How the late adopters think before buying your product

A real conversation with my mom to understand what late product adopters are looking for

Every day, there is a new story that the predictable adoption of innovations by Everett Rogers can explain (yes, we can predict it and reduce the product failure rate).

Today is a conversation with my mom. And I love to share it with you!

Some context: I arrived last week at my mom’s place. The Internet has not enough bandwidth (speed) to have my video calls.

Me: “Mom, our internet speed is not enough to have video calls. I’m not sure if it’s the wifi or what. Do you know what speed did you hired from our service provider?”

Mom: “I don’t know. It is ADSL. The maximum speed of ADSL”.

Me: “I’m not sure. ADSL is very old. The internet service provider installed cable in this street more than five years ago. Probably you have cable”.

Mom: “I’m sure. I don’t have cable.”

Me: “Why not? It has way higher speed for the same price!”

Mom: “I don’t care about that. To change, I have to call them, receive them during working hours. They are going to drill the wall, put an ugly wire all the way to the router place, then I have to clean all the mess. Then I don’t know if it’s going to work the same day and how. What’s more, ADSL works with Netflix and internet navigation.”

This is not new. Everett Rogers wrote about it in 1962

This is the typical behavior of a late adopter or laggard (buyer) of innovations (16% of the population). They just change when they have to. In this case, she wants me to work comfortably from her place, and that’s the only reason going to push her to change ADSL to cable.

Thinking a little bit about my mom’s explanation, we find interesting reflections:

  1. She does not care about the higher benefits in the core product.
  2. She’s only and only talking about costs (or pains).
  3. The core job to be done (bandwidth/speed) is not as crucial as the service consumption jobs (clean, no wires/keep the design, no disruptions in my day…).

If we research this same customer profile, maybe we can even find that there is an opportunity for cable providers to build differentiation and capture a big piece of this segment of adopters.

But this growth opportunity will not be captured with higher cable speeds or bandwidth. Not with better wifi.

This growth opportunity, if confirmed by research, can be be captured with a series of added services or intangibles to reduce adoption costs and risk perception, creating a “whole product” to better serve this customer profile:

  1. Guarantee there will be no visible wires
  2. Add a cleaning service
  3. Provide the service after regular working hours
  4. Provide education
  5. Provide configuration and the service working the same day guaranteed
  6. Position the product and create the appropriate messaging
  7. Sell through a familiar channel for this kind of late-market (direct call or letter)

At Escape Velocity we like to use the Low Risk Recipe by Warren Schirtzinger as the most robust “whole product” framework to help innovations succeed in the mainstream market. Our recipe shows what intangibles do we have to focus as the technology adoption evolves (and the market matures), predicting what to do next and enabling to build differentiation in advance:

The product intangibles are more important as the market matures

Final Thoughts

16% of the population (the laggards) think this way to adopt products/innovations. 34% (the late-majority), want to avoid risks and reduce costs similarly.

That’s half of the population (16% + 34%)!! Can your business afford to obviate this?

The way you build differentiation, GoToMarket, and position your product must change as the market matures to increase market share and create a market-leading product.

The early-market motivations that drive the purchase decision are not the same as late-market motivations. Thus early-market businesses should not be the same as late-market businesses if we want to grow consistently. This is where a customer-alignment strategy and the technology adoption lifecycle helps.

Do you know what is your innovation adoption stage? What strategic initiatives are you implementing to align your business to your ideal customer profile and grow your product?

📈 If you are a tech-based business willing to innovate or a funded startup, I can help you turn your product into a sustainable revenue-producing business with a focused strategy. Let’s talk growth!

📤 If you are curious about strategy, marketing, innovation, management and leadership, please consider subscribing to my newsletter.

Transforming products and innovations into sustainable revenue-producing businesses at | Innovation Strategy & Business Architect Consultant

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store