Early Adopters represent a very important category of consumers in the spread of a new product and its success in the marketplace: here is who they are and why they are valuable to any brand.

Some time ago I read about a guy, it seems to me American, who has one goal in life: to always be the first to grab the latest mind-blowing technological product put on sale by that particular company.

Basically, all he does is lurk in front of stores days before X hour so he can be ahead of everyone else.

Yes, he did that with the first iPhone, too! But you know what the punchline is? That even though he was at the head of the line, he was given priority over others who had pre-ordered it - and so he had to accept "defeat."

However, curiosity aside, I actually know a lot of people, too, who mobilize quickly as soon as the latest technology is available or otherwise don't wait long to buy it...

But have you ever thought about the role that certain people play in determining the success of a new product launch? Do you know that they are so important to any brand?

Among other things, they fall into a well-defined category of consumers: they are called Early Adopters, i.e., "early adopters," willing to invest in your offer before most other consumers.

Why should you look out for them? Because if you can win them over, you are sure to gain quite a bit of competitive advantage: attracting them in the right way can pave the way for selling your product to the majority of your target audience, as well as giving you super useful information.

So you should take this into account and develop a marketing strategy specifically targeting them.

I understand, however, that sometimes finding them and getting their feedback can be easier said than done. Usually, this is possible only after a clear understanding of their characteristics.

Well, if you're afraid you don't know much about it, I'm just here to help you!

Read on to find out Who Early Adopters are and why they are valuable to your brand.

Who are the Early Adopters?

In order to understand who the Early Adopters are, we must first take a quick step back and talk about the so-called "innovation adoption curve."

No, don't worry, nothing complicated!

It is a concept developed by Everett Rogers, communication scholar and sociologist, practically sixty years ago (the book in which he discusses, Diffusion of Innovations, is from 1962): the goal was to explain how a new idea, product or service gains momentum and is adopted over time by a population or social system.

This curve shows the process of acceptance of a new technology, highlighting how it does not occur simultaneously with respect to various groups within society.

In practice, some people are more open and willing to try new innovations than others: this then allows us to identify 5 types of consumers, each with different peculiarities.

Here, Early Adopters are among them, and they are in the second position: they are immediately after the innovators (early adopters of new technologies who tend to be younger and more risk-prone) and precede the initial majority (adopting new technologies for utility and convenience), the late majority (more cautious and skeptical, they adopt technology well after the average person has done so) and the laggards (who adopt new technologies last because they have to and there is no other option for them). 

early adopters

Okay, so who are the Early Adopters?

We can call them the "early adopters" or "early users": they are people buying your latest product before the majority of the population does. They do this at the initial stage of launch, while being aware of the possibility that it will become cheaper over time.

Unlike innovators, Early Adopters are "closer" to the average consumer and as such serve as the templates in the social system. Their main purpose for purchasing products is to highlight their status: they are considered popular, educated and affluent, so much so that some call them "Social Leaders,". 

Indeed, they tend to be the most influential people within any market space and often have a degree of "thought leadership" for other potential users. They can be very active on social media; they often create reviews and share their experiences about the news they love.

Representing about 13.5% of the total customer base, this group of opinion leader plays a key role in pushing the product into a broader buyer's market. Early Adopters help trigger critical mass by decreasing uncertainty about a new idea.

Not only that, they are risk-taking decision makers who seek competitive advantages and are extremely value-oriented. They provide feedback to help you refine product features, design, deployment, and support. Early adoption can also be seen precisely as a form of testing early in the life cycle.

Early Adopters: characteristics

As I mentioned, it is important that you recognize potential Early Adopters of your product so that you can take direct action to engage and stimulate them to purchase.

But how?

Here are some general characteristics that are usually attributed to this group of consumers.

They are adventurous

Early Adopters like to do things that other people don't: they want to stand out from the crowd, and this is also reflected in their choices as buyers. This is why they willingly take the risk of buying a new product, then providing useful feedback to both others and the seller. 

They are instinctive

While they do not have absolute certainty that that product will work perfectly or fully meet their expectations, Early Adopters usually have a good nose: their instincts can already give them an idea whether it will be a success or a failure.

They are competitive

As I mentioned, Early Adopters are young, well-educated people with an affluent background and a large fan following: that's why they always want to be on top of things. They follow all the latest trends and try to be among the first to know about the latest news. All the more so if they are perhaps influencers 😉

They are not satisfied

Early Adopters are the type of consumers who are always looking for new opportunities: they get bored easily and are ready to experiment with new products.

Why are Early Adopters important to a brand?

Early Adopters are basically your first impression in the marketplace and are exceptionally good at influencing other categories of consumers, recommending your product or service if they feel it offers them value. 

Here's why they are indispensable for the growth of your brand!

A positive review from early adopters can increase your brand value over most of your standard marketing strategies.

Take the example of Apple: it never wastes time showing and sharing pictures of the long lines of people eagerly waiting to buy the latest fantastic product introduced to the market.

But let's look at all the benefits in detail.

They provide useful feedback

Early Adopters are generally curious people interested in innovations and new technologies; once they have studied your product and decided to adopt it, they also have an interest in its development and success. 

They are able to identify gaps or flaws in your relationship with the market that you may have missed; therefore, their feedback is very useful and you can use it to improve the product before introducing it to the masses. 

They increase profitability

Developing and launching a new product sometimes costs you no small amount of money: lo and behold, the money that Early Adopters invest in your offering soon after you distribute it can be useful or even necessary for additional research steps, as well as help you present it effectively in a broader market.

They spread innovation

Early Adopters are very influential within their community because of their credibility and authority as experts and to the trusted relationship with their fans (who are often part of your target audience).

Their endorsement can therefore strengthen your product's reputation and foster widespread acceptance of its value, allowing you to overcome any initial skepticism. Sharing and word of mouth on social media and the web can improve the awareness of your brand And act as a support.

They adapt the product to the market

Because they are your first users, they immediately give you an idea of how the market is responding to your offering and are willing to help improve what is needed. They can be a reliable measure of whether your solution to an existing problem has real demand. This makes things easier for you in the early stages of the product life cycle, saving you the risk of collective rejection.

They identify growth channels

Once you have established the product-market fit, you should begin to get a better picture of the ideal channel or channels that maximize the growth of your offering. Building on the idea that every product has an optimal distribution method, Early Adopters play a crucial role in discovering how and where to focus to reach your goals faster.

Conclusion

So what do you think?

One thing I think is clear: If you've just developed a new product or technology, no matter what industry you're in, recruiting a loyal group of Early Adopters could really make a difference to the success of your business.

They can remove all inhibitions that others would have about adopting your product, while also giving you the opportunity to test and improve your offering before it reaches the majority.

That is why it is important to "cultivate" them and stimulate them to promote your offer.

If you're wondering how you might do that, don't miss the next article where I'll give you some helpful tips and share some of the best strategies for winning over your Early Adopters.