And How It Can Help Your Business

You have probably never heard of Everett Rogers, nor his diffusion of innovation theory. However, its application is evident in every aspect of modern society. In short, this theory depicts how different types of people will adopt new products, ideas and technologies at different rates. This can be priceless when marketing these things, as, if we know the characteristics of people who adopt at certain points of a product lifecycle (PLC), we can tailor our marketing towards them, increasing the likelihood that they choose to buy your product. Here, we will briefly outline the groups that people fall into, and how we can make the most of them, by altering marketing towards their characteristics.


At only an estimated 2.5% of people, this is by far the smallest group in the theory. However, this means that they are more likely to pay a premium price for the products they are intersted in. For innovators, as the name suggests, this interest falls heavily in brand new to
the world, groundbreaking products and services, often with complex technology involved. Hence, to attract such people, marketers should aim to promote an innovative product, in amanner that engages the consumer in the idea that they are instigating a real change in the
world by adopting their product, as this is a primary motivation for innovators. They are risk takers, who introduce new technologies to more people.

Early Adopters

Generally, we see this category as young, opinion leading individuals, especially in the age of social media influencers. These make up 13.5% of the market. They take what is discovered by innovators, and apply it to practical uses, popularizing it in the mainstream consumption
cycle. Therefore, this is perhaps the most important group to resonate with, as their opinion, now more than ever, can make or break a product. This explains why we see a rising amount of companies utilizing influencers to spread positive information about their
products to their army of loyal followers. Why is this so effective? As the followers of powerful influencers are loyal to a degree that they will often value their opinion over any promotional activity direct from a company. This is all about earning the trust and respect of
this segment.

Early Majority

As the name suggests, the next two stages are the largest in terms of size, at 34% each. As outlined previously, the early majority are, essentially, followers (online and offline) of the early adopters. This is evidence of how marketing in the modern age, is often a process of allowing information and content to flow along a chain of communications. These people are most likely to be consuming content, to develop a detailed understanding of a product before purchasing. Therefore, it is key, here, to be producing valuable content, such as blogs, videos and social media posts, to allow this groups of individuals to develop favourable opinions towards you and your product.

Late Majority

Here we find another 34%, but a much more sceptical group, of those who are reluctant to change. So here, we have to develop a trust with these individuals, allowing them to become convinced that the product or service is simply impossible to ignore. How do we build trust… Reviews. These are the key to the late majority, who need t be convinced that a product or service is value for money, and safe to use. Achieve this by incentivising reviews from customers, by offering discounts or other promotional aspects, when customers leave reviews.


Finally, we have the hardest 16% to convert. Often those not on social media, isolated from the opinion leaders before them, laggards aim to maintain the status quo, and take comfort in the tried and tested methods of the past. Due to this, it can be extremely hard to target these people. So, we suggest focusing your efforts in the earlier stages of the model, and, by way of the flow of communications previously mentioned, laggards will follow suit, due to the advancement of all those round them. Overall, the key takeaways here are to ensure that you target the right groups with the appropriate communication strategies. Make sure your results are visible to potential adopters, display your competitive advantage consistently, and try to simplify the innovation as much as possible, to ease adoption.

Have you tried utilizing the diffusion of innovation theory in your marketing? If so, let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

Kaminski, J. (Spring 2011).Diffusion of Innovation Theory Canadian Journal of Nursing
Informatics, 6(2). Theory in Nursing Informatics Column.
Rogers,E. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations. Fifth Edition. Free Press: New York

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply