firstname.lastname@example.org This is a follow up to my blog on Welcome to the Innovation Era and the book by Geoffrey A. Moore on Crossing the Chasm (marketing and selling disruptive products to mainstream customers). I contend that we have crossed that big scary chasm in the Smart Lighting industry. Let me explain…
First, wearing my academia hat, markets are not products, they are people who buy those products and those people have to be connected in order to be identified as a market. Got it? The Technology Adoption Life Cycle identifies the high-tech market into five (5) categories per the above image. In reading Mr. Moore’s book, I keep thinking about how we can apply his thinking to the fortuitous Smart Lighting industry now emerging. How big is that CHASM between the early markets and the mainstream markets…?
The initial / early market for a disruptive technology is made up primarily of innovators and early adopters. We start the marketing process by understanding how these customers think and more importantly why they buy. Only then can we re-position our business model and develop the marketing strategies to serve the new needs of our customers. The emphasis is on “the new needs”…
Innovators: The Techy Enthusiasts
1. They love and buy the new technologies for its own sake
2. They will spend hours to make it work even when the product is not ready for prime time
3. They make great critics because they truly care
4. They are the gatekeepers…those competent enough to do the early evaluation
5. Marketing must pay them heed. They will provide great feedback and will start to build support
Small is numbers (2-5% of the market), the solid state lighting (SSL) technology got complete buy-in from this group. The techy enthusiasts love Smart Lighting because lighting is not just about illumination anymore. The techies evaluated and appreciate the superiority of the new high-tech lighting sources over their traditional alternatives.
Early Adopters: The Visionaries
1. They are the “dreamers” that look to take quantum leaps forward
2. They love disruptive innovation….not looking for just improvements but breakthroughs
3. Visionaries really drive the high-tech industries
4. They alert the business community to pertinent technological advances
5. Easy to sell but very hard to please…dreamers always want more and can be unreasonable
6. They love test pilot projects “to go where no man has gone before”
7. Highly demanding, impatient, see windows of opportunity as fleeting, buy in early or not at all, instant gratification not fast enough anymore
Market size estimated at 13-15%, so it’s significant and is a valuable source to court in the Smart Lighting market. I believe the industry is managing the expectations of the visionaries by working on not only LEDs but OLEDs, plasma, white lasers, nanowires, graphene, IoT, connectivity, Li-Fi, on and on. Visionaries are the ones who gave Smart Lighting our first big break…FORTUITY! Being in the right place at the right time. The dream is alive and doing rather well.
The market starts to unfold as it should when the techies connect with the visionaries. They start to foresee an order-of-magnitude with the innovation that they see as achievable but we are talking about maybe 20% of the total available target market. Consumer acceptance, growth and business success can only happen when we cross the CHASM into the mainstream majority markets of 65-70%. If that does not happen, you have nothing. Obviously, things get a lot more complex when we deal with the dynamics of the mainstream markets. Stay tuned as I plan to cover that in my next blog: Technology Adoption Life Cycle Chasm, Part Two.