Crossing the Chasm in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Consumers may often be categorized into 5 groups: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. The sociologist Everett Rogers wrote the book “Diffusion of Innovations” in 1962 and used evidence from more than 500 diffusion studies to divide customers into several groups with various purchasing behaviours. The concept, now more commonly referred to as the “Technology Adoption Life Cycle,” illustrates how a new (technology) product or innovation gets adopted or accepted based on the psychological and demographic traits of these 5 distinct adopter groups. In this post, we’ll outline the concept and take a closer look at each of the 5 adopter groups. The marketing strategies used by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm will also be examined in order to successfully target the majority of customers.

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Technology Adoption Life Cycle

The Technology Adoption Life Cycle has a bell-shaped distribution, as shown in Figure 1, and the divisions in the curve roughly correspond to where standard deviations would occur. Accordingly, the population is made up of around 2.5% of innovators, 13.5% of early adopters, 34% of both the early and late majorities, and 16% of laggards. Each group has a distinct psychographic profile, which is a confluence of psychological and demographic characteristics, which distinguishes its marketing behaviours from those of the other groups. Marketers are better equipped to target each of these customer groups with the appropriate marketing strategies by being aware of the variations between these groups.

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Innovators (Tech Enthusiasts)

Since they eagerly explore new technological items, innovators are the first demographic most likely to invest in your product. Sometimes, even before a formal marketing campaign has begun, they actively seek them out. This is due to the fact that technology, regardless of the purpose it serves, occupies a significant portion of their lives. The disadvantages include the fact that there aren’t many innovators (around 2.5% in each market sector) and that they frequently have low price points for new goods. Winning them over is crucial still since their support reassures the market’s other customers that the product may in fact work. Additionally, these Tech Enthusiasts might be a good test group to make the required adjustments before aiming for the mainstream.

Early Adopters (Visionaries)

Like innovators, early adopters commit to a new product idea relatively early in its development. They are not technologists, though, unlike Innovators. Instead, they are Visionaries who seek a revolutionary breakthrough rather than merely an improvement. As a result, they are the least price-sensitive of the adopter groups, extremely demanding, and prepared to take significant risks in order to try something new. Early Adopters are prevalent (around 13.5%) and do not base their purchasing decisions on well-known references. They would rather rely on their own instincts and vision. They also accept to act as very conspicuous references for other adopter groups in the public. Visionaries are crucial to influence since they are adept at informing the general populace.

Early Majority (Pragmatists)

The “Early Market” includes the first two adopter groups. However, in order to achieve true success, a business must first win over the Early Majority before moving on to the “Mainstream Market.” Although they might react to technology in a similar way as Early Adopters, Pragmatists are ultimately motivated by a strong sense of realism. They are prepared to wait and observe how other people are doing before investing themselves in an idea since they are aware that many inventions become transitory fads. Before making a sizable investment, they want to see credible references. Winning these customers over is crucial for any company that wants to achieve significant earnings and growth because there are so many of them (approximately 34%).

Late Majority (Conservatives)

As a whole, the Late Majority makes up 34% of the population, which is comparable to the Early Majority. They have all the same issues as the Early Majority, plus one very important one: they place a much greater value on tradition than on development. In contrast to those in the Late Majority, those in the Early Majority feel confident in their capacity to use new technical products should they ultimately decide to buy them. Because of this, these Conservatives only invest after a technology has reached the end of its life cycle and prefer to wait until something has become a norm. Even though, they prefer to do business with big, established firms and want a lot of help. Thus, in order to win over the Late Majority, it is crucial to be the market leader.

Laggards (Skeptics)

The Laggards make up the remaining 16% of the population. These individuals just don’t care about modern technologies. They only ever purchase technology when it is concealed inside of another goods. These Skeptics are adamant that disruptive inventions virtually never live up to their claims and nearly invariably have unforeseen repercussions. Laggards are typically viewed as not being worth pursuing from the standpoint of market development. However, their criticism of the differences between the product and the sales claims offers organizations useful information.

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The Chasm

In the Technology Adoption Life Cycle (Figure 1), there is a gap between each adopter group. This gap between the segments highlights the “credibility gap” created by attempting to use the group on the left as a benchmark for the group on the right. Due to customers’ preference for references from members of their own adopter group, there is a gap in the market. Of course, this is a difficult conundrum because you are unable to utilize potential customers as a reference group if they haven’t yet made a purchase from you. The Early Adopters (Visionaries) and Early Majority divide is the largest (Pragmatists). These groups’ differences from one another make it very unproductive to use one as a benchmark for the other. As a result, this chasm is referred to as “the Chasm.” Crossing the gap is crucial if a newly introduced product is to be genuinely successful on the market since the move from the Early Adopters to the Early Majority signifies the change from the Early Market to the Mainstream Market.

Also Read: Internal and External Growth Strategies

How to Cross the Chasm

Moore contends that the key to effectively bridging the gulf is to first focus on a relatively narrow specialized market inside the Early Majority. In order to build a referenceable pragmatic client base, the organization’s only objective in its endeavour to cross the Chasm should be to establish a beachhead in a mainstream market. Here, segmentation is crucial. Concentrate all of your marketing efforts on a single niche at a time, and make sure you dominate that niche before moving on to the next. This strategy is known as the “Big Fish, Small Pond” method. The Marketing Funnel or AIDA Model is a wonderful marketing framework that may assist in choosing the best marketing strategies for potential clients.

Additionally, you must confirm that your product provides a comprehensive solution and that service standards are good (i.e., Whole Product Solution). Whether Pragmatists are enthusiastic about your product will ultimately depend on how well it works for them. You have successfully bridged the gap after you have developed a solid reputation among various Early Majority sectors through word-of-mouth.

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