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How to Market To Pragmatists, Part 1

OK. You’ve gotten the buy-in of the technology-loving Innovators. They like your product and have given the thumbs-up to their business counterparts, the Early Adopters. You’ve shared your vision for a once-in-a-lifetime breakthrough with these visionaries, and they’re on board. They’ve assumed the risk to get the big reward your landmark technology represents.

Good work. You’ve laid the foundation for a huge landmark B2B marketing success story. There’s just one problem. Money. True, these first two market segments must be conquered before you can move forward. But you can’t make a living selling only to them. The real money lies in the next segment of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle: The Early Majority. And getting there will be no picnic. Here’s why…

Technology Adoption Life Cycle

The Early Majority: Pragmatists

The Early Majority like to refer to themselves as the pragmatists. Which is one reason it’s so hard to sell to them: they quietly and consistently get their work done. In so doing, they shun the lime light and try not to draw attention to themselves.

Even after meeting challenging milestones, they’d just as soon not be recognized at the year-end company functions, lest they become a “target” for politically-motivated corporate climbers who might have the power to sabotage their careers.

What Pragmatists Value Determines How You Should Write To Them

Whereas the Early Adopters want a change agent for the purpose of taking a calculated risk, the Pragmatists don’t want to take any risk. They don’t want to hear the words “leading edge”. They want to hear “industry standard.” They don’t want to “change the world.” They want a reliable, measurable “percentage improvement.”

They’ll often gather all the information they can find, put it into an Excel spreadsheet, and create their own feature matrix to compare your offerings with those of your competitors.

Since you know they’re going to do this anyway, why not do it for them? If you know your product can win a feature war, put it in tabular form in your body copy as eye candy for the pragmatists. Like this…

Feature Matrix

Another interesting psychographic of pragmatists is how the view pricing. Because they’re so safety conscious, they’re willing to pay a premium for top quality. But if your product isn’t materially different from your competitors’, they demand the best deal.

Pragmatists are also very safety conscious regarding their technology buying decisions. They want to hear that you there’s a support system available 24 x 7 ready to help them with any problem should things go wrong. Therefore, you need to reassure them in your copy that you absolutely will not let them fail.

That’s why they like buying the industry standard – They know the “big player” in any technology space is usually accompanied by a network of companies offering training, support, and professional services. This adds to their feeling of safety and security.

That brings up an opportunity for the B2B copywriter who targets the early majority pragmatists. I’ll share that opportunity with you in tomorrow’s post.

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