How to bring new product to market?
Ramp-up the adoptans curve.

Little nightly thoughts
by Business Exploration

Dear Fellow Innovator,

The adoptants curve is at the base of the new market penetration 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

Untill I started to give each group what they needed:

  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.

Continue reading to learn why these offers are compelling for each group...

How to enter a new market one step at time:

In my research for good ideas for go to market I came up with these 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 people (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 percentage 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...)

This happen also in my transformation projects, when I try to re-align sales organizations to new market goals:

  • 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.

Who are the decision makers for new products /services or innovation adoption?

Each group on the adoptans curve represents a precise group of decision makers:

  • Traders
    are young/new business owners / investors /CEOs that immediately see the value of an idea - on their market
  • Operators
    are old/established CEOs that has the need to keep with the pack of competition, to run their business
  • Slavers
    are old business owners / CEOs whose priority is not to be kicked out of the game, spending as low as possible
  • Spectators
    are past business owners that gave up and accept what the market dictate ... before to close

and while a new offer can be well received by Traders as a ticket to move to new opportunities, it will be considered by Operators only after that have been proven by someone else. This is the reason entering a new market is done through a niche. When an offer is adopted by a niche and has become the niche standard, proving to be capable to move the needle of competition, Operators will buy -in.

Slavers, on the other side will adopt the offer only after that this will become necessary to stay in the market. Slavers cannot anymore use it to exploit a competitive advantage, therefore they will only use it at minimum cost.
Finally Spectators, will adopt the offer only before to die, -if they will-.

The starting point of the adoptans curve: the Gamers

There is a fifth group of people involved into the adoptants curve. Actually they are the initial point of the curve. A small dot at the beginning. This dot is filled with Gamers. They are not properly "Decision Makers", simply because they have not the money neither the business case to use your innovation. But they are curious people, experimenters, makers that are willing to give it a try, just for the fun to see how it works.
They are the ignition for the Traders group. Is through them that Traders learn the potentiality of your offer. Being able to identify and provide Gamers with the do-it-yourself blocks of your solution: is paramount.

Don't miss the next hint: