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Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC) Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


The technology adoption lifecycle (TALC) describes how a market develops for a new product category. Unders­tanding TALC helps business managers focus product manage­ment, develop future marketing strategies and allocate resources for radically innovative products (also known as discon­tinuous innova­tions).

1. The Early Market

1. The Early Market (consists of vision­aries and technology enthus­iasts): The market at this stage consists of vision­aries and technology enthus­iasts. The technology enthus­iasts (often referred to as”inn­ova­tors”) fundam­entally believe that new technology is better than existing technology and will therefore always be amongst the very first to adopt new products. Vision­aries on the other hand believe in technology as a path to compet­itive advantage and thus aggres­sively adopt any new technology to further their business.

2. The Chasm

In the chasm the product category encounters a pause in market develo­pment. The length of the pause depends on how radical the disruptive innovation is. The pause occurs often as a result of weak or incomplete value chains and because pragma­tists (mains­tream market) do not trust vision­aries as a reference. The success of the product category depends on the pragma­tists’ view of the outcomes of the pilot projects initiated by the Early Market. In this phase, entrep­reneurs need to analyze current pilot projects and develo­pments to understand how an improved offering can serve niche markets in order to gain momentum in the next phase of market develo­pment

3. Bowling Alley/­Pra­gma­tists:

In this phase of the lifecycle, the innovation appeals to customers within narrowly defined market niches, who are conser­vative but open to new ideas, and who are influe­ntial and active in the community. The product category now appeals to specific niche markets. The sales to these niche markets are predic­table and provide high margins. However, outside of the niche markets, sales are opport­unistic and may require mass product custom­ization to meet individual client needs. At this point, industry analysts and media may begin to follow the develo­pment of the product category.

TALC Bell Curve

While the bell curve has long served as an illust­ration of the market develo­pment process for a new product category, Geoffrey Moore introduced the notion of a “chasm” in the market develo­pment process for radically innovative products in his 1991 book, Crossing the Chasm.

4. The Tornad­o/P­rag­matists

The Tornado represents the stage where the market develo­pment expands outside the niche markets of the previous phase and develops into a mass market. Here we see a period of rapid growth that generates mass appeal amongst the pragma­tists and early adopters, as the product has penetrated a variety of market segments. Vendors are eager to supply this product category and this creates a war for market share which in turn brings down prices. A market leader will eventually emerge at this stage and enjoy shorter sales process, better margins and more media coverage than the compet­ition. The technical analysts now scrutinize the strengths and weakness of each industry player.

5. Main Street­/Co­nse­rva­tives

Here the market has entered the mature stage of its lifecycle, experi­encing declining growth rates. The declining prices appeal to the conser­vat­ive­/late majority consumers. These customers tend to be more risk-a­verse than previous segments. The reason they purchase the product is to avoid a compet­itive disadv­antage. At this point, to secure a viable future within niche markets, some compet­itors modify their offering while others compete solely on price. The focus of the media changes from discussing the product category and its players to the market itself.

6. Total Assimi­lat­ion­/Sk­eptics

At this stage, near the end of the lifecycle, it is the laggards or skeptics who embrace the product. Some after-sale services offered by marketers will provide lingering revenues; however, a new technology category has begun elsewhere to capture the market. By this stage, the interests of the media and analysts have changed and evolved.