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Have We Crossed the Chasm for Cross-Media Marketing Services?

In the 1991 book entitled Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore creates a revised adoption life cycle for technologies consisting of Technology Enthusiasts, Visionaries, Pragmatists, Conservatives, and Skeptics. Moore identifies some key steps for successfully crossing the chasm in the high-tech market, and successful cross-media service providers are following some of these very steps to increase their profitability. This document outlines Moore’s suggestions for success and explains how they apply to the cross-media market.


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About Barb Pellow

A digital printing and publishing pioneer, marketing expert and Group Director at InfoTrends, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave. Barb brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity.

Please offer your feedback to Barb. She can be reached at [email protected].


By Chuck Gehman on Oct 13, 2011

Hi Barb,

I do not really think "cross-media marketing services" is a new innovative product or service. Nor are the companies you speak of startups creating disruption in a market. Neither are Printers trying to sell cross-media services blazing new trails.

By making this analogy, you imply that floodgates are going to open, and that gigantic demand for these services will suddenly appear in the market.

It's just as likely the vast majority of pragmatist customers who ever might may already be doing this, and what is actually in "the bowling alley" is local internet advertising. Products and services in that area are far more likely to cross the chasm than anything print-related.


By Kevin Karstedt on Oct 13, 2011

Some great points. We too find solid value in Dr. Moore’s “Chasm Concept” and have built on it in our research around digital printing acceptance in the Packaging and Label Sectors. While many on the vendor side of the industry, like to think that digital printing for Labels has “crossed the chasm” to "Mainstream" use, we have strong evidence in the contrary and say that the chasm between Early Adopters and Early Majority (Visionaries and Pragmatists as you call them) is yet to be breached.

As evidenced again at Label Expo earlier this month in Brussels, where another wave of new digital label systems were unveiled and where some historical heavy hitters showed solid advancements, the digital space for Labels is more cluttered and confusing than ever. This is exactly the reason we have created our Commercialization Assessment Report series (CARs) for those looking to invest in digital printing. Our two CARs reports for the Narrow Web Label Sector (one for the Printer/Converter, and the other for the OEM/Integrator) refer strongly to the Chasm Concept and offer actionable insights and tools to aid each group in evaluating digital solutions related to their individual environments. The third CARs report titled “Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? is geared specifically for all those under the “Brand Owner” umbrella who are trying to figure out if, and where, digital printing could apply to them in all of the packaging sectors not just labels (http://bit.ly/1Ee8J3).

Your article is the first time I have seen the Chasm Concept refereed to in our industry outside of our reports and I think if fits the situation of technology adoption nicely. How it applies to the overall acceptance of cross-media marketing services will be interesting to watch.

Kevin Karstedt
[email protected]
Karstedt Partners, LLC


By Thad McIlroy on Oct 13, 2011

I started referencing Moore's Chasm in my presentation in 2002, making the connection also to Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point" concept. I see it in a blog entry on Steve Jobs from 2009: http://thefutureofpublishing.com/2009/09/steve-jobs-the-economist-and-i-all-agree/

Chuck and Barb and many others have been discussing the cross-media marketing value chain since the 1990s. I think it crossed the chasm around the same time the train left the station.


By Gary Ampulski on Oct 14, 2011

Intriguing application of the Geoffrey Moore concept but cross channel implementation can be quite complex as it has many manifestations, require different technologies and all will likely go through their own chasm crossing experience.

Web-to-Print, PURLS, QR Codes, etc. all have their place in the cross media arena and the rate of adoption will vary based on the benefits they offer in terms of ROMI or business process efficiency for the marketer. Critical to this is consumer acceptance and various supporting systems that rely on data or other technology adoption (e.g. gotta have a smart phone for QR code deployment). Supplier, marketer and consumer all have to be educated on the value and become great references for the experience to cross the chasm successfully. Data and response analytics couples the applications to target and program results. Management of that process can be daunting whether it is provided by the marketer or a solutions provider. Successful management of all of this will convert "Cross-Channel" marketing from hype to reality. Understanding the elements needed for success and the capabilities (both technology and sales skills) required will be key.

It would be educational to see how each of these platform technologies have spawned applications that are influencing adoption across the life cycle curve. Might be a good topic for an Infotrends presentation at an industry conference.



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