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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Sales and Marketing > Green Marketing

Crossing The Green Chasm ... Waiting and Evaluating

Green marketing and technology marketing follow similar timelines of adoption. Crossing the Chasm insights...

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Crossing The Chasm by Moore 1999

Marketing Green vs. Paying for Green... or Value?

In visiting with a green manufacturer recently, he hopefully asked, "How much more will people pay for green products?"

My answer, "Not much. They pay for additional VALUE, not GREEN."

This is the same challenge conscientious, conservation business people are facing: how do we translate the green benefits into VALUE propositions that people can get instant gratification from?

Some are taking the tact of "glamour". Others, prestige and innovator status with bragging rights among the in-crowd. Others are selling the concept of savings from energy use.

Others are waiting.

Waiting for what? For compliance to kick in. For carbon trading to kick in. For carbon tariffs. For carbon taxes. For prices of oil to rise.

Watching and planning and waiting is what constitutes a "chasm".

Marketing Chasm for Green Solutions

This marketing term was coined by Geoffrey Moore who wrote the book "Crossing the Chasm" in 1999 to illustrate how high technology's early bell-curve product life cycle was broken with hesitancy at a predictable point.

2007-2008 is that "Chasm" for many green business-to-business applications.

The Chasm

"The Chasm is a pause of undeterminate length in market development, when the early market interest has waned and when there is no preordained or natural customer among the mainstream market for the technology owing to its immaturity and lack of widespread deployment."

Innovators and Early Adopters Test Innovations

The early adopters have been corporations who have bought "test" units and they are testing them. They are communities who have instant savings from long term energy glut applications such as street lights or potential litigation from health impacts such as schoolbuses.

They bought. They're testing and sharing the results with the rest of us. We're waiting for the rules of the game to become clear before we buy more.

But some things are different between the green revolution and the technology revolution in the desktop computer era. We ARE living in challenging times.

Early Market

"The gestation period of any discontinuous innovation, characterized by both excitement and undcertainty in the minds of both vendors and customers. Technology enthusiasts (innovators and visionaries) seek out superior solutions, explore them adn pronounce them fit or unfit for general consumption. They are the first customers for anything new!"

Consumers Are Ahead of Business

Recent research showed that consumers are ahead of business in adopting green solutions. They are recycling. Changing light bulbs. Buying organic. Walking and biking. Buying hybrid vehicles. Buying Energy Star applicances.

Businesses aren't putting systems into place for purchasing greener products. They aren't collecting used paper. They aren't replacing paper plates with permanent servicewater. They aren't buying hybrid cars. They aren't retrofitting HVAC systems.

Businesses are waiting for legislation that will affect their tax credits and their compliance behaviors.

Businesses are going to seminars and searching for case studies and testing demo equipment. And waiting.

That's the chasm.

The questions that must be answered is "Then what happens...?"

After the Chasm

Employees are learning about green solutions at home. They are replacing faucets, recyling their trash, measuring their electrical usage, locating biofuel fueling stations.

These innovators will be the leaders in the workplace when it breaks loose...and then, Katie bar the door!

They will be ready. Will you be ready?

The Bowling Alley

The Bowling Alley

"Resumption of market development in specific customer segments who are adopting ahead of the general market based on addressing specific problems and on vendors' willingness to provide segment-specific solutions."
The specific solutions in the green market include hybrid vehicles, PV solar energy and organic food, among others. Very specific solutions that are well defined with immediate results that can be demonstrated.

Other green and sustainable solutions, such as water conservation, zero waste, and green retrofits for buildings are harder, provide longer term or less obvious results -- and they will thrive in later stages of the technology life cycle.

Knowing which of your products can be attached to SPECIFIC market applications can help you tailor your marketing and your message to these "bowling alley" buyers.

The Tornado

The Tornado

"A period of market hypergrowth caused by pragmatists adopting en masse a new infrastructure that renders the previous paradign obsolete. Remaining pragmatists now flood into the market, highly influenced by the market-leading solution and the company that sponsors it and will tend to behave as a pack."

Green Building - Example of Tornado Stage Marketing

Green building and development (NEW buildings) is a good example of one segment of the green space that has reached The Tornado stage.

Supported by the USGBC and other green certification and training programs, new green building technology has

  • An infrastructure with deployable methods
  • Is supported by architects and builders who provide third party endorsement and services
  • Is supported by governments who mandate and will buy into the marketplace

New green building has crossed the chasm, has been applied to specific applications such as schools and colleges and state office buildings... and is now an accepted part of the architectural field with training, employment opportunities and materials suppliers all lined up for the ride back up to the bell curve apex.

Cities are strengthening the mandates across the entire development sector that all new buildings must meet tighter building codes that meet green building and sustainable community goals.

Translating Computer Tech to Green Tech

Times have changed. The challenge is different. Compliance issues are different. And the economic mix has changed. But the chasm concept is partly an observation about how people and how groups work. And that doesn't change a lot over a few short years.

We will be bringing you more information about how green marketing fits this product lifecycle timeline in future articles and learning platforms.


The Chasm Companion by Paul Wiefels with a Foreward by Geoffrey A. Moore provides implementation guidance to "Crossing the Chasm" and "Inside the Tornado".

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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