When something new appears on the scene, such as television, mobile phones, Google, or gluten-free cupcakes, not everyone rushes out to buy them at once. Some people jump in feet first, others hang-back a bit, and some finally give in.
A perceptive chap, Everett Rogers, looked into how new ideas catch on and an interesting pattern emerged:
Imagine that television has just been invented and is introduced to an island with 100 households. Who’s going to be the first to embrace this new technology?
1.) Normally, about 2.5 % of any population will feel bold and try a new product. These people get their kicks from being ‘different’, these are the ‘innovators’.
2.) Next on the scene, we have the ‘Early Adopters’, these people tend to be wealthy, well educated, and privileged. They pride themselves on not following the herd.
3.) Next up we have the ‘Early Majority’. These people look up to the ‘Early Adopters’ and follow their lead. Once the Early Majority enters the market, sales really go through the roof.
4.) By now, 50% of the island has a tv and it is now the ‘late majority’ who begin to buy. Generally, these people are less privileged and price often becomes important at this point.
5.) Finally bringing up the rear is the remaining 16% known as the ‘laggards’ these are the people whose clock is still flashing 00:00 on their oven!
When you are launching a new product it pays to figure out who your ‘Early Adopters’ are, these people are crucial for getting your idea to catch on and need to be the focus of your efforts, without their buy-in, no matter how good your idea is, you’re going to have a tough time.