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Circular Reference Ahead – Where does the ETA Approach fall in the New Chasm Model

By Hank Barnes | November 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

tech buying behavioral insightsSales Effectiveness and EnablementNew Customer Acquisitiongo-to-marketProduct Marketing Impact

As I talk to more and more people about The New Chasm and the role Gartner’s Enterprise Technology Adoption (ETA) profiles play in it, I’ve come to realize that ETAs are a form of innovation.  Probably not truly discontinuous, particularly since Geoffrey Moore used psychographics in the original book, but for many organizations it is very different from anything they have really tried before.

So, while a bit circular, I thought I’d try a thought experiment—where does applying ETAs to marketing and sales efforts fall on the curve.

Source: Gartner, Inc.

To me we are in the early adopter zone.    We now have evidence of the insights and differentiation that the profiles reveal, but we are working with companies that are willing to experiment.   This is a classic time of marketing testing.   There aren’t proven best practices with years of proof, but there are success examples that highlight the possibilities.   Some of the paths being explored for using ETAs include

  • Adding to Ideal Customer Profiles and then shaping marketing messaging and programs to appeal to the targeted ETAs.
  • In team discussions, almost as a precursor to Ideal Customer Profiles, to see if various parties all have the same picture of ideal customers
  • In product planning to prioritize features and focus area
  • Profiling accounts for cross-sell strategies
  • Profiling and qualifying prospects
  • and for end user orgs, profiling themselves and comparing their plans to others in their cluster, or other cluster.

All of these have shown some value.  All of these come with challenges.  But the successes have been “order of magnitude improvements–like going from generating basically no interest in a product to having a 100% hit rate on interest and engagement or account planning and using ETAs to close a 250K+ deal in six weeks.

We’ll likely hit the chasm in the near future, as more and more organizations get interested in the idea, but have different expectations of  where things fall in the lifecycle.   We are Gartner will be working on whole product considerations to identify the best practices and show the clear path to success.   I expect that there will always be some challenges (the biggest being you’ve never been able to “get a list” based on psychographics), but we’ll get better and better at understanding the best paths and the risks.

And there will always be uncertainties—its about behavior after all–and that may not be comfortable for everyone.   But it is also about probabilities and odds–something we live with every day.

For clients, I hope this helps with expectations on where we are in the ETA life cycle.   We are ready to work with you to make an impact for your business—just be prepared for a bit of a early adopter experience–ideal for visionaries and dynamic organizations that are willing to take some risks (the good news is there is little downside).

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