Category Early Market The Chasm Mainstream Market
1 Adopter Type Innovators Early Adopters Early Majority Late Majority Laggards
2 Psychographic Technologists Visionaries Pragmatists Conservative Skeptics
3 % of Population 2.5 13.5 34 34 16
4 What Are They Doing? Looking for new tech. Making their own tech. Looking for & testing new novel alternative solutions. Talking about problem. Going about their business. Doing what they've always done, in the manner they've always done it.
5 General Profile 1.The first to try out new ideas and innovations
2. Idiosyncratic
3. Not necessarily popular within a social system, and often seen as an outsider
4. Able to bring innovation into their system
5. Well versed and appreciative of technical aspects
6. Will put up with substantial bugs
7.Willing to work alongside others to develop technology
1. Want to break with the old way of doing things but can be too ahead of the curve
2. Will be open to evangelizing, and providing feedback
3. Will put up with bugs
4. Some EA will not share with others as it reduces their advantage
5. Considerable domain knowledge
6. 2 main types of early adopters
7. Difference between them is one type is well connected, an opinion leader, large network
8. May embrace new tech but underlying reasons are not technological
1. There are smaller chasms between each group, but this is the big one
2. Chasm exists because of the lack of diffusion of innovation from the Early Adopters to the Early Majority
3. There is no Chasm if reasonably mature market, mature product category, mature product design, and your solution is a clone or mild continuous innovation of established products
1. Herd mentality
2. Want to keep up with the Jones
3. Network is niche specific and vertical
4. Want evolution, not revolution
5. Incremental improvements
6. Willing to try something relatively new that has obtained traction
7. Practical, weigh pros and cons
8. Have decent insight into the problem, can be shown where other solutions are falling short
1. Herd Mentality
2. Don’t want to fall behind, ie everyone else is doing it I should do it
3. Demanding, want fully formed proven Whole Product
4. Opinion follower
5. Will need to educate about the problem
1. New?
2. Over their dead body
3. Will be a hindrance to adoption by others
4. Will note the gap between marketing mumbo jumbo and actual deliverables
5. Probably having a field day with startups then
6. Present company included
6 Social System: Adoption Diffuses Through Groups & Interpersonal Networks
7 They Look To The Future Near-Future Present Near-Past Past
8 Risk Appetite High Fairly-High Fairly-Low Low None
9 Customer Awareness Level Solution-Aware Solution-Aware Problem-Aware Unaware Blissfully-Unaware
10 Market Position NA New Player Key Player Market Leader Only Player
11 Organization Priority Product Leadership Product Leadership Customer Intimacy / Product Leadership Product Leadership / Customer Intimacy / Operational Excellence Get on another lifecycle
12 Whole Product Notes Core Product: First basic level based on customers needs and wants, and the functions required to meet those needs. The most basic thing that a customer would pay for, and is the core benefit.

Expected Product: What the customer expects the product to be, and what they get from the product. This will need to have various features and functions that enable the product to meet expectations and deliver the required value.

Augmented Product: Additional Attributes that are not part of the core nor expected, but facilitate additional functions and benefits that flesh the product out. Can be used to aid in positioning, differentiation, segment alignment, quality and pricing. In some cases additions can be delivered as services.

Potential Product: Future state of the product, taking into account innovation.

Over time due to market maturity, copycatting and customer expectation, each layer of the product enlarges and encompasses the larger product layer. So, what was once in a Augmented Product, is now part of the Expected Product or even core product as it is now table-stakes. Take into account that features and benefits can also be removed, if the market has moved on.
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Whole Product Factors:
  • Appropriate Channels
  • Compatibility
  • Complimentary Products
  • Credibility
  • Design
  • Ecosystem
  • Education
  • Features
  • Finances
  • Guarantees
  • Observability
  • Partners
  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • Simplicity
  • Stakeholder Journeys
  • Service Providers
  • Switching Costs
  • Support
  • Trialability

13 Whole Product Model Core Product Only Core Product Only To Whole Product 0.3 Must build out sizable Whole Product 0.7 Whole Product 0.7 Whole Product Y.Y
+1 Offerings for niche specific alignment, and differentiation
14 Core Product Version POC to MVP MVP to v1.0 No Discontinuous Innovation vX.X vX.X
15 MVP Notes If you are releasing an MVP aimed at Early Adopters (EA), then you need to be offering a competitive advantage, something that provides a leap foward, and not just a better mouse trap. If your offering is a mild improvement on rival solutions, EA will not be your target. Furthermore, you don't get to define the EA. They are defined by the market itself, so, when the market has matured to a certain level, and the percentage of adopters is onto the Mainstream Market, you should not be targeting EA's if your product isn't a leap forward.

