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 Learning From Laggards

Any B2B Copywriter who markets high-tech products and services needs to learn how to reach every segment of technology adoption life cycle. All of the market segments have a separate and distinct psychographics. And each demands a different strategy that you should use in your advertising copy. Except this one…

Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Why We Don’t Market To Laggards

Laggards differ from the Late Majority conservatives in one significant way. Conservatives will accept the benefits your technology brings as long as they don’t have to lift a finger to get them. Laggards wouldn’t take your product’s benefits even if you paid them.

As Geoffrey Moore says in “Crossing the Chasm,” laggards are the quintessential skeptics. They don’t participate in high-tech product evaluations. The only effect they ever have in any purchasing decision is to block it.

That being the case, the best you can do with laggards in your B2B sales cycle is neutralize their influence. But that will have to be done in person by your outside sales force, not by your ad copy.

That’s why the title of this post is “learning from” the laggards instead of marketing to them. Because you can’t market to them. Nor will you ever write high-tech marketing copy aimed at them (I never have).

So if you can’t market to laggards, then what good are they?

The Valuable Service Laggards Provide High-Tech Marketers

As crazy as it sounds, you can learn a lot from laggards. Though they don’t like your technology, they always have a reason. And in an effort to make themselves appear indispensable to their company, they’ll be glad to tell you why. You and everybody within earshot.

As Moore says, the laggard’s objection usually revolves around the notion of the “whole product.” That means he may understand your product provides some features that provide benefits. But there may be holes – benefits the laggard needs that your product doesn’t deliver.

If there are holes in your offering, trust me, the laggard will find them. And he’ll have a jolly good time doing so. So here’s my advice regarding laggards: listen to them.

As a marketer, you want to present your product in such a way that no reasonable human could possibly say no to it. So if you’re looking for objections to overcome, what better place to look than to the laggards? They’ll give you nothing else.

Take the objections you hear from them and come up with effective counters. You can inject them into your copy in one of two ways. Either in the form of proof elements or testimonials from customers who had the same objection, but found your product to provide benefits that overcame it.

Not only that, but it’s possible that the laggard has a valid issue with your product. If so, get that objection to R & D. Perhaps you can get a fix into an upcoming feature list. It will make your product into a stronger, more complete offering in your market space.

Bottom line is this. Just because you can’t market to laggards doesn’t mean they can’t do you any good. The can provide you with some very important market intelligence. And as competitive as the technology market is becoming in the 21st century, we copywriters need all the intelligence we can get.

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