Use Productization to Cross the Chasm

Chasm Crossing

Years ago I needed to buy a new phone for the kitchen. I wanted it to use the latest 2.7 GHz technology with 2 line support, speakerphone capability, dialing from the base and handset, intercom function and headset support. My wife said that if it is going in the kitchen it had to be white. At that time, only Uniden made cordless phones in white, so we ended up buying from them. I had to give up most of the advance functions I wanted. Uniden won this deal because they understood the real needs of the customer: kitchen phones should be white because most kitchens are white.

The same is true for almost any business. No matter how good your core technology or concept is, you will have trouble selling it if you fail to productize it in a manner that satisfies the requirements of your target customers. This is true whether you are producing high tech software or no tech baked goods.

For example, assume you’ve developed a way to make awesome gluten free cupcakes. That recipe is your core technology, but you still need to productize it into a form that will satisfy your customers. To do this, you need to determine what flavors you will make, how large or small you will make each cupcake, if you will accommodate other food allergies with your recipes, and how you will package them: as singles or in multi-packs. These characteristics have little to do with the core technology, but they can have a significant effect on the marketability of the final product.

Without proper productization, you may be able to sell to enthusiasts and early adapters, but crossing the chasm into the main stream will require that you satisfy the needs of the majority. How do you know which of these characteristics are most important to them? As always, ask your customers.

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