A product released into a market that has matured into the Early Majority phase or beyond, means your product needs to attain a certain level of maturity in accordance with the Whole Product Concept.

A product, be it Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or not, can’t ignore the need to meet offer certain features, functionality, level of polish, intangibles, which are considered table-stakes. Your competitors, your potential customers, market maturity fuel rising market expectations of what is Core Product, and what is Whole Product (WP).

So, in some cases, the idealistic notion of MVP, can be too minimum, not viable enough, and not enough of a product. If the market has matured to a certain level, where competitors are gaining traction in the Mainstreet Market, and you are just a better mouse trap, then your product shouldn't really be an MVP, but rather an MVWP.

16 Low Risk Recipe (TM)* Note The Low Risk Recipe (TM) builds on the Whole Product Concept. It looks at the product from the angle of adopter risk. For a product to be adopted, it must diminish risk in the appropriate factors.
Core Innovation
Core Innovation
End User
End User...
Category Cooperation
Category Cooperat...
Safety In
Safety In...
Trusted Channels
Standards & Certifications
Complimentary Products
Sponsorship / Partnership
Sponsorship / P...
IP and Patents
IP and Patents
Trial before commitment
Complete Solution with  Support
Complete Solution...
Compatible and familiar
Compatible and fa...
Security & Privacy
Security &...
Community-based communication
Community-based com...
Visible or word-of-mouth references
Visible or word-of-...
Late Majority Expectation
Late Majority Expectati...
Early  Majority Expectation
Early  Majority Expectation
Early  Adopter Expectation
Early  Adopter Expectation
Innovator Expectation
Innovator Expectation
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17 Low Risk Recipe (TM)* Per Adoption Group
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png version
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18 Startup Stage Pre-Seed Seed Seed/Bridge/Series A Series A - Series x Series y - Some Exit or Privately Held
19 Fit to Attain Founder / Problem Fit
Problem / Solution Fit
Product / Market Fit
Product / Market Fit (Don't get sucked into the cliched one-time PMF which is meant to be at end of Seed / Beginning of Series A, after which you scale-up, it's not true, slice and dice market to get sub-market, attain fit in it, then expand market) Whole Product / Market Fit:
1. Solution Fit
2. Audience Fit
3. Revenue Model Fit
4. Channel Fit
5. Design Fit
6. Customer Support Fit
7. Quality Fit
8. Guarantee Fit
9. Standards / Certification Fit
10. Trial Fit
11. Security Fit
12. Compliance / Regulation Fit
13. Credibility Fit
14. Stakeholder Journey Fit
15. Partner Fit
16. Finances Fit
Whole Product / Market Fit:
1. In addition to the previous fit which must be continued, and repeated for each new market expanded into, a new fit is needed: Ecosystem Fit
20 Positioning 1. New pioneering technology
2. New product category
3. Discontinuous innovation
1. Gain competitve edge
2. Visionary innovation
3. Exclusive, limited, scarce
1. Solve Your Problem
2. Benefit leader
3. High ROI
5. Continue with tight positioning but after a number of niches won, branch into concurrent more mass-market appeal. Doesn't necessarily mean full horizontal market.
1. No brainer
2. Cost leader
3. Market benchmark
4. High ROI
6. Avoid competitive disadvantage
7. +1 offering for niche specific
1. No choice
21 Positioning Note By the very act of positioning with one segment, you will alienate other segments. The tighter the positioning, the greater the alienation. Your audience has an internal dialogue, and you need to not only mirror it, be a part of it, but be waiting at end-points of that dialogue. Take into account, you can position all you want, but if your audience sees you as something else, you can’t fight it. However, you can influence their perception.
22 Messaging 1. New technology
2. New product category
3. Novel, unique
4. Detailed technical specifications
5. At every stage, aim for cultural fit as indicated by language used, terminology, etc so jargon, expressions, etc are in, stop looking to be understood by all
6. Stop with the explain in 5 words, 10 words, yoga poses; don't remove nuance, insight and relevance, in order to be understood by irrelevants
1. Gain competitive advantage
2. A leap forward
3. Beyond current products
4. New future
5. New benefits - new technical features
6. Aligned and going towards a shared vision
7. Only for a select few
8. Not many users
1. Proven product
2. Established major player
3. Solves your problem
4. Problematic present to new future
5. Gives benefits aligned to achieving goals and end-goal
6. Features verify benefit origination
7. Evidence of substantial Whole Product
8. Long life product
9. Forward-facing players in niche have adopted
10. Evidence of substationtial Whole Product
1. Market leader
2. Evidence of total Whole Product
