Getting The Right Early Adopters On Board

Every product has a group of customers called ‘early adopters’. These are the people who download a song as soon as it comes out, have always seen the latest movies and sit on the internet hitting the refresh button until Ticketmaster opens ticket sales to the latest must-see concert. But while a new product may be selling really well, could it actually signal a future of unpopularity?


Do you often find yourself in love with songs from one-hit wonders? Becoming a dedicated fan of a television show before it is cancelled after the first season? Falling in love with musicals which only last two weeks? Buying iSnack 2.0?

Well, you are not alone.

A recent study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that 13% of all customers systematically purchase new products that later prove to be unsuccessful. In fact, this select group of people’s purchasing habits are so consistent that their early adoption is a strong signal that a product will fail!

This is rather concerning research for marketers across the world because it places a big question mark over initial sale results. Is this album actually really popular? Will this show continue to sell out the theatre every night?

Ultimately, it comes back to why the customers are engaging with this product.

Could your customers have a penchant for novel products? Or could they simply have uncool taste?

It is important to look closely at your early adopters. If the people jumping on the bandwagon first have great influence over their friends and tend to signal the latest trends in their social groups, then these are the people who you want spreading word about a new entertainment product. Instead, if the early adopters are not the trend setters with a strong sway over their social group, then they don’t have the power to bring all their friends on board.

It is why lots of celebrities are invited to opening nights for the movies and the theatre. These people have the sway to bring all their followers rushing into the cinema or theatre behind them. If the audiences who are coming through the door don’t have the ability to encourage powerful word-of-mouth then your entertainment offer will probably lack the traction to develop a strong following immediately.

That isn’t to say it won’t there – but it will certainly have a much harder battle up the hill to popularity.

It is the trendsetters who you need to listen to during product development. The customers right on the edge of each fashion break-out, the super-geeks lining up at the door of every Apple launch and the people who are always listening to the latest music. They are the ones who will guarantee the future success of our album, show or movie and they will bring the right people with them.