The market is divided into different categories of consumer. Companies that stay small only ever have a single type of audience. Each product or service is first bought by a certain part of the public, “the innovators”. Then you have to conquer “the early adopters”, and then, if you’re good enough, you can aim for an even bigger slice of the market, the one that allows your company to grow and expand.
If you have a great technology, you have to find an innovator who will join you in your project, because their references will allow you to focus on a wider market. You need customers who adopt your product and then switch from one type of customer to another.
I’ll give you an example.
With OSM I have just developed a technology that will soon be released on the market and will revolutionize the recruitment of personnel. Something absolutely innovative that no one has ever used before. Do you want to know the typical companies that could use this product? FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks. Very large companies with many employees. Companies that could, with a very minimal cost in proportion to their turnover, simplify the process of selecting new staff.
But if I went today to FedEx and showed them my product, they might say “Very cool! But do they use it over at DHL? Ahh, they don’t? Nevermind then.” And if I went to DHL they would tell me the same thing: “Nice! But do they use it at FedEx? No? Nevermind then.”
So in order to conquer this category of customer, first I will have to find an innovator, someone within that category who looks at the future with the “courage” to invest in this technology and to adopt it first. Someone with strong contacts who can then promote me. An opinion leader who can influence other people.
If just to give you an example, I had managed to reach Frederick W. Smith and he fell in love with my technology, then I would be on the path to getting all the other big companies on board.
-The innovators are motivated by technology in their own right and buy it because they are intrigued by exploring a new technology and seeing how it works.
– They are technology enthusiasts
– They acquire your technology even if it is imperfect or “improvable”. They want direct contact with technologically savvy people to influence product development. They want to actively contribute to the growth of the product. They will be the ones to spread the word to bring you early adopters.
In order to reach the innovators you must: do direct marketing, finding them on the web and letting them know about your products, aiming to involve them and impassion them towards your product. Or take advantage of the network you have built over the years with your company. The bigger the network you have built, the easier it will be to reach these innovators. The better the “relationship” between you and these innovators, the easier it will be to make them fall in love with your product. Your task will be to excite them and take care of them because they will become the champions of your project.
– They are the ones who start using the product before it reaches the masses.
– They are ready to improve the product, providing feedback, investing in the idea that the product or service can contribute to a major change in the world.
To reach the Early Adopters you have to: have a sales force that reports directly to the top of the company, which engages them and starts developing solutions suitable for them. They are very demanding customers, but they can be a great help.
– They are pragmatic people who buy because technology solves a problem they have or improves some aspect of their lives.
– They are the ones that make your new technology a standard and impose it on everyone
– They do not want to revolutionize an industry or try something new: they want a product that works. They want: Perfect and bug-free products, manuals, assistance, do not want change but want an improvement of what they already have. They want to have someone in their group or their industry who has already used it. They want someone in their group who is using it, must know their industry, and be patient and keep the product intact.
To reach “the early majority” you need to focus on just one specific target. You need to find a profitable niche and focus everything on that. It’s what is called d-day in marketing. The landing in Normandy, meaning that you will have to concentrate all your efforts on one point if you want to conquer a broad market.
A) Having developed a useful technology that makes a difference
B) Knowing how to change your approach to please/build relationships with different types of people and with different needs
C) Be flexible and be able to say yes to requests for adaptation, or being able to completely overhaul your technologies or product
D) Know how to persist in a great project
Who are your customers? And how will you reach an ever-increasing number of people to grow your business?