How the late adopters think before buying your product

Reflections on how to sell your tech to the late adopters (50% of population)


Every day, there is a new story that the predictable adoption of innovations by Everett Rogers can explain (yes, we can predict it and reduce the product failure rate).

Today is a conversation with my mom. And I love to share it with you!

Some context: I arrived last week at my mom's place. The Internet has not enough bandwidth (speed) to have my video calls.

Me: "Mom, our internet speed is not enough to have video calls. I'm not sure if it's the wifi or what. Do you know what speed did you hired from our service provider?"

Mom: "I don't know. It is ADSL. The maximum speed of ADSL".

Me: "I'm not sure. ADSL is very old. The internet service provider installed cable in this street more than five years ago. Probably you have cable".

Mom: "I'm sure. I don't have cable."

Me: "Why not? It has way higher speed for the same price!"

Mom: "I don't care about that. To change, I have to call them, receive them during working hours. They are going to drill the wall, put an ugly wire all the way to the router place, then I have to clean all the mess. Then I don't know if it's going to work the same day and how. What's more, ADSL works with Netflix and internet navigation."

This is not new. Everett Rogers wrote about it in 1962

This is the typical behavior of a late adopter or laggard (buyer) of innovations (16% of the population). They just change when they have to. In this case, she wants me to work comfortably from her place, and that's the only reason going to push her to change ADSL to cable.

If we think a little bit about my mom's explanation, we find interesting reflections:

  1. She does not care about the higher benefits in the core product. 

  2. She's only and only talking about costs (or pains).

  3. The core job to be done (bandwidth/speed) is not as crucial as the service consumption jobs (clean, no wires/keep the design, no disruptions in my day...).

If we research this same customer profile, maybe we can even find that there is an opportunity for cable providers to build differentiation and capture a big piece of this segment of adopters.

But this growth opportunity will not be captured with higher cable speeds or bandwidth. Not with better wifi. 

This growth opportunity, if confirmed by research, can be be captured with a series of added services or intangibles to reduce adoption costs and risk perception, creating a "whole product" to better serve this adopter profile:

  1. Guarantee there will be no visible wires

  2. Add a cleaning service

  3. Provide the service after regular working hours

  4. Provide education

  5. Provide configuration and the service working the same day guaranteed

  6. Position the product and create the appropriate messaging

  7. Sell through a familiar channel for this kind of late-market (direct call or letter)

At Escape Velocity we like to use the Low Risk Recipe by Warren Schirtzinger as the most robust “whole product” framework to help innovations succeed in the mainstream market. Our recipe shows what intangibles do we have to focus as the technology adoption evolves (and the market matures), predicting what to do next and enabling to build differentiation in advance:

Final thoughts

16% of the population (the laggards) think this way to adopt products/innovations. 

With a 34% of the population, the late-majority, want to avoid risks and reduce costs similarly. 

That's half of the population (16% + 34%)! Can your business afford to obviate this?

The way you build differentiation, GoToMarket, and position your product must change as the market matures to increase market share and create a market-leading product.

Early-market needs are not the same as late-market needs. Thus early-market businesses should not be the same as late-market businesses. This is where a customer-alignment strategy helps.

Do you know what is your innovation adoption stage? Do you know what intangibles are important for your customer to build differentiation? What strategic initiatives are you implementing to align your business to your ideal customer profile and grow your product?


If you don’t have an answer for these or other questions to achieve sustainable grow for your product/innovation, we can help you.

Let's Talk Growth