As Bryce Ryan & Neal Gross describe on The Diffusion Process (1943), there are six different types of adopters –based on the amount of time Iowa farmers took to adopt new innovations.
Innovators (2.5%). Risk takers who have the resources and desire to try new things, even if they fail.
Early Adopters (13.5%). Selective about which technologies they start using. They are considered the "one to check in with" for new information and reduce others' uncertainty about a new technology by adopting it.
Early Majority (34%). Take their time before adopting a new idea. They are willing to embrace a new technology as long as they understand how it fits with their lives.
Late Majority (34%). Adopt in reaction to peer pressure, emerging norms, or economic necessity. Most of the uncertainty around an idea must be resolved before they adopt.
Laggards (16%). Traditional and make decisions based on past experience. They are often economically unable to take risks on new ideas.
Seth Godin explains why is it important to capture the attention of innovators and early adopters in his TED Talk On Sliced Bread:
Innovators and early adopters care. This people are obsessed with something. When you talk to them they will listen because they like listening, its about them. And if you are lucky, they will tell their friends, at the rest of the curve. And it will spread. It will spread to the entire curve.
It is almost impossible to market something that is not related to an otaku —a japanese word that describes the desire of someone who is obsessed with something.
New products should be appealing for early adopters and innovators, because they will be the ones to market it for you for free, if they like it.
Image | Wikipedia