According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, 80% of the new products launched each year fail. While things like product quality and price point are sure to play a part in this, one thing that is equally important but often overlooked is marketing strategy. Too many companies are focused on solely developing and producing their offerings, and as a result marketing is something of an afterthought.
This could account for the fact that, according to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report, 39% of businesspeople feel their company’s marketing strategy isn’t effective, as shown in the chart below.
One incredibly useful tool to add to your digital strategy is to build human and answer-oriented content for the people to look for and use for themselves. In order to do this, you need to remember that new products and innovations are not adopted by all individuals at the same time. Using these different personas to segment your strategy is a great way to make it more engaging, and see a better ROI as a result.
By segmenting your marketing activities based on different personas, you develop a much more in-depth knowledge of your target customers; and as a result you’re able to target them much more effectively. This explains why the majority (57%) of B2B marketers include aiming to have a deep understanding of audience personas in their content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute. As is shown in the graph from Marketo below, this targeted communication can take many different forms, but ultimately all have the same goal – to emphasise which factors are most relevant for each type of buyer, whether that be price, functionality etc.
As well as adapting your communications to fit each segment, you can also tailor your price points accordingly. For example, offer a more premium offering for those with higher budgets. As we’ll explore further down, different segments are more likely to accept a more expensive product than others, so it’s not always the best business sense to offer everyone the same price point.
The Adoption Process… aka Innovation Diffusion
It may sound like something of a lofty phrase, but in reality, the definition of Diffusion of Innovation is pretty simple. Essentially it is the process in which different types of people adopt new products at different times. It’s not a new concept; it was originally researched during the 19th century, but it was sociology professor Everett Rogers’ 1962 book that is used as a benchmark for the phenomena today.
It’s important for businesses to understand the process behind the way that new products are adopted in order to attempt to influence each segment. As is shown in the diagram below from Because Branding, there are a total of five different segments that participate in the process, and each one has a knock-on effect in engaging the next.
The Three Key Segments
Any successful product launch relies heavily on the creation of a ‘buzz’ around it, and this is exactly how each of the three key segments play a part in innovation diffusion. As is shown in the graph below from HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, word of mouth referrals and customer references are still paramount when it comes to influencing a purchase, so aiming to get each of the personas listed below is the key to getting the word out about your product.
As we’ll explore later, using a B2B database can help you find leads for each segment type, but for now let’s take a look at the main ones in more detail.
These are the first people or businesses to try a new product. They get a kick out of obtaining something that few other people have, and as result will be happy to pay a premium to do so. They have no problem taking risks, and will be happy to let you know what they think of what you’re offering, whether it’s good or bad, although they are often more willing to accept an innovation’s weak points in the development stages.
- Usually younger in age
- Natural risk-takers
- Highest social class
- More disposable income
How to Engage Them: Get your products featured in key industry sites and magazines, for example TechCrunch if you’re technology-based. Find key influencers in your niche, for example through YouTube, blogs, or a company directory and send them a copy of your product to review. Ask them for their feedback and use it to improve your offering, where applicable.
Although having innovators engaged in your new product launch is very important in getting the ball rolling, you can’t rely on this segment alone. They represent just 2.5% of people, and rarely stick around – they’ll be onto the latest innovation in no time at all. That’s why ensuring that the next segment follows suit is vital to your future success.
Although just a relatively small proportion of the population (13.5%), Early Adopters are arguably the most important segment in the process. These are the people who have the highest amount of opinion leadership in the majority social systems; when they speak, people listen. If you can please this community, you have the greatest chance of making your product launch a success. They are gadget-lovers who enjoy trying new technologies, and will happily refer anyone to an innovation they believe in.
- Highest degree of opinion leadership
- Advanced education
- Higher social class
- More socially forward than other segments
- Disposable income
How to Engage them: Given that Early Adopters are likely to conduct more research on a new product before making the decision to buy, in contrast to the hasty Innovators, things like how-to guides, FAQs and articles on specialist blogs such as Gizmodo are best to target them.
Given their readiness to share a new product with anyone in their circle, it’s important to make plenty of shareable content during your launch, and using influencers to get the word out can also prove to be a very effective tactic.
Like Innovators, EAs are very happy to give feedback, and often theirs is even more helpful due to the fact they have carried out more careful research beforehand, and as a result are likely to have more of a personal investment in your brand.
Given that this group make up around 34% of the population, it’s vital that the buzz surrounding your innovation reaches them – and this is where a lot of businesses fail. These people will definitely not be interested in buying your product during its development stages; they are far more cautious than the other segments and rely on social proof and are only willing to invest in tried and tested products. With less disposable income, they are more likely to buy a product out of necessity, or as a result of heavy social pressure.
- Tend to be older
- Little influence over other groups
- Lower social class
- Less disposable income
How to Engage them: Because this community relies on the acceptance of others so heavily, it’s best to target them with content like case studies, testimonials and reviews. Press commentary and social proof are both very important here; it’s a good idea to have a dedicated area of your site just to collate these, and if you can get a viral social campaign going, that could also prove very fruitful.
Given that this segment usually has less disposable wealth than the others, it’s also worth targeting them with special offers in order for them to feel they are getting as much value as possible for their hard-earned money.
How Global Database Can Help
Global Database offers a solid, regularly-updated directory, that enables you to determine who the innovators, early adopters and even the late majority are in your industry. You can find out this data by analysis company credit scores, employee numbers and technology use.
Use our wide range of filters to easily locate and compare members of each segment, and then gain an in-depth knowledge of each business or individual in order to personalise your communications. Granted, this may take a bit of time, but ultimately it means you’re no longer reliant on customers coming to you; target each segment and set the diffusion of innovation process off in a more efficient way.
An effective digital strategy is a vital yet often overlooked part of any new product launch. It’s important to remember that not everyone will be ready to try your offering at the same time, so by segmenting your communications based on their readiness to adopt innovation, you’ll be able to tailor your activities for each stage.