I’ve been taking a few classes over the last 18 months and I’m in the midst of social media marketing. In this week’s reading, there was something called “diffusion of innovation” theory. Although the class is all about social media, the reading reminded me of what marketing is about. It reminded me that I sometimes get caught up in the whizz-bang of the technology and the roll out.
The “diffusion of innovation” theory is defined as the rate that consumers will try and integrate a product into their lives. As marketers, we make our best guess every time we roll out something new. Currently, we are rolling out an over-the-top offer with fewer channels. The industry calls it a “skinny bundle”. Sounds easy enough. I mean…really… our customers think about technology 24/7 like we do. Right? Not!
The theory of “diffusion of innovation” talks about four things that are necessary for consumers to even consider a new product or service.
- First, whatever it is has to be better than what they currently have. It may be that it costs less per month or offers an extra option. We’ve heard the statement, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We don’t want to fix it, we want to make it better. The customer has to understand the value.
- Second, a free sample or a no strings trial period. This goes back to a free month or two, no installation costs, no commitment to keep. Yes, that means no contract. I know that is hard for a service provider. I think our eyes twitch when we say “no contract”.
- Third, the product or service has to integrate easily into daily life without a lot of changes. Everyone is busy. Take the consumer’s daily demands into consideration. It can’t be all about us.
- Finally, it has to be simple. We are all familiar with the KISS concept. Keep it simple stupid. If it is too complicated for us, think about the consumer. When I see something that has a user guide 105 pages long or customer reviews that say “took two hours and a blow torch”, I normally move on.
I don’t think the steps of this “diffusion of innovation” theory are new to us. The steps remind me to enjoy the roll-out and the whizz-bang technology, but to stay focused on the consumer. I am their advocate. Concentrate on how the product or service fulfills their wants and needs. Be market-driven. The market is the consumer.