Segmentation and the Art of Target Marketing


By David Schneer

In his recent post Paul Wiefels of the Chasm Group blogged about the business lessons we can learn from the segmentation models utilized by the DNC and RNC in the recent presidential election. Paul’s blog correctly pointed out that the RNC concentrated on the segment they thought they could win: rural white men. To use an unpopular gun analogy, this is the “rifle” approach compared to the “shotgun” approach. And, unfortunately, many of our clients use the shotgun approach in their marketing efforts, thinking that the spray of their message will hit more ears and/or eyes, when it actually falls on deaf ears and blind eyes. Segmentation is a very powerful tool, if used correctly. Segmentation can often identify the “low-hanging fruit” (i.e., market segments ripe to hear and react to your message).


Segmentation and the Hard Lesson of Elections


By Paul Wiefels

A few thoughts on what is to be learned from this past presidential election and how it might apply to our commercial endeavors.  Political analysts of every persuasion have been in full-throat over these past weeks parsing the numbers.  62+ million people voted for Mr. Trump garnering 306 electoral votes.  64+ million opted for Mrs. Clinton tallying 232.  Discouragingly, only 55% of registered voters actually voted.  Perhaps this is understandable considering the one, perhaps only, metric that pollsters apparently got right.  For many, the two names at the top of the 2016 ticket were so undesirable, so flawed, that they chose not to vote for president at all.  They instead focused on down-ballot races.  In 14 states, more people voted for the senate races than voted for the presidency (ref:  Business Insider, Nov 14, 2016).

But, there is also another element to this election that intrigues me.  Here’s why.


Merrill Research and Chasm Group Announce Alliance To Help Technology-based Enterprises Sharpen Go-To-Market Initiatives


(San Bruno, CA Nov. 16, 2016)  Technology market research specialist Merrill Research today announced an alliance with the Chasm Group, Silicon Valley’s leading management consultancy co-founded by and based on the works of Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm.

In crowded and noisy markets for technology products, many enterprises of all sizes maintain go-to-market efforts that are inadequately informed by direct customer insights.  Our collective experience over the past 20+ years is that these efforts often fall short in addressing underlying issues in strategy and execution, according to Chasm Group managing director, Paul Wiefels.


Pivot or Divot? The Decisive Difference between Strategic Pivots and Frustrating Flails


  • The concept of a strategic pivot was first popularized five years or so ago in Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup and subsequently by Steve Blank and other entrepreneurs and academics.
  • Since then, it’s become another abused term for entrepreneurs, management teams, and VCs to use when announcing a dramatic change of strategy in their business or portfolio company.
  • Instead of executing legitimate pivots based on solid ground, many companies get sucked into a pattern of flailing wildly – making deep divots in the fairway rather than hitting a successful shot, to borrow the golf analogy.(*)
  • Getting this distinction right matters: it can be the difference between success and failure – whether a young startup digs a hole in the fairway or a more mature company whiffs at the ball when they try to increase customer adoption and revenues. I’ll review examples of successes and failures and provide rules of thumb to help you tell the difference.


Scaling a Big Data / IoT Company Toward $1 Billion


Vital Lessons on Hyper-Growth from Splunk’s former CEO

At a recent session in San Francisco for a dozen CEOs of young tech companies in the investment portfolio of UK and New York based Octopus Ventures, Godfrey Sullivan, chairman and former CEO of Splunk, provided the group with some powerful insights about how he and his team managed to drive Splunk’s growth from $10m. in revenue in 2008, when he began in the company as CEO, to its current run-rate closing in on $1bn. eight years later. This period included a 2012 IPO that has turned Splunk into probably the single most successful big data public company with a valuation of $8bn. as of October 7. During the eight years the customer base grew from 750 to over 10,000 and today Splunk is an acknowledged leader in big data analytics, security, and internet of things (IoT) applications.


