Geoffrey Moore's book, Crossing The Chasm is a staple in every entrepreneur's library. It is about getting a product across the gap between the early adopters and the early majority. Its called a chasm because the needs of the market segments are so different.In the book, the author identifies 4 major groups of consumers:
Early majority is a large and critical segment. Members of this group are pragmatists, with the need to solve particular problems. They will only adopt products that they see have been successful for others they know. For the Early Majority, it is more important that they know the product works for someone similar to them, than to have multiple features.
Late majority is a segment shares the same size and need as the Early Majority. However, the difference is that this group is more risk averse and slower to adopt. They will only make a purchase after the Early Majority has worked out the bugs, and the product has proven to work consistently.
Laggards is a small segment characterized by individuals who will only use a product if the status quo inhibits their progress. These days, very few technologies get so well established and become so important that the laggards ever adopt them.
“If the goal of visionaries is to take a quantum leap forward, the goal of pragmatists is to make a percentage improvement — incremental, measurable, predictable progress.”- Geoffrey Moore
The key takeaway from Crossing The Chasm is to pick a target market in the early majority that is small enough that you can quickly become the dominant player. The target market should allow you to expand into other segments or verticals. It is important to focus on a specific market that you can dominate.