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Diffusion of Innovation AKA Crossing the Chasm

You already intuitively know that customers will adopt new technology and products with greater or lesser speed.  This is a valuable marketing aid and also a warning to be careful when looking at marketing results.

 

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Once you begin marketing your product or service to the general public, you will get the so called ‘very early product adopters’ or VEPAs signing up for it first. 

These are typically the first people to buy a new technology; smartphones, Apple watches, a new restaurant for example.

 What you may not know is that these people can lead to the success or failure of your new business.

A new restaurant that fails to service VEPAs well is likely to have a short lifespan!

It is easy to think that your product will be very successful based on the response from your VEPA's. 

However, the “Diffusion of Innovation Theory" teaches us that VEPA's are very tolerant of products that are difficult to use, may have weaknesses in them and which have little documentation on how to use. But VEPA's only represent 10% of the total population that may consume your product so you have to make sure it will work with the remaining 90% of the market. 

The shift from VEPA to later customers is so significant and possibly so difficult that it is the subject of its own research often referred to as "crossing the chasm", after a well known book on that topic. (Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore).

See a YouTube video by Moore at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhT9JGcHsHs (14 mins)

For a more visual example from Moore see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izP5n1SBEaI (4 ins) but watch the first video first as this one does not really explain the theory.

 

 

 

 

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