Victor’s Insider Scoop on Product/Idea Adoption …
July 1st, 2010 | top of page

Here’s the bell curve that we are all familiar with. The x-axis denotes time and the y-axis indicates the number of people that respond to a new idea or product. The original source is the Diffusion of Innovations, by Rogers.

The little green tail on the left represents the few, the brave, the innovators. These are the geeks and the nerds that love new gadgets or a new idea. These are the guys (mostly) that camp out at the Apple Store for the privilege of buying the new iPhone 4 or the iPad on the day they are released.

The yellow segment next to it are the early adopters. They embrace new ideas that help them run their lives more productively. This group wants the iPhone 4 but they’re not willing to stand in line to get it. They’ll show up at the Apple Store two weeks after the launch so they can walk out with their new phone in less than 15 minutes.

The tan group picks up new ideas a little more slowly. These are the folks who bought an iPhone 3gs last year and, although they think the iPhone 4 has some neat new features, they’re just not compelled to buy now since their 3gs currently meets all their needs.

The mauve group completes the mass market. This group will buy the iPhone 4 next year but not until they can get it at a discount after the iPhone 4s is out.

The purple group are the laggards. The only thing they can do with their phones is make calls and they figure that’s all they need because that’s what phones are for.

So the theory says that if you want to introduce your radical new idea you should market to the green group because they’ll motivate the black group which passes the word on to the mass (orange-yellow) market.

The problem is that for most ideas, products, or markets (the iPhone being an obvious exception) nothing happens.

Very few people will become early adopters because people don’t care about marketers and because they have inertia. It’s always easier to do nothing new.

Consider today’s AOL subscribers. There was a time, back in the day when the internet was new, I was an AOL user – an early adopter. But then I realized that AOL was not the internet and I got out. But inertia has kept a satisfied core group within the confines of the limited AOL experience.

The challenge for marketers today is to invent a product or service or idea or meme that’s so innovative, so compelling that the tiny green portion of the curve, the geeks in whatever market you’re targeting, can’t ignore your offer. And, that once they adopt what you’re selling, they can’t help but spread it for you and you have a naturally occurring viral market.

This is the challenge anyone with a business to grow or an idea to spread has to overcome.

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PS – If you are ready to begin to thrive again by getting off the sidelines and putting your money to work give me a call at 602-320-6200. I see lots of deals and may have just what you are looking for.

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