Product Launch Question 2: Which Opportunity Do You Attack?
Michael Eckhardt from the Chasm Institute leads workshops on leadership and performance training for the world's leading tech companies. To prepare successful product launches, you need to figure out where your product is best suited to win. As Michael explains, the readiness for adoption within "the bowling alley" of customer segments is key to understanding where you can win following your next product launch.
Crossing The Chasm Leader on Product Launch Planning (Part 2)
Once you’ve figured out “where you are,” the second product launch question involves your target market. Simply put, the question is “which market opportunity are we going to attack?” To better understand where you fit into the mix, I’m going to talk about “the bowling alley” for product market opportunities. Before we go further, I know that bowling isn’t the coolest sport to reference – but trust me, it’ll all make sense in a moment.
The bowling alley represents the range of adoption for your product. In other words, it represents the customer segment that is currently using for your product. For early-stage startups, it can be easy to get overly encouraged by early adoption from tech-savvy users. For example, there will always be innovative/tech-first early adopters who take advantage of new innovations. However, this segment only represents five to eight percent of the overall market. In order to hit it big, your product needs to gain momentum with “pragmatists” who aren’t as naturally motivated to take on something new.
In recent years, smart home applications and devices have been gaining in popularity. One of the best-known success stories for smart home solutions is Nest – which I’m sure many of you are currently using. The initial product launch for Nest involved self-installation and included complete instructions along with a screwdriver. Now, for anyone who’s an early adopter and comfortable with DIY projects, this would seem straightforward and easy enough to manage. However, this product configuration is not appealing to that broader segment of pragmatists.
As simple as installing Nest may seem, the need for instructions and tools represents a dramatic shift in customer perception. In other words, the solution moves from being a product into being a project. This is where understanding your market opportunity is so vital for long-term success after your next product launch. In the end, your product will move through up to 14 stages of customer adoption. With this, it’s vital for product teams to develop the right product for the most logical customer profile. From there, you can refine the product’s features/pricing/distribution to align with a broader customer base.