When marketing a product, idea or business its important to understand where your item falls in terms of market acceptance and understanding. Is it early on the diffusion curve, or is it readily accepted?
Lets explore one aspect of this concept a little more, to enhance our discussion.
If for example your idea is Innovative and there is nothing like it that exists in the market. Your marketing approach must be completely different, as you will have to educate the market heavily and thus it is prudent to have a low expectation of individuals who will gravitate to the initial use of your product or innovation. Thus, at this stage it will be insightful to know if there any preconceived notions, a strong grasp of the communication systems in this network and an understanding of the social system and its construct on where you are introducing this innovation.
Consider for example the innovation of the smart phone.
Initially users started out using phones just for conversations and as time drew on phone’s became more and more innovative, with the 1st smart phone being released in 1994 by IBM. Which was simply a very sophisticated brick phone, but sadly way ahead of its’ time.
It sold for $1,100 in 1992, which would have been equivalent to about $2,004 adjusting for inflation of 2.25%. Which by all means put it out of the reach of the mainstream and kept it from being widely adapted. Besides placing and receiving calls, it could send faxes, emails and included apps for a calendar. The price was later dropped to $599 or equivalent to $1,091 in todays terms, but this could not keep it from being scrapped.
During the time between 1992 – 2002, there emerged many iterations of the cell phone with the most notable breakthrough being the PDA, which still had notable limitations such as its limitations to incorporate a cellphone. The closest device to this was the Blackberry 5810 wireless handheld launched in 2002 which offered SMS, email, browser and organizer in one device and contained a built-in phone but lacked a speaker, so it still needed a headset to make calls. As you can see with this innovation one major challenge existed, that didn’t allow the use of this technology to be convenient, thus the diffusion rate was still slow.
Fast forward 5 years and let’s revel in how the Iphone disrupted the market.
With its launch in 2007, it not only incorporated all of the features of its previous predecessors, but it also incorporated features of the future. It contained an array of apps for productivity, communications, and apps for leisure, but the downside was it didn’t allow for developers to make independent apps for its platform.
But while this was still seen as a luxury phone, its adaption and diffusion spread quickly. With its popularity on the rise in 2008 the app store was introduced with more than 500 apps including AOL messaging app, the New York Times app and apple’s very own Texas Hold’em app being among the most popular apps. With these innovations’ apple pushed the smart phone diffusion from being just a productivity device to get work done to becoming a device that evolved into a necessity for work, life, leisure and now most notably capturing memories.
Their innovation, while being new to the technology arena in that time, allowed it to gain enough momentum to reach the tipping point and spread wildly to the early and late majority, with many other tech companies copying its sleek design, touch screen technology and innovative operating system which allowed it to be increasingly expandable just by downloading a new app.
The secret that apple had hacked was that while the innovation was new it kept early adopters and innovators enthralled long enough, that they began to spread the word and the device slowly transformed itself from being a productivity tool, into a leisure device, and then finally into something the user couldn’t bear to live without. Not only changing the existing social customs but deconstructing and creating new constructs that encompassed the wide ubiquitous use of smart phones by almost the entire population.
So from this example I hope it provides an initial bout of clarity to the importance of understanding where your innovative idea or product is on the diffusion curve, before employing your marketing strategy.
About the Author : Fabian is a marketing strategist with over 20 years of marketing and creative experience working with companies in a variety of industries such as retail, finance, government, food, and the beverage industry. His strategy involves learning your business from the inside out and providing a bespoke plan to achieve your designated objectives.
Header photo credit @roamingplatypus via unsplash