A new innovation, like the iPad, is an incredibly exciting thing. It’s shiny and new with all sorts of opportunities for exploration. However, not every new innovation is immediately embraced by the masses; it takes time for people to get used to the idea of something so revolutionary.
Greesys recently published an article about engagement with the customer today isn’t just pouring a message down on their head and hoping they get wet. It really is understanding that you must be present in a conversation when they want to have it, not when you want to.
However, early adopters are a tricky group. If a company focuses too much on them, the innovation may be pushed forward before it’s truly ready and even the people who were willing to take the risks will have trouble adopting it. At this stage in an innovation’s lifecycle, it needs to reach out to potential customers who like new innovations but don’t necessarily want to be one of the first ones to use them.
It’s a fine line, but there is a way to get across it: by approaching the innovation with an attitude of action. The most effective way to rally around a new innovation is to take initiative in your own life. Try the product or service and share your experience with others. Let them know how you feel about being an early adopter and what the risks really are.
When you’re passionate about an idea, it’s easy to convince others that they should be passionate too. If you have the time and desire, find a way to become one of the early adopters because even though it’s an intimidating role, it’s also the most rewarding.
The decision to purchase a new product or service is not made in a vacuum. Rather, it is likely to be influenced by experiences consumers have had with other products or services that are similar. Researchers call these experiences “taste innovations,” and they have the power to make consumers more receptive to new products and technologies. When someone buys a new product or service, they are also buying into an entire set of expectations about this experience. If a taste innovation is available for an existing product or service, then consumers will compare it to the existing products and services on the market. Consumers will use this comparison to more accurately judge whether the new product or service will meet their needs.
For example, if I buy a new car, I’ll be comparing it to all of my other cars. If I buy a new cell phone, I’ll compare it to all of my other cell phones. This process is called “comparative evaluation” and we do it automatically when we make a decision. The problem is that most people aren’t aware they are doing comparative evaluation and they don’t know how valuable this process actually is.
What does this have to do with early adopters? Well, it means that early adopters aren’t as crazy as everyone thinks. These people are actually making careful decisions about which products and services they will use. If a company can position its new product or service in a way that makes it look like an improvement over the competition, then they are more likely to persuade early adopters to buy into their innovation. For example, the first iPods were introduced alongside CD players and Sony Walkmans. Apple knew that their customers would be able to compare their innovations to the existing products and services on the market in order to decide whether they should buy them or not.
Does this mean that people are making a rational decision when they buy a new product or service? Not necessarily. Sometimes, people have very strong emotional connections to their choices and they can be very difficult to sway. Early adopters are actually just the opposite; they are super rational and only interested in rational, objective factors that will help them make the best decision. However, introducing an innovation alongside one that is similar may help consumers to make an informed choice about whether or not their new product or service is ready for prime time.
Summary: One of the reasons why you don’t hear much about the early adopters is that they don’t exist. There is no one set of people who are the first to buy everything. The bar for early adoption is actually pretty low; it’s just people who decide to do something first. It’s mobility, a new kind of fridge or iPhone. Early adopters are early because they want to be able to tell their friends about it and make sure that it works for them before anyone else gets there. Check our newstrack