The Customer Alignment Lifecycle™

The Customer Alignment Lifecycle (CAL) helps you avoid the loss of sales traction by staying aligned with the ever-changing needs of your customers. Use the CAL Infographic to achieve alignment across all key dimensions of customer value, and ensure growth in uncertain times.

When great new products struggle to get off the ground, it may be because your product or company is not aligned with the motivations and requirements of prospective customers. The Customer Alignment Lifecycle (CAL) Infographic helps you understand the requirements of your target audience and the alignment required before new-product adoption takes place.

Many new products, innovations and ideas will be introduced as a result of the Coronovirus-19 pandemic. There will be new ways of conducting business, new healthcare procedures, new food production/delivery systems, new tech products, new systems of finance, more localized/sustainable energy production, and perhaps even new standards of education.

Do you have a new product or innovation that solves a problem, but don’t know where to start? If so, the CAL Infographic may be right for you.

How It Works

By using this interactive tool, you will be able to see how “buyer psychology” changes over time. And above all, this tool will transform the way you think about how your company systematically creates value throughout the adoption lifecycle.

Use the CAL Infographic to see and understand the predictable evolution in:

  • customer characteristics
  • the customer’s buying motivation
  • product attributes and expectations
  • the preferred type of sales channel
  • competitive positioning and messaging
  • cost-benefit requirements
  • the customer’s risk-avoidance profile

These critical dimensions of customer alignment are the most powerful way to achieve widespread adoption and sustained growth.

The CAL Infographic is both an analysis tool and an educational tool. It helps you understand the characteristics of the end users or customers you are trying to serve, and then shows you their requirements before adopting something new. Once you understand those requirements, you can tailor your organization’s activities and disciplines accordingly.

An innovation might be a new process, practice, product, initiative or policy — as long as it is either new or unfamiliar to the end user. The CAL Infographic works with any technology, product or idea, no matter how big or small.

How and why did I develop the Customer Alignment Lifecycle Infographic?

The CAL Infographic is based on 53 years of innovation-adoption research that started at Ohio State University, and was extended by market strategy consultants working at Regis McKenna, Inc. in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1962, one of my grandfather’s colleagues at Ohio State (Everett Rodgers) published a book called Diffusion of Innovations — where he coined the term “early adopter.” After working with Everett Rodgers for several years, my grandfather introduced me to the Diffusion of Innovations framework in 1967. So I’ve been studying, testing, refining, applying and re-examining the innovation-adoption process now for over 50 years.

The Chasm phenomenon itself was first used as a market strategy in 1988 by Lee R. James and his co-workers who were all consultants at Regis McKenna Inc. We noticed that high-tech products don’t follow the same pattern of adoption as other non-technical products.

Later, James and his associates identified the transition from an early market, dominated by early adopters to a mainstream market dominated by a large group of customers who are more risk-averse. RMI Northwest labelled this phenomenon “the marketing chasm,” and the framework was further refined and tested by James’ colleagues at RMI, Bert Desmond in Portland, OR and Warren Schirtzinger in Seattle, WA.

Internal RMI documents show Geoff Moore was writing a book called “High Tech Marketing, Changes in the Game,” but had yet to learn about or use our chasm theory. When introduced to our “marketing chasm” framework and the theory behind it, Moore authored a book and popularized what has become known as “Crossing the Chasm.”

This Crossing the Chasm summary presents internal documents and faxes from Regis McKenna Inc. that show Mr. James and his colleagues were using the chasm framework in client engagements in early 1989…over two years before a book by the same name was first published.

Technology Adoption Theory

Diffusion theory follows a bell-shaped curve that illustrates the fact that there are relatively few adopters at first but that, as the technology, concept, or idea is picked up by innovators and early adopters, their influence will have an impact on the later adopters that make up a majority of the potential market.

Using this theory plus 30 years of launching and growing successful high-tech products, I developed the Customer Alignment Lifecycle framework. The CAL Infographic is an evidence-based, validated tool that was created to support new-product innovation. The CAL Infographic has the specific purpose of helping to guide the spread of new products and innovations within a target market or industry.