Little nightly thoughts
by Business Exploration

Dear Fellow Innovator,

In this vacation days I had the chance to re-think about the classic adoptants curve that is at the base of many marketing and change management projects I coach.
The problem I always had with this curve is that it is descriptive but not actionable. I have always struggled to find the levers that drive the spreading of a new behavior into the groups represented:

  • Early Adopters
  • Mayority
  • Laggards
  • Nay-sayers

In my research for good ideas I came up with several findings:

  1. The fastest adopter feels the value of new ideas well in advance of the average population. ( The Challenger Sale - Provost&Fawcett)
  2. Communities of peoples (but also animals and vegetables) tend to "resonate" - move in syncro when they happen to make a major move. ( Nexus - Buchanan)
  3. Authority is a drammatic influencer: an american experiment targeting at understanding how Holocaust has been possible, demonstrated that under the invite of an "authority" people is likely to inflict mortal pains to their peers. ( Thinking Strategically - Dixit&Nalebuff)
  4. There is always a pecentage of people that will not agree, no matter what you do. Or at least, that agree only on their terms. (This is hard earned experience of my army days...)

So in these days I pulled everything together and this is the result.
It's not scientific, but at least for my experience is a good approximation for an actionable adoption curve:
This curve says that you have to provide - to the target group and in sequence:

  1. a compelling Reason to early adopters, so they can see the value, the rational,
  2. a constant Comparison with their peers, so they strive to join the majority,
  3. a stringent Rule to the leggards, that make them feel obliged to follow,
  4. a fair Choice to the naysayers: to be in... (make it as you want) or you are out.

The 4 groups depends a lot by personal DNA and history, and should be identified based on personal beahaviors.
I do not have a scientific evidence about this, but my personal experience has been several times in tune with it.

  • enthusiastic adopters generally immediatelly understood the value of my proposal,
  • majority of people in my projects conform just because everybody is doing it,
  • there is always a point in my project where the Sponsor has to bring in his weight,
  • and many time the naysayers had to face the in-or-out choice.

If you have a scientific evidence, or know a book reporting it, please let me know.
In the meantime, I hope this model will help your next innovation project.
Thank you for your reading,

To talk about this, contact me at the numbers below.
Happy reading!


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