It’s really difficult to talk about marketing and not mention the technology adoption lifecycle’s bell curve from Everett M. Rogers. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve already heard about this bell or not. Pay attention. It’s worth to think about it as many times as needed.
This is the famous Rogers’ bell curve mentioned in Diffusions of Innovations back in 1960s. And it’s the best way to understand how innovations spread through society.
To make a quick overview, let’s sum up the bell in 3 main areas:
1) Innovators and early adopters: they are the first one to adopt an innovation. And most important, they are the best marketing asset to spread a product.
2) Majority: that’s the mass market, where every company aims. High competitive market. They don’t buy until the first group have been using the product for a while, and then, everybody’s heard about it.
3) Laggards: also known as dinosaurs. They don’t buy until the product is about to disappear—if they do. They don’t want to hear from you, and you don’t want to know about them. Period.
MAIN MARKETING LESSON HERE: Innovation can only be achieved by focusing on the first group. AVOID THE REST. Majority and Laggards are really good at ignoring you, so don’t spend resources trying to reach people that makes you push uphill.
Instead, focus on the first group. They are your marketing asset.
Now, here’s the trickiest part. Companies that focus on the innovators suffer a lot.
Innovator’s group is the one that wants to be the very first at getting something. Usually a product with flaws and with room of improvement. Alas, by the time you want to move your innovation to the Early Adopters it’ll be too late.
The best strategy is to focus on the Early Adopters, because:
1) they are the first contact to the market.
2) they want to hear from you, and will fight for you if necessary.
3) they are your best marketing asset—and the starters of worth of mouth.
A simple lesson in theory but in the practice it gets forgotten.
The takeaway here is simple—the majority of the market is very good at ignoring you. Therefore, focus your efforts on the early adopters, because they do want to hear from you.
Focus on them. The rest will come.