17th July 2023

The B Word: Go-To-Market Challenges for Tech Businesses

The B Word is the show where we demystify everything to do with B2B branding. Every month we invite guests from the worlds' of technology, venture capital, private equity and beyond to discuss what branding is, how it works and why it matters for businesses today.

Episode 2: In this episode, host John Galpin,
co-founder, Design by Structure speaks to special guest, Paul Wiefels, Managing Director and co-founder The Chasm Group about the GTM challenges tech businesses face.

Paul shares his vast experience and discusses the five key dimensions marketers need to explore to help their business thrive in today’s markets.




Episode highlights:

Common Challenges in the Technology Industry
  • Identifying Target Customers: Companies need to understand their target customers, which includes not just end-users but also economic buyers and technical buyers.
  • Crossing the Chasm:"Crossing the chasm" refers to the challenge of transitioning a product designed for early adoption to the mainstream market.
  • This transition is critical because it involves moving from early adopters to pragmatist and conservative buyers and users.

Contrasting Buyer Behaviour in Different Adoption Stages

  • Different Buyer Behaviour: Early adopters and later adopters exhibit significantly different behaviours due to their varying tolerance for risk.
    - Early adopters are more willing to take on substantial risks for the potential reward of being the first to adopt a new technology and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Delayed Decision-Making: Later adopters, often labelled as "laggards" or "conservatives," tend to postpone their decisions until they are convinced of the technology's suitability and effectiveness.
    - This delay in decision-making can result in a plateau or even a decline in the adoption curve.
  • Adaptation Strategies: Transitioning a technology from early adoption to the mainstream market requires different strategies than those used in the initial stages.
    - These strategies may not involve just minor adjustments but, in many cases, a complete reversal of the previous approach.

Identifying the Customer's Compelling Reason to Buy

  • The "Why" Factor: The next crucial step is to understand the "why," which is often referred to as the compelling reason to buy. It's about uncovering the specific reason why someone would be willing to invest money in what you have to offer.
  • Focus on Customer Needs: The compelling reason to buy is not solely determined by the features and benefits a product or service provides.
  • Avoid Assumptions: A common mistake is assuming that what you offer perfectly matches what people need, it's essential to validate the customer's compelling reason to buy.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: The focus should be on the customer's perspective and their motivations to purchase, rather than what the seller believes is compelling.

Key Elements in Adapting to a Complex Go-to-Market Strategy

  • Vision and Strategy: The importance of ensuring that your vision and strategy are contemporary and aligned with the current market landscape.
    - The relevance of your strategy to the present and its alignment with your vision.
  • Category Dynamics: Analysing the category your product or service belongs to.
    - Evaluating whether the category is growing, static, declining, or facing competition from emerging categories.
    - Understanding your position within the category.
  • Offer Relevance: Assessing the relevance of your product or service.
    - Determining if your offer is considered a must-have or a nice-to-have.
    - Checking if it addresses current and future problems or if it's designed for past issues.
  • Positioning: Examining the positioning of your company and your products or services.
    - Understanding that buyers evaluate both the company and its offerings.
    - Recognising that a favourable view of the company does not always translate into interest in its current offerings.
  • Branding and Messaging:  Evaluating the branding and messaging that stems from the positioning strategy.
    - Ensuring that branding and messaging are contemporary, fresh, and relevant to both current and prospective buyers.
    - Acknowledging the interdependence of all five elements and avoiding the mistake of changing one without considering the others.


"Go-To-Market strategies have become more complex for technology companies. The five key GTM elements (vision & strategy, category, offer, positioning and branding) are interrelated. If you look at one, you need to look at them all. Don't just tinker around the edges. Treat them all as key parts of how you bring your company to market.”
Paul Wiefels


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About our guest:

The Chasm Group, LLC

The Chasm Group helps technology companies, from start-up to Fortune 500 achieve market leading, differentiated, and profitable positions for their products and services.

Paul Wiefels and his colleagues at The Chasm Group, LLC Group have written books on the subject, including the seminal ‘Crossing the Chasm’ and Paul’s own book helped companies put this into practice ‘The Chasm Companion: Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies for High Technology Companies’.

Published by: Fara Darvill in News

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