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Early Adopters: Spreading the Good Word on Your Behalf

Everyone knows at least one guy who waits in line outside an Apple store on launch day to be one of the first to purchase the latest iPhone, iPad or other tech gadget...

Or maybe you, yourself, wait until that friend brings home the new iPad, and you ask politely what will become of the old one, hoping to score a deal.

Marketing industry experts have names for both you and your friend: “innovator” and “late majority,” respectively.

If you are in business, it helps to know how your products or services—as well as your customers—fit into the product adoption life cycle. Innovators and “early adopters” are the folks who prefer trying new things. In marketing, it makes sense to focus your attention on attracting your own audience of innovators and early adopters who will help get the word out about your product or services.

One of my favorite movies is the Coen brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy, a clever comedy about a rube played by Tim Robbins who becomes president of a toy company and introduces the hula-hoop, which becomes wildly successful overnight. The plot is a bit more complex than that, but this is Hollywood, and it is fun to watch the scene where the boy picks up a hula-hoop and starts using it just as an entire school full of children lets out for the day. Naturally, they all run off to the toy store to buy hula-hoops and a craze is born.


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