Not knowing and understanding your users is like taking a shot in the dark. It is like making a guess or estimate with very little or no assurance as to its accuracy. To successfully “cross the chasm”, you need to apply user segmentation strategy. Geoffrey A. Moore talks more about it in the bestseller book “Crossing the Chasm”.
“Crossing the chasm” refers to the pattern of technology adoption. The cycle of how we adopt new technologies can be applied to almost any product or startup. Simply, it is achieving a place where your product reached Early Majority and it is not only used by Innovators and Early Adopters.
“Chasm” is a metaphor for the gap between those two groups. To successfully achieve that, you need to understand each group, their habits, and needs. What Innovators are seeking and looking for in your product, can be very different from what will motivate the Early Majority.
Early majority and late majority plays it safe, waiting for reviews and they expect to have a fully-functional product. Innovators and early adopters will overlook small flaws or bugs simply because they’re excited to be trying something new. Kickstarter is a perfect example of forgiveness of Innovators and Early Adopters. Despite the hundreds of failed product launches, people still keep backing up the projects.
If you have a clearly defined target group, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how, where and when to reach it. You can start very broad with categories like millennials, but you’ll achieve the best results when you figure out the details.
Don’t be afraid to be very specific. People who are not in your target audience can still buy from you, but they’re not your top focus and they’re not the user around who you want to model your marketing strategy.
Let’s be honest – your company is probably not big enough to supply the entire market. That’s why you need to know which piece of cake, sorry, market, you’re going after.
Marketing segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves dividing a broad target market into subsets of consumers who have common needs, wants, demand, or characteristics.Pavel Malos, UXDesign
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of wishing to go after the whole world and in that model, they want to segment the whole world. Yea right, like everybody in the world is going to want/need/buy your product.
So, let’s get to the point. How will you segment the market?
According to Geoffrey A. Moore, this is the list of issues around go-to-market plans are built, each of which incorporates a chasm-crossing factor:
- Target customer
- A compelling reason to buy
- Whole product
- Partners and allies
- Next target customer
Those factors are discussed through many scenarios until a whole team commits to one – and only one – target. You’re probably thinking, but can’t there be more targets?
“Just as you cannot hit two balls with one bat swing, hit two birds with one stone, or brush your teeth and your hair at the same time, so you cannot cross the chasm in two places. We’ve already discussed this, of course, but trust me, one cannot make this point too often.” (Crossing the Chasm, 73.)
There are 6 types of user segmentations that can help you determine your target. They are: behavioural segmentation, psychographic, demographic, geographic, occasional and cultural.
Behavioral segmentation is simply put, how users behave. What is their attitude toward your product? What do they know about it?
How loyal are they to your product? How often they use it?
Behavioural segmentation is a great place to start when you’re segmenting your market. Let’s take a look at protein bar, for example. Which factors will be important for you?
- Are you looking at the price?
- Do you read the calories, protein percentage?
- Are you trying to stay fit or you’re just hungry?
Each one of these segment is going to be different and require a different message and strategy. Where are your customers? Are they in the gym, local grocery shop or in the subway? Depending on your audience, you’ll adapt the message and the place where you’re going to display it.
This segmentation is done by studying the habits, interests and the opinions of your target audience.
- You want to take a look at the lifestyle of your audience.
- How are they spending their free time?
- What shows are they watching?
- Which social media networks are they using?
- What are their social habits, how do they communicate with friends?
- What is their lifestyle?
Apple built a brand for a specific audience looking for more than just a “phone” or “laptop”. They applies the strategy of studying the market and then targeting specific user experiences. Apple users are looking for well designed, premium product that is also a lifestyle symbol.
If you’re launching ads online, you’ve probably gone through the process of targeting. The most basic targeting options usually rely on demographic characteristics. Those are things like age, gender, occupation, education level and more…
You’ll need more factors to pinpoint your final target, but demographic segmentation can help you narrow your search.
This segmentation is based around geographic areas like countries, regions, cities or postal codes. Same like with demographic, most of the mobile ad networks include geographic targeting. You can decide do you want to target a specific country, region, continent or more, depending on options on the ad platform.
Occasional segmentation relies on being in the right place at the right moment. Is your product something people will use occasionally? Human beings are creatures of habits. In Google Keyword Planner, you can see how often a certain keyword is being googled. We can take a look at two very seasonal terms: “school bag” and “air conditioning”. Term “school bag” peaked in July and August, being searched 3x more than in April. And the term “air conditioning” was googled 4x more in July than in February!
Coca-Cola focused on one simple problem: being thirsty. Coke’s campaigns don’t care if you’re man, woman, living in USA or Peru, are you poor or rich. All they care about is your thirst, and they have a solution.
Understanding the culture can give you additional insight to certain groups of customers and their behavior. Certain cultures will require a specific approach. A culture can be small and reflect a particular region, but it can be nationwide too.
What to remember when segmenting?
Don’t go too narrow with market segments. The only right strategy is to take a “big fish, small pond” approach. (Crossing the Chasm, 52.)
If you realize that you have two of very similar segments, you could combine them all bigger one.
For startups, it’s not only important to measure the quantity, but also the quality of the potential segment.
For all these reasons—for whole product leverage, for word-of-mouth effectiveness, and for perceived market leadership—it is critical that, when crossing the chasm, you focus exclusively on achieving a dominant position in one or two narrowly bounded market segments. If you do not commit fully to this goal, the odds are overwhelmingly against your ever arriving in the mainstream market.Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm
How to start with user segmentation?
Have a persona and use the persona as a target customer who has a compelling reason to buy. Engage with that persona.
Let’s think of a persona for a fictional exercise app:
- Demographics: Female, age group 25-45
- Psychographics: loves exercise & healthy living
- Behavior: Uses the fitness app every day
Having a one clearly defined persona can help you in the time you might feel unsure about new features or updates. You don’t have to think about whole set of users, but only about Lucy.
Personalization is increasingly important and it can decide the long-term success of your brand, and it is also one of the best ways to give your users what they need.
Continue this process as you get more data and rethink your user segmentation. As your product changes, so do your target audience changes. To cross the chasm, you’ll need to make changes.
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