Consumer Adoption Curve

How To Launch & Grow Your Product | Product Development Series

Now that you’ve put in the countless hours perfecting your initial product and preparing for launch, it’s finally time to launch your product!

What should be done thus far

If you have any questions about how to get to this point please refer to one of the following previous blog posts.

Product Development – Pre-Launch Checklist
  • Identify a problem
  • Determine and design your initial Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
  • Build a prototype MVP
  • Test your prototype MVP with potential customers and gain feedback
  • Iterate on your MVP or proceed
  • Choose your launch method
  • Determine your budget and business plan
  • Build your sales and marketing plan
  • Source production
  • Line up fulfillment
  • Price your product

Launch Your Product!

Launching your product may be one of the most anti-climatic experiences of your life or one of the most stressful depending upon the existing demand for your product. With the exception of the rare brilliantly positioned products that have massive market demand on day 1, most products don’t fly off the shelves during launch. Instead, most products and brands take years of hard work building market demand and educating the market on product advantages.

Note: If you are launching with a large crowdfunding campaign you will need to meet about half of your goal within the first 48 hours of launch to gain the momentum it takes to succeed. Please refer to “Crowdfunding” under “Choosing Your Launch Method” in Launch Preparation – Part 1.

Start Growing Your Product and Brand

Now that your product is launched, its time to drive traffic, make sales, and build your brand!

Before you get started its good to understand how new products are adopted by consumers. Initially you’ll be targeting only a small segment of your total potential customers. The following consumer adoption curve is an approximation of typical market behavior, your experience may vary.

Consumer Adoption Curve
Consumer Adoption Curve
Innovators – 2.5% of total potential customers

Customers that fit the innovator profile are a small but critical segment. Innovators will be your very first target customers and typically have the following profile:

  • Actively search the market for new products
  • Want to be the first to try new products
  • A high risk tolerance allowing them to adopt technologies and products that may fail
  • Greater financial resources to help absorb taking on risks with new products
  • Closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators
  • Enjoy researching products and technology
  • Strong interest in data and evidence
  • Highest social status
  • Highly educated
  • Disagreeable going against the accepted norm

*Your typical super backer on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites are innovators.

Early Adopters – 13.5% of total potential customers

Once you begin selling to early adopters your sales should see a substantial increase as your customer base roughly increases by 6x. Early Adopters are the second fastest customers to adopt new products and solutions.

  • Highest degree of opinion leadership
  • Great influence over others
  • Higher social status
  • Financial resources that allow them to accept moderate risk
  • Typically have advanced degrees and are open to rationalize new technologies and products
  • More discreet in adoption choices of new products and technologies than innovators
Crossing the Chasm

The chasm is a hard to cross growth barrier that typically occurs between a technology being adopted by early adopters and the early majority, though it may also occur during the early adopter segment.

Crossing the chasm requires convincing the skeptical majority, who are less inclined to accepting risk, of the benefits of your product or technology. During this time you may face push back from dissatisfied early customers, tough competitors, and unhappy investors.

In order to cross the chasm you may need to increase your marketing and branding efforts to win the approval of influencers within the market. Once enough influencers accepts the product or technology it will begin gaining traction and start to become the new paradigm. After you cross the chasm growth typically explodes as you now have access to a much larger market and can expect a substantial word of mouth campaign.

Early Majority – 34% of total potential customers

Now that you have successfully crossed the chasm you will have access to the majority of the market who less accepting of risk.

  • Wait until a technology or product has been proven
  • Only buy from established brands
  • Above average social status
  • In contact with early adopters
  • Financially better off than late majority
  • Comfortable with their ability to master new technology and products
Late Majority – 34% of total potential customers

The late majority share many similar characteristics to the early majority. The major difference between the late majority and early majority is ability to accept risk and confidence to master new technologies and products.

  • Wait for products to be developed and designed for the mass market
  • More interested in user-friendly products with a low learning curve
  • Lower financial resources make them more risk averse
Laggards – 16% of total potential customers

Now that you have saturated the market with a new solution, the last to adopt it are laggards. Laggards many times only buy into a new solution if it has become so pervasive in the market that they have no choice but to use it. They typically do not offer strong profit margins as they require low prices, and a lot of support in training.

  • Strong resistance to change
  • Only adopt a solution if required by the market

Initiate Your Sales & Marketing Plan

With your product launched and available for purchase its time to tell the world. Don’t expect anyone to simply stumble across your product because it’s on your website. If you aren’t actively getting out your message and product advantages then it might just as well not be released at all. Your sales & marketing plan should have been made while preparing for launch.

If you have any questions about different sales & marketing options, please refer to the launch preparation – part 1 post.

Grow Your Brand

Have you ever wondered why you have never seen a soft drink supplier surpass Coca-Cola┬« and Pepsi┬«? It’s because of how strong their brands are. Building a strong brand requires a lot of time and effort, but offers massive returns. With a strong brand, you can launch new products and reach the majority of the market far faster thanks to lowered skepticism due to consumers being comfortable with your brand.

Having a weak brand can also be detrimental to future success. If you don’t outright lose a customer forever due to a bad experience, it can take about twenty good experiences with your brand to counteract one bad experience. This is why customer satisfaction should be at the forefront of your strategy. When a customer feels that their experience was above their expectations they are far more likely to recommend your brand to those they have high influence over. However, a customer who had a bad experience will also go out of their way to warn others to stay away and can destroy your ability to grow.

By building a strong brand that customers have associated with consistently exceeding their expectations you can grow a strong word of mouth campaign and earn life long customers.

Congratulations on launching and growing your product!

We wish you the best of luck in your journey to market adoption.

If you have a product idea and are in need of engineering assistance, our experienced mechanical design and analysis engineers are ready to assist you make your idea a reality with our engineering services!

Please comment below if you have any recommendations on specific topics to be covered in the future.

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