New product adoption life cycle

The Diffusion of Innovations curve represents the growth of a new product over time in terms of customers. 

Let’s get into some details on these groups of people, in order to get a better understanding of early adopters.

  • Early adopters have the problem, are aware of the problem and are actively seeking solutions for the problem – that implying, they are not happy with current options and that have money for buying one.
  • The early majority have the problem, they are aware of the existence of the problem, but they are not seeking a solution for the problem.
  • The late majority have the problem but they are not aware of the problem and so they are not seeking a solution for it.
  • Lastly, laggards do not have a problem and so they are not seeking a solution for the problem.

Let’s understand this In more detail with an example.

How does one deal with each of these groups when embarking on a new product?

Laggards – Laggards are people who fall into your customer segment, but they will be the very last group of people to use your product or service. Why? Because laggards are people in your segment who literally don’t have the problem you’re trying to solve. Since they don’t have the problem, you can infer that they don’t know they have a problem, and therefore, aren’t actively seeking a solution to it.  

The late majority – The Late Majority are customers who suffer from the problem but don’t realize it yet (even if you do).  If you have to educate your customers about their problems, you’re talking to a member of the late majority. Members of the late majority are extremely difficult to sell to because you have to spend a lot of time just to get their attention…only so you can convince them they have a problem!  No one likes to be told they have a problem they don’t see in themselves, so it’s a huge waste of time to try and convince your customers they have a problem that you see and they don’t.  Of course, since they don’t know they have a problem, they aren’t “actively seeking a solution for it.”

The early majority –  The early majority have the problem you’re trying to solve with your product and they also know they have the problem. But, they aren’t actively looking for solutions to it, usually for two reasons: the problem isn’t painful enough or they’ve looked for solutions before but didn’t find anything suitable, so they stopped looking.

Early adopters – Early adopters have the problem you’re trying to solve, they know they have it and they are actively seeking solutions to it. These are the people you want to target first. They’re already looking for a solution, so they are much more likely to take a risk trying out a new product.

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