• Are You Late on Early Adopters?

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    Early adoption is a lot of things. Addictive is one of them.

    Who’s addicted to early adoption, you ask?

    Both business owners and consumers.

    You see, the relationship between business owner and early adopter is symbiotic. You need them as much as they need you.

     

    Early adopters are beneficial to business owners because they:

    • Volunteer to be the first to try your product, kinks and all
    • Give you unfiltered feedback
    • Help create buzz for your product

    While generally thought to be limited, the power of the early adopter cannot be underestimated- especially when they use the Internet. Most of us know how viral marketing can help a marketing campaign. But early adopters, in all of their enthusiasm, can actually help champion your product in ways that viral campaigns take a little more time to do.

    How?

    Well, early adopters like to talk. They like discussion. You probably already know this, because if you know early adopters, you know that you’re always asking for feedback and they’re always willing to give it to you.

    But they’re also ready to give it to anyone else who’s willing to listen. In their quest to be seen as one of the “firsts”, they take their assessments to the web and broadcast them for all to see- and they don’t do it through just one channel. You can expect to see their submissions on blogs, social networks, ratings websites, video channels and other virtual soapboxes only a few minutes after they get your product into their hands. It’s in their nature. It’s what makes them equal parts “early” and “adopter.”

    But their propensity for detailed and varied feedback is what attracted you to them in the first place, right? And their rooftop shoutings do more than just make noise. Their critical (and flattering) voices are what give you objective insight into your product- objectivity that may have decreased as your personal investment in your product increased. In this way, it’s somewhat ironic to know that what early adopters have to say is one of the best ways to define your product, your marketing goals and your position in your market.

    That being said, these things should be kept in mind:

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    • Early adopters will always let you know when your product doesn’t live up to the hype

    Rather than dismissing early adopters as fickle and capricious, you would do well to listen to their complaints. Somewhere in there is an expectation. If you can’t change your product, you can at least change the way that your product is marketed. After all, those early adopters had to have gotten those expectations from somewhere, right?

    • Early adopters expect refinements on your product, but can sometimes feel cheated when you shift the product radically

    Consider the case of the original iPhone. No one really expected the huge backlash that erupted after its substantial price cut. But the reduction was enough to give even the most seasoned early adopters, used to the infamous “early adopter tax”, a reason to complain and complain loudly. The result? Store credit and an apology from Steve Jobs himself.

    • Early adopters take pride involved in their role

    Early adopters know that they mean something special to your business. They will always know that. It’s business owners who have to keep reminding themselves of that fact.

    Eight percent of the American public are early adopters. That’s an almost perfect number because it’s a substantial percentage, but small enough to still boast exclusivity. But marketers and advertisers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that this is your average 8% of the population.

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    Despite the urgency of early adopters to jump on the new “it” product, they also have a peculiar distaste for media and advertising. And that makes sense, if you think about. Early adopters are the hipsters of the new product world. They don’t want a product if it’s already being peddled to millions of other people. And, good luck, if you try to convince them of a product’s cool-factor. Early adopters have already made the decision that a product is interesting and worthwhile. The fact that they’ve done this before the masses further increases the product’s value.

    Because early adopters are so important, it makes sense that businesses work overtime to try to pinpoint and reel them in. Targeting is almost down to a science. For some, it’s prepackaged and ready-to-go. But the thing to remember with early adopters is that, unlike products, they don’t fit in boxes. They may be some of your most eager customers, but they are a long way from being the most predictable. If you treat them like a welcome wildcard, you may find a winning deal in every hand they show you. Can you say the same thing about any other customer segment?

Ayat Shukairy

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