Thinking Wrong: How Common Errors in Thinking Processes Lead to Poor Judgments and Poor Decisions

Thinking Pt. 2

By Paul Wiefels

Part Two

It’s summer time and I am devoting some of my “beach reading” to topics that personally intrigue me but are a bit off the beaten path from subjects I typically write about.  My previous post concerned how flawed thinking processes among healthcare providers can be extremely costly, not to mention, deadly.  Similarly, flawed thinking juries can wrongly convict the innocent, or let the bad guy off the hook.  Flawed thinking at work, in governments, and in our personal lives can be expensive, career-limiting, or simply embarrassing.  We put a huge premium on “getting it right” yet we fall prey to a number of biases and cognitive errors that prevent us from doing just that.  More troubling, cognitive psychologists tell us that we don’t just get it wrong occasionally.  We get it wrong routinely, tripping again and again over obstacles to decision-making that are systematic—deviations from rational thought, observation, and analysis that lead us into cognitive cul-de-sacs.


The Autopilot Crisis: What Tesla Mustn’t Do


Don’t fight it. Don’t try to brazen it out. Remember Intel’s PR disaster around the Pentium in the mid-90s? And what about the Exxon-Valdez oil disaster in 1989? And BP’s catastrophic oil spill in 2010? Closer to Tesla’s home industry, remember the Bridgestone tire scandal of 2000? And what about the ongoing dramas that are dragging down Toyota (airbags) and Volkswagen (diesel car pollution), jeopardizing their very viability?


Thinking Wrong: How Common Errors in Thinking Processes Lead to Poor Judgments and Poor Decisions Pt. 1

Thinking_(2808468566) (1)

By Paul Wiefels

Part One

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that as many as 160,000 patients each year suffer permanent damage or death as a result of diagnostic mistakes.  Not surprisingly, they are also the leading cause of malpractice claims.  Healthcare providers have been striving to reduce this number and many of the latest developments in healthcare technology are aimed at this problem including better automation and accuracy in lab testing; the use of big data and data mining to spot patterns of bad calls; online services that provide additional suggestions for differential diagnoses; and so on.

Mindsets in the healthcare community are changing too.  Clinicians are being trained (or retrained) to question their own biases and thinking in an effort to come to the right conclusions when confronted with conflicting data and multiple opinions.


Clarify and Chasm Group announce partnership to help enterprise B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase revenue & mitigate risk for break out initiatives

Chasm Clarify Final

Strategic Business Development specialist Clarify, today announced a partnership with Chasm Group, the go-to-market consultancy and advisory firm founded by and based on the works of Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm.

By combining their individual specialties, the partnership will offer enterprise clients proven methodologies to increase revenue, accelerate growth and rapidly scale while reducing the risk of bringing new or disruptive initiatives to market.


What Tech Must Learn from Trump and Brexit: Stop Disrupting, Start Engaging


Silicon Valley needs to dump its revenge-of-the-nerds culture and engage with the world


  • Since the results of the Brexit vote came out on June 24th, commentators everywhere have emphasized the growing popular anger in the UK and elsewhere against immigration, open borders, international trade, and technology-enabled globalization in general.
  • If the tech industry doesn’t wake up and take notice of this geo-political and socio-economic instability, it may well be seen as a new Public Enemy number one, becoming vulnerable to widespread populist rage and increasingly stringent regulation by national, regional and city governments as well as by the supra-national EU.
  • Working in concert, industry and government have both a need and an opportunity to produce a new model of collaboration leading to greater integration to counter the deepening political polarization in western economies. Failing this, major regions of the world may give way to the divisiveness – or disintegration – that populist leaders love to feast on.

“Today’s challenges include economic stagnation and disruptions in the labor markets — driven to a large extent by technological advances moving at warp speed — that are widening income disparity, destroying jobs and hollowing out the middle class.”

– Henry Paulson, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, to some degree pointing a finger at the tech industry, quoted in an article in the Washington Post, June 24, 2016