3. Simple to use product
4. Verifiable success and market penetration
5. Fear based: competitors have adopted don’t get left behind
6. Highlight +1 offering for niche alignment
1. We are the only option
23 Price Point Low High Mid Market
Strategies include: max revenue, max profit, market penetration
Low Market, but +1 offerings can permit slightly higher relative pricing. Low Market
24 Acquisition Contextual Strategy 1. Unscalable
2. Inefficient
3. Grind
4. Market development
1. Unscalable to some degree of scalable / testing scalable
2. Don’t attempt to feed all, nourish just a few
3. Slice and dice to pinpoint, and go after low hanging fruit
4. Pick your fights, David didn't go to Goliath and challenge him to a wrestle
5. If you are not part of the first-wave, you can learn from others in your niche
6. Slow controlled growth
7. Perceived risk at a level suitable for only Early Adopters
1. Testing scalable to implementing scalable
2. Notable mention of Bowling Alley and Tornado**
3. When one niche market is won scale into adjacent markets
4. After a string of niches, hit the mass-market
5. Commoditize product for mass-appeal
1. Honing, refining, finding new scalable
2. +1 Offerings for niche specific alignment, and differentiation
3. Et tu Brutus; compete against your partners
1. Embed into other things
2. Diversify
25 Acquisition Guide 1. Facilitate word of mouth
2. Let them look under the hood
3. Treat them like they are your personal clients
1. Word of mouth
2. Reach out to specific EA’s, but not the well connected ones, go after them later
3. Give them the opportunity to be seen how some of them want to be seen: increasing their reputation as opinion leaders, and in the know
4. Referrals: start here, but not straight away, then continue to grow and evolve it
5. Focus on interpersonal networks and creating tipping points
6. Learn from those who came before, no point chopping down trees, paving roads, take easy street, ie the ones others made
1. Solidify principles
2. Formulate culture on principles
3. Standardize processes in accordance with culture
4. Build out repeatable and scalable growth systems, Ecosystem and/or platform creation
5. Target specific beach-heads, specific nodes, multi-channel approach, increase word of mouth between specific nodes and interconnected nodes
6. Move onto adjacents, once attained, and tipping point reached, mass-market it is
1. Peer pressure from increased mind share and market share
2. Look like the market leader
3. Due to this group being opinion followers, connect with, inform, and harness those who influence them
1. Embed into other things
2. Diversify
26 Acquisition Models & Channels 1. Direct learning / selling: inform, illuminate, cut out BS persuasion rubbish, cut as much distance as possible between you and them
2. Presence at industry / technology related events, forums, etc.
1. Direct selling / learning: may well need to take a consultative approach if you lack sufficient domain knowledge, and proper selling skills
2. Stop creating distance between you and buyers
3. Move onto EA watering holes, continue with direct approach
4. Later on test market specific sales models & channels
1. Market specific sales model and channels
2. Audit other channels, and see if viable
3. Main channels you double down on, but diversify to prevent possible stalling, ceiling, saturation
4. Move into mass-market channels
1. Continue what you were doing, but more mass-market channels. as well as new market specific channels
27 Acquisition Note What got you to one place, will not get you to another: bottleneck, unscalable, lack of standardization, ceiling, saturation, diminishing return, CAC: CLTV, unit economics, etc. This means that strategy will be different for each group, and sub-groups. You can’t skip a group if you are novel and disruptive. If you are mild continuous innovation, clone, etc, then you can skip innovators. If the market is mature enough, Whole Product is mature enough, and product category is mature, design has settled down to just a few types; you can skip EA as well.

You may also find traction (all other things being equal) easier with Early Adopters, but don’t let that lull you into a false mind-set. At every stage, if possible, focus on traction within social systems. Use and/or spread through interpersonal networks, and networks that interact with each other. This doesn’t mean spammy viral rubbish. Finally, early customers, treat them as if they are your personal customers. No laughable big launches off-the-bat trying to attain traction in the main market, you are not ready for them, and they are not ready for you. Furthermore trying to skip early adopters, when you should be going after them, can be fatal.

To clarify comments in the previous row, mass-market channels and scalable channels are not necessarily the same thing. Market specifc channel and scalable channel could be the same thing. You could be using a scalable channel, but you aren't scaling in it. Some channels take time to scale, but compound over time.

