20 Apr 2014

Why You Must Read Geoffrey Moore 'Crossing The Chasm'

Blanket marketing is dead, according to renowned author Geoffrey Moore. One can no longer approach the entire market at once and expect their product(s) to fly off the shelf. In his insightful book ‘Crossing the Chasm’, Geoff Moore explains what it takes for a product to be successful – or viral, in today’s world. While the book talks about high tech products, the concepts can be applied to new products in established categories as well.

I laid hands on this book because a few authors I revere gave its reference in theirs. Malcolm Gladwell and Carmine Gallo are 2 of them. Both authors have built upon Geoff Moore’s concept of 5 types of consumers. They are:

  • Innovators – Who like to be associated with a product in its conceptualisation & early development.
  • Early Adopters – Visionaries who see the potential in a product and work on ensuring it matches their vision.
  • Early Majority – Pragmatists who see the value proposition and offerings of a product and then adopt it.
  • Late Majority – Who use the early majority for references and testimonials and adopt a product once its offerings encapsulate everything they use.
  • Laggards – Who adopt a product when they have no choice i.e. when what they use becomes obsolete forcing them to change their consumption pattern.
The 5 Consumer Groups
This concept is now calls for a mandatory mention in all business management textbooks. In fact, it provides a better understanding of how the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix works and how it can be leveraged.
Geoffrey Moore states that most firms commit the cardinal sin of trying to take their product (tested or untested) to the whole market. He further points out some more mistakes firms make when trying to launch new products. Some include:

  • Hiring inexperienced sales and marketing people to promote their product. This leads to promotion at the wrong places and the response turns out to be a damp squib.
  • Vaporware. This is a situation where a product is preannounced and premarketed without overcoming significant hurdles. One example that comes to mind is the Notion Ink Adam.
A firm should look to address each consumer group (innovators, early adopters, etc.) when launching a new product. The concepts in this book are more applicable to products which spark discontinuous innovations i.e. leapfrog innovation which make users change their buying and usage patterns.

The author examines in detail how a firm should market its product to each group to achieve success. He rightly points out that product and marketing should be tied at the hip i.e. the marketing team should be involved in the product’s conceptualization and development. Also, there should be no let up in marketing and promotion efforts when the product transitions from one consumer group to another. These transition phases, in the author’s words, are chasms which have to be monitored closely. Otherwise the product ends up like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine in the forest and ultimately coming upon a vine which has no momentum. Tarzan is then in the unenviable position of trying embarrassing methods to get the vine in motion, while the other animals wait and watch him fail miserably and invariably fall into the abyss below.
This book is a must have for every person who is part of a product, design, marketing or sales team. Though it was written in 1991 and revised in 2001, the concepts of the book hold true even today, and will continue to hold true until the end of time. One can read about the mistakes made by most organizations today and choose to avoid them. As Robert Clay says “95% companies survive despite appalling marketing because their competitors share their marketing ineptitude.” If you read, absorb and implement the notions in this book, you’re well on your way to building a successful product which stands the chance of going viral.

image Courtesy: Google Images

12 Apr 2014

Castrol Biking Brings John Abraham Even Closer to Bikers

“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.”

This is probably the most renowned quote among bikers. Biking is a religion, and members of the brotherhood are fanatic followers. Faithfuls of a religion go to temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras, etc. Likewise, hardcore bikers head out on rides and attend events which enable them to meet people of the same faith.

One such event was organized by Castrol Biking on 9th April, 2013 at Taj Land’s End, Bandra. They wanted to showcase the new PowerBiking app launched by Castrol for the benefit of us bikers. The celebrity who would unveil it and walk us through it was John Abraham.

I reached the venue at the allotted time. The 1st thing that immediately impressed was that Castrol Biking had reserved a parking lot inside Taj Land’s End’s campus for us bikers. A bike is not allowed to park in the hotel’s campus. But I’m probably one of the few who did. So yeah, +1!
Bikers Posing before Parking

We got a chance to interact with other bikers during the event. It was delightful to meet Sigmund, Sharvari, Vikram, Amandeep, Tanmay, Urvashi, Saurabh, Sanket, Nikhil, Pratik (bikers must follow each and every one of them) and others. I was blown away on hearing that the event’s main compere Nikhil Kashyap owns 28 bikes! I had a good chat with him after the event. 1 hell of a warm and generous guy!
Popular bikers who attended the event

John Abraham displayed the app on a phone, showcasing various features in it. Some include:
John Abraham having a blast with fellow bikers

  1. Logging in with your social media account
  2. Listing your ride, finding friends and connecting with them
  3. Best routes + maps for a ride depending upon your preference
  4. Castrol Bike Zones at locations across India
  5. DIY tips for your bike

The app is currently available only on the Google Play store. Castrol is working on launching it for iOS too.

Answering fan questions with his 'Rambo'
The usual Q&A session followed, with John answering questions from the audience as well as those posted on Facebook. He was patient and his answers were well thought through, showing clarity in thought. John was asked whether there should be separate schools for teaching women to ride. He responded saying that schools to teach better riding were essential, not just for women but for men also. He exuded passion when he spoke about biking, and regrets not having ridden his new Aprilia RSV4. He keenly wants to promote biking in India, along from football and hockey. His biking tales and experiences were awesome, despite him declaring upfront that he doesn't travel as much as some of the resident tourers. The event ended with the celeb posing with all bikers – individually and in a group.

My respect for John Abraham has gone up manifold. He hasn't just heard of John McGuiness, he reveres him. John is trying to shoot climax of his upcoming movie on bikes at the Isle of Mann. He doesn't follow only MotoGP; he tried to co own the Kawasaki team in World SBK. He knows about Evo bikes and Formula E. He has ridden on roads I haven’t even heard of. And he believes riding a bike is not about merely going fast; it is about being part of a ballad. John Abraham is not a Bollywood celebrity who rides fast bikes. He is a biker who acts and produces movies.

Selfies with individual bikers and with the group

Thank you Castrol Biking for letting me be part of this event. Regarding the goodies, Castrol can replace 1 item among them with a litre of their best 4-stroke biking oil. Once a rider uses it and likes it, s/he will stick to that oil for her/his bike for a long time and also refer it to others. That will help increase sales. After all, we bikers treat our bikes better than we treat humans, don’t we?
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