To be successful in any business, you need to understand the product lifecycle and how consumers behave when it comes to technology adoption. Not everyone will buy into your product at the same time. Understanding the fundamental behaviour of consumers and the lifespan of products can help ensure its success. This especially applies if you’re in a new or growing market because you may not even know who your customers are yet.
The Lifecycle Explained
The product lifecycle consists of launch, growth, maturity and decline. This cycle begins with the product being introduced to the marketplace, seeing initial sales and increasing brand awareness. Then, sales are maximised in the market, and finally, sales begin to decrease after the saturation point is reached.
In an industry such as engineering, these stages are even more important due to the constant development of new technologies. The reality is that, innovative products eventually become outdated and excessive. However, this is a natural part of the technology adoption lifecycle. By gaining a deeper understanding of it, you can make it work to your advantage by targeting customers more successfully.
At each stage of the product lifecycle you will find different types of consumer. They are as follows:
Innovators – This small minority are the first people to adopt new technology. They are your advocates, your faithful followers; they are well-educated in your industry and willing to take a risk.
Early Adopters – Not far behind innovators, early adopters are quick to adopt new technology and have similar traits, but they are less outward in promoting their choices.
Early Majority – Slower in adopting technology, they take their cues from innovators and early adopters, but they still see the merits in the early adoption process.
Late Majority – Generally sceptical about new innovations, the late majority will wait for most of society to conform before committing.
Laggards – As the last adopters, these tend to be older individuals with little or no contact with innovators or early adopters, and they are typically averse to change.
How to work the lifecycle in your favour
Knowing the technology adoption lifecycle means you can aim your products at the right customers at the right time. The key to this process is to make the innovators your closest followers because they will be your first and strongest advocates. If you can target these innovators and make them your allies, they’ll willingly share your content on social media, defend your decisions and actively promote your business. In addition, they tend to have more contact with other innovators and early adopters, which can make it easier to reach your target audience.
Find and Attract Innovators
Naturally, innovators don’t just appear when you want them to, so you’ll need to be savvy and find them yourself. They will most likely be people who are already interested in the industry. You can join groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to find them and make contacts. You can also use your existing network – friends, colleagues, suppliers and existing customers. These individuals may be innovators themselves or they may be able to open avenues to people who are.
Once you’ve identified the innovators, you need to engage with them to spark interest. A great way to do this is through social media. Create compelling and informative content on your blog and social media pages to get them interacting with you and sharing your ideas. Also, make them feel valued by offering them special discounts, product previews or invites to exclusive industry events.
The key to working the cycle in your favour is to really get the innovators and early adopters on board so they will propel your brand forward in the minds of others. By following this plan and using the lifecycle knowledge to pitch and promote your products more effectively, you will reap the rewards.