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Closing the gap between innovators and first adopters



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Innovators and first users: a marketing perspective

More than half a century after communications professor Everett Rogers popularized the Dissemination of innovations theory, little has changed in regard to how New ideas are communicated and adopted.

The key feature of innovators remains the same: people who create new ideas or tools that are more efficient than their predecessors. The first users have also remained unchanged, or rather, amplified in the modern era of technological advances: first customers of new companies, users of cutting-edge products, consumers of sophisticated gadgets.

However, from a marketing perspective, innovators and first adopters, despite their role as precursors and catalysts of new ideas, have never really been an attractive segment to focus on.

Together, they form a mere 1

5% of the market, with only 1 in 40 innovators for an audience of approximately 1 in 30 first users, according to marketing analyst On Digital Marketing. This makes them difficult for the solutions markets since relying on the comments and data of the first users can mislead the requirements of the main clients.

Combined with the high cost of launching new products and the high failure rate of new products: up to 95% according to a Harvard study: the innovation market faces formidable obstacles.

Key technological affinity for economic adaptability

Despite the ominous statistics in the innovation market, there are indications that the key characteristics of innovators and early adopters provide critical underpinning to a strong economy and resistant. Economies that are slow to innovate are also generally slow to respond and adapt to changes and shocks such as disruptive technology.

The OECD states that "the accumulation of innovation capacities has been fundamental to successful growth experiences". And there are already statistics that correlate with this finding.

What can be learned from this is that in the block of EU countries, the highest performing economies are also those with the highest levels of innovation. The EU region as a whole has almost a quarter of all companies that introduce some form of product innovation between 2012 and 2014.

There is certainly a market for innovative technology

Given its influence on economic growth In general, the innovation market clearly provides solid arguments for consideration, but barriers to entry remain a challenge, particularly for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses that intend to market a new product to a niche group of first users.

The most interesting thing is that some see it online the markets, including Amazon and Alibaba represent the best route for delivery, with Internet connectivity that opens access to global audiences.

However, small businesses will still struggle with the high promotion costs on these platforms – Amazon typically charges a high commission for sales, while Alibaba's revenues come from its marketing services.

Despite these entry barriers, some are still willing to invest in the market disruption, often focusing on a niche area. As an example, Hamster Marketplace, based in the United Kingdom, wants to promote indie electronics, allowing its creators to bet on the first to adopt and potentially launch themselves into the market.

The innovation market can always remain a small segment of the economy. However, its recognized impact on economic growth can not be ignored, particularly when there is also a greater emphasis by consumers on new products.

And with the appetite trend of online users for new sophistication and technology, particularly with electronic products and gadgets, there is clearly an unexploited commercial opportunity that is expected to be taken advantage of by an innovator.

This publication is part of our series of collaborators. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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