The technology adoption curve, part one

HUNTING THE INNOVATORS Pt1: The take-up (and penetration) of new services, products and technologies lies heavily in the hands of a consumer type called ‘Innovators‘. Innovators only represent 2.5% of any general population, but nevertheless, are a vital first link in the chain of adoption. The graph below shows the Rogers adoption curve, a bell curve that shows the five different consumer types.

Innovators are brave people that are willing to trial new products/services. Typically, the excitement and personal satisfaction of being one of the few to be actually using the product/service is the main reason for take-up. Very importantly, innovators accept that new products/services often contain bugs/problems/hick-ups, but they view these issues as an acceptable process.

When technology-based companies release early versions of software (for example), innovators are the target market and the catalyst for penetration. Importantly, innovators have a strong influence over the group (explained next) Early Adopters.

But where are the innovators? Because these people are cosmopolites, you’ll find them in non-geographic places – they’re running and commenting on blogs, building in Second Life, commenting in forums and being referenced (on and offline) in specialist publications.

Representing 13.5% of the GP, Early Adopters are closely tied to Innovators. These individuals are strong opinion formers within their social networks and have a more localised existence compared to innovators, who are more cosmopolitan. Early adopters typically give advice and recommendations to their friends and collegues and when they have found something they think is of value they often become brand advocates. Whereas innovators are prepared to put up with bugs and flaws in new technology (as an acceptable part of the take-up process), they often do not discuss these issues with others. However, early adopters will explain these issues when recommending products/services to others and importantly, will reassure people about them.

And where are the early adopters? They’re speaking at specialist conventions, networking locally and are usually well-known in their geographical footprint.