Take into account that in the Early Market, substantial resources and time will be needed to develop the market.
28 Automation & Scale Automation should only be introduced when signals are present, and this is across the board. Founders are embracing speed, efficiency, and automation based on no signals. Hacking shit out that they need to learn. Asking others to sell when they can’t sell themselves. Attempting to automate with those you should be giving a personalised human-service. Messing around with ‘Lead’ lists which are nothing more than dump lists. Creating Playbooks with crayons. If there are no signals, no common threads, no patterns, then there is no automation, no repeatable, no scope for standardization, and certainly no potential to scale.
29 Acquisition Models & Channels 1. Focus on learning 1. Retention: You personally onboard and learn from them
2. Later on look at usage logs, if applicable, self-service onboarding covering Key and Aha moments
3. Growth: Erratic, trickle, spurts to beginning of Formuliac
4. Avoid any form of premature scaling
5. You are not looking to the feed the masses, but rather nourish just a few
6. Growth should be slow, controlled, facilitating learning
7. When well into this phase, degree of automation can be explored, again based on signals
1. Growth: Slow to none, so delusions of hockey stick? Shut the puck up
2. If discontinuous innovation, this Chasm doesn't exist, and you should be targeting the Mainstream Market, if market maturity is at a certain level
1. Growth: Slow and measured at first, then formulaic, scalable & fast
2. If various fits are obtained and you are a startup with outside investment, then hyper growth and all that should be on the cards
3. Don't scale until fits are achieved, and not just the endlessly parrotted PMF, but many other types of Fits
4. Off-topic, there are a series of PMF's
5. Don't scale if no signals, if inputs and outputs are not correlated
6. Upsell to retained customers
7. More revenue from those attaining the most value, Pareto Principle
8. Perhaps more paid plan offerings, it's no longer about choose us, but rather choose what from us
1. Same as in previous, however due to +1 offerings, you may well need to attain new Fits 1. Slow to none
30 Funnel Note EA are problem aware, and solution aware. They are not your product aware. You are offering a competitive advantage, which means something your competition is not offering, and something EA may want. There is no such nonsense like EA are not looking for a solution, or they are not problem aware. If they are not, they are not EA. So, don't waste time, energy, and resources on TOFU stuff that covers the problem. But do cover problem if you have greater insight.

Work with EA, build with the ones who are willing to pay you. Mid-funnel competition comparison and/or alternative to, then work down the funnel with EA. Work with EA to fill out and optimize your funnel. Then look at usage and retention, and focus in on relevant EA's, to optimize your funnel bottom-up.
31 Final Note Markets evolve. Competitors are not standing still. There will be all manner of continuous and discontinuous innovation. No one is looking to end up with just the Laggards and die a quiet death. Competitors will be introducing things to help cross into new markets, to define new markets. They will still be looking to solve the original problem, but there are new problems that are the result of their solution, and there are more problems on the horizon. Innovators are innovating. Early Adopters continuously look for a competitive edge. With new technology arriving, new benefits to offer, it’s a never-ending cycle. Also, take note the adoption cycle is something that may play out again when entering a new region or a new market. Continuous innovation in one region may be a discontinuous innovation in another.

The Diffusion Of Innovation was based on the adoption of discontinuous innovation. The High-Tech Marketing Model and The Revised Technology Adoption Lifecycle is based on new technology entering the market. Same thing with the Technology Acceptance Model.

A new startup that is nothing more than a clone of an existing solution enters a mature market. It doesn't have any new tech, it's not in a new market, not in a new product category. What is its adoption model? What if the innovation in this particular startup is not in the technology, but in the business model, and it is discontinuous, what then?

Should this startup that has a limited lifetime if traction is not obtained, use its scant resources, capital, and time to flesh out the Whole Product because that is where the category or technology is at? By "at" I mean, the market is mature, competitors are well into the main market, there is a Dominant Design and Dominant Product Category.

Or, should it have enough of a UVP to come to the market as an MVP, but still have enough to attain table-stakes for innovators or early adopters? If it has a major UVP in a critical area, can its MVP be lacking in other areas? Find out.

Credit & Sources

The article isn't ready, and won't be for a while, have to work on other things.

This is just v1, there is some more stuff to put in, like types of marketing collateral to produce for each adopter type, but like I said, I need to work on other things, so will revist when it's time.

Special mention of Warren Schirtzinger. This gentleman has been such an invaluable resource for me, and a really nice, helpful guy to boot. Much respect Sir. High Tech Strategies

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