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How to Win over Early Adopters to Your Product, Service, or Technology

Si quieres una muy buena versión en español sobre los Early Adopters, te sugiero este artículo de Javier Megías

Early adopters live, eat, and breathe the new out there in consumables. They don't want to be the last to know or try a new gadget, design, or latest thing; they want to be at the forefront and show others the way. Here are some ways to woo them.

Steps

  1. Understand what an early adopter is. An early adopter is the ultimate consumer - knowledgeable, discerning, engaged, and ready to move when a new product comes onto the market. They are consumers who listen to marketing and take it on board. They are consumers who are very confident about their choices in the marketplace and they're always looking for opportunities when shopping. Key points about early adopters include:
    • They influence other consumers, both by word of mouth and by display of their consumer choices (by wearing, carrying, using obviously, etc.), and even openly touting brand labels from Apple stickers on the back of a car to labels on their clothing showing starkly.
    • They're fickle, they bore easily, and they're ready to move on to the new thrill fairly soon after the excitement of the initial purchase wears off. The lag time depends on the product. They will love your product as long as it suits their current needs and excitement but if something else more exciting in the same niche comes along, they'll leave your brand behind and you won't see them again until you've wooed them back with something new.
    • They're also very cynical. While they're keen to be first and to spend money well, they do their research and if they've experienced any shortfalls, even once, they will not forget and they will spread the bad word.
  2. Make the most of every new release of a product. It's the time when your product will gain you the highest-margin volume. It may not be the most profitable part of your product's sale (dependent on cost of launching, etc.) but it's the time that the early adopter sets the standard and encourages less fast moving consumers to become interested too.
  3. Avoid mass marketing. Picking up from the cynicism described above, mass marketing will scare off the early adopter because they figure that a product that is being mass marketed means it has been dumbed down for mass consumption and is intended to be adopted by everyone at the same time. Realize that early adopters don't do "mass adoption"; if they don't feel it's unique enough for them, they won't buy into it.
  4. Market to the early adopter directly. Do this by focusing on the product's integrity, quality and credibility. Give them the information they're keen to know and be honest. Early adopters are unkind to products that don't live up their promise and they will get on forums, in chat-rooms, and on blogs and blab about the failed standards of a product targeted at them if it hasn't met their expectations.
  5. Do things differently. Early adopters are curious about the new, the different, the square peg shelved next to the round holes. Don't overdo the marketing; in fact, rely also on distribution and a sense of "discovery" to lure the early adopter. They love to feel that they "found" the product and started using it before anybody else. (At this point, you might like to read the article on How to be a hipster, the archetypal early adopter.)
    • Think about unusual places for "discovery" of your product, like dance venues, poolside cafes, liquor stores, mini-marts, curiosity stores, local festivals, anywhere that your product can actually get moved but is going to be reasonably niche to begin with.
  6. Use packaging to set your item apart. Make the packaging a part of the experience, and if you've got eco-concerns (a number of early adopters will), make that packaging so lovely they'll either want to keep it for posterity or resale, or make it so they can recycle it.
  7. Make the differences in your product clear on the label. Where is the product made/designed/packaged? Why is it different from gizmo X in the same category? What is the inspiration behind it? Allow your early adopter to feel "super-informed" because the more the early adopter believes that he or she has adequate information right there, right then, the more likely they'll impulse buy too.
  8. Take over the merchandising space. Take over the merchandising space. Not just the packaging but the whole fridge... When marketing your new product, create a "space" for it, so that it stands apart visually. Your product owns that spot because, well look, the brand is also on the door, on the shelf, or on the sticker on the floor!
  9. Sponsor cool events. Cool is determined by whatever your product is but events can include dance club evenings, triathlons, seminars, extreme sports occasions, festivals, etc. where your product could be the sponsor and have plenty of samples and printed matter to take home.
  10. Assume a drastically short attention span and fondness for moving on. Keep updating and innovating your standard products that captured the early adopters in the first place. Upgrades are a really good way to extend the importance and interest of the product well beyond its initial launch. Upgrades suggest something can be improved and that those without it are missing out. Early adopters are easily swayed by that suggestion.
    • For displays and advertising, change it up often during the early adopter period. This isn't the time for hackneyed sameness. Keep moving the target so that the early adopter remains curious and enthralled as to where the product is heading.

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