Most people who do marketing are familiar with the adoption curve (i.e. Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.) Companies who create technological products frequently have brilliant success with the first two groups and then fall into a pit trying to get to the pot of gold on the other side of this rainbow, selling to the rest of the curve.
Crossing the Chasm details the important gap between Innovators and Early Adopters and then outlines a campaign strategy for crossing that chasm to mainstream marketing success. The book gives many examples of products that crossed the chasm successfully (such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft.)
Time and time again, technology companies fail because they are concerned with sales numbers (to please shareholders or investors) or because of a bean-counter mentality or simply insufficient funding. The author Geoffrey Moore uses D-Day and the taking of Omaha Beach as a powerful metaphor for how to establish a beachhead before assaulting the mainstream. Like the beaches of Normandy, high cost and certain losses can be essential to establishing the toehold that stages victory. Also important is the idea that to reach the mainstream market, vendors must provide the a complete solution, including support. This is an area that high-tech companies typically want to skimp on; the Innovator and Early Adopter types are natural pioneers and self-sufficient. These buyers accept a higher level of product problems and work-arounds. The mainstream majority buyers are pragmatic; they buy a product not for its own sake, or because it is "cool." They buy to get a job done and want a product that does the job and does it trouble-free. A lack of service and complete solutions is one big reason technology firms fall into the chasm with an initially hot-selling product.
The book is not tremendously detailed, but gives clear, understandable examples of how to set up a strategy in order to target a market and select a "must-have" value proposition suitable to drive in a wedge. The most valuable part of the book, in my opinion is the advice on weathering the ongoing pressure of executive management reviews, which can constantly threaten to derail a bold yet workable plan.
This is must reading for anyone in the high-stakes technology market. It's an exciting game, and this book provides important strategies to win.