick road
Moore describes this as a period of aftermarket development, when the base infrastructure has been deployed and the goal now is to flesh out its potential. On the main street the forces push back again towards a customer-centric approach, focusing on specific adaptations of this infrastructure for added value through mass customisation in order to pave the way down the yellow brick road, which then eventually leads to the ‘end of life’ zone when the technology is then being replaced by newer technologies. Easier said than done, your customers hate you, your employees are burned out and demoralised, senior managers are great political fighters, and the bank want to talk! If you thought you had won, think again, life on the street is about to get tough. It is now time to sell and focus on end user niche markets and getting them to spend on added-value extensions to the product (+l marketing).
On the road to Oz, look out for the enemy, remain competitive, and occupy your position
The argument of this book and ‘Crossing the Chasm’ is that marketing strategy changes dramatically at each point on the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. Moore emphasises that in order to make this journey, organisations need to agree on where their products are on the TALC model and employ the appropriate strategy – Don’t segment in the early market – Segment to cross the chasm – Don’t Segment in the tornado, just ship – Segment on main street but not the same as in the bowling alley!
The road to Oz can be perilous and in particularly, Moore indicates that the economic effects of the tornado deconstructs and constructs the power structure in the market so rapidly that it very difficult to work out who are your friends and who are the enemy! In the bowling alley and tornado, eliminate the partners recruited pre-chasm (reduce the big fish from the deep water to medium fish), and then when on main street, find small fish for the shallow waters.
Within the newly forming market structure, companies must then compete for competitive advantage based upon their status within it (Are you a Gorilla, a Monkey or a Chimp?) and where on the TALC model? Product leadership moving to customer intimacy in the bowling alley, and then operational excellence in the tornado, and back to customer intimacy on main street. The company needs to position itself in the hierarchy of power and defend it against all challengers, by occupying the place between the system of purchase choices available, and the system of companies interacting to make the market.
Moore ends the book on a final point saying that moving effectively through the epic journey to Oz is the ultimate challenge for any organisation, demanding the best from its leaders who shift style through the different stages of the journey, and to get the organisation to “follow the yellow brick road…”