Book review: Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers

20 Oct

Time-tested solid framework for thinking about marketing challenges

If your background is in engineering or mathematics, you probably have enough prejudice against marketing books full of hype and buzz. Especially if you’ve been in the field and observed many a brand come and go throughout the last 20 years, you will really have a hard time reading marketing books with big words, let alone recommend them to your peers. Fortunately, “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers” is a rare book, or should I say an outlier in this respect, that goes to the heart of the matter, and in a few pages shows what the real challenges are for a new high-tech company when it comes to marketing and establishing a brand.


There are many important lessons to learn from this book and I think even the simplest lesson, that there is a big chasm to be crossed, where exactly it is placed, why it exists, and you better be aware of it for your own good, is enough reason to read this book. But of course the book does not stop there, and continue with important topics such as what companies should do in each phase of their life-cycle, what types of users / customers are there, what kind of strategies you need to employ for which type of user and when you should do that, what the whole product means versus the core technology itself and a few other important points. Another lesson that is crystal clear: The enthusiasm and the bright energy of the starting point, all of those technological innovations are great and cool, without them you cannot start any high-tech product but it is also sad to see that they are not enough for being really successful and establishing the product as the dominant brand in the sector.

The no-nonsense approach of the author, as well as the striking and famous examples he uses to convey his messages are very well thought out. The book never gets dull and I have earmarked many pages, underlined many sentences and could not help myself for applying the principles to other technology example I have witnessed practically during the last 20 years. What I really liked in the end is that it gives me a time-tested solid framework for thinking and analyzing many cases and focus on what not to do, as well as things to be done.

It is a pleasure to see that so many years after its publication, the basic principles and lessons of the book are still very much relevant. I will not hesitate to recommend this book to my peers and keep it hidden from my competitors.

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Books, business


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