After you have the Innovators’ buy-in and support, you’re ready for the next hurdle to marketing your technology product: Early Adopters. They are the second mindset you must capture in moving forward in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. They have as much vision as the Innovators do, but they care about your product for very different reasons…
The Difference Between Innovators and Early Adopters
While Innovators care about your technology for technology’s sake, Early Adopters go one step further. They care about your technology because they envision using it to give them a strategic business advantage. An advantage that they hope will propel their company (and their own careers) into a position of market leadership in their space.
They also don’t mind taking a few risks to get that advantage. As a matter of fact, they’re looking for a few calculated risks they believe will pay off for them. That’s a key point when writing lead generation copy to early adopters. These guys are looking for a change agent. A fundamental breakthrough that will help them realize the ideal of market leadership.
Early Adopters aren’t technologists. They’re entrepreneurs. They know what superior technology could mean to their businesses, but they don’t fully understand the bits and bytes themselves.
As a result, they look to the Innovators (the first group in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle), for the thumbs up. That’s why you have to get the Innovators on your side before you have any hope of winning over the Early Adopters.
But if you’re successful, you’ll see a significant jump in revenue that will give your technology product a real financial boost. Not to mention your own career.
How a B2B Copywriter Aims At Early Adopters
There’s one big key point to remember when writing copy to visionaries. And it plays directly into your hands as a B2B copywriter, especially for the early adopters. Here it is: visionaries are always in a hurry.
They see their dreams as materializing only within a small window of opportunity. If they miss that window, they can hang it up. Most entrepreneurs are this way. That’s why you see so many biz-opp direct mail packages that emphasize taking action right now. These guys absolutely lust over that one big time-sensitive score.
Your copy needs to prove to them that all the conditions are right. All the planets are aligned. And everyone is primed and ready to jump on the breakthrough your product represents. And they can have it all if they just give you your most-wanted-response.
One thing that can help you here is if you’ve got some major ground-breaking event going on in your industry. If you can somehow tie that event in with the notion that your product fulfills their dream, you’ve got a very convincing argument in your favor.
Here is an excerpt from some high-tech advertising copy I wrote back in 2002 when the CORBA technology was fading in favor of XML Web Services…
If Both Microsoft And IBM Agree On Something, We’d All Better Listen
It’s no secret. Microsoft and IBM hate each other. Both of these 800-lb gorillas in the distributed computing spaced have been trying to bury the other one for a long time now. But they’ve finally agreed on something. Something BIG. And it will mean a big competitive advantage for those few companies with the vision to see where it’s going.
Both of these behemoths have just put the industry on notice to what will surely be a new standard in distributed systems: XML Web Services via UDDI – a directory of available web services that can be executed by any technology. Java. .Net. You name it.
By opening up their respective UDDI portals (uddi.microsoft.com & uddi.ibm.com), they have paved the way for web service publishers to sell their strategic proprietary algorithms quickly and easily.
Not only does this represent a technological breakthrough. It also means the last nail is about to be driven into the CORBA coffin. CORBA is much slower and more expensive to deliver (and it also doesn’t help that only 5 people on the planet have the skills necessary to wire it up).
That’s why [company name withheld]’s [product name withheld] represents an opportunity for a few astute IT firms to take advantage of this trend before it starts up the exponential profit curve. For those who get in on it now, the results will be staggeringly profitable. Here’s how…
Now, granted, UDDI never really amounted to a whole lot for a number of reasons (I’ll talk more about this in future posts). But XML Web Services are definitely here to stay. And those early adopters (along with their entrepreneurial spirits) who saw it coming in the early days are glad they did.
But that’s the point: you’ve got to share the vision with the early adopter if you want to get his attention. Paint a picture of him succeeding with you product at a time when few others will, and you’ve got a strong b2b marketing piece. And if you’ve got a cataclysmic event going on in your industry that supports your argument, take advantage of it like I did with the promo above.
Some Early Adopter Caveats
When you write to early adopters, you have to keep in mind what drives them: the dream. That “dream” is a double-edged sword. Even though early adopters “get it,” they’re hard to please once your product is in place. That’s because their dream is unique to them. So the chances that your product matches up perfectly with every facet of their happy-day solution is pretty slim.
So don’t feel badly if you don’t feel badly if you can’t get closure with Early Adopters. You probably won’t.
But you have to get the Early Adopters on board before you can “Cross the Chasm” to get to the first big profitable segment of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle – The Early Majority.