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Innovators

Innovators

Most marketers are aware of AIDA – Attention, Interest, Decision and Action. I, for instance, have been awaiting the iPhone since Apple invented the Newton PDA – it had my attention 10+ years ago. I have all the information about the iPhone a human could need. But I will not purchase it until it can be hooked up to external devices – especially a keyboard.

[Note: My thought process goes something like this: my friends at the Art Institute of Chicago and Circle Campus had fabric, roll-up keyboards attached to their Bally computers (with audio cassette drives (really)) in the 1970s. Why would I buy an ultra-modern computer unable to connect to peripherals in the 21st century? Sorry, not me.}

What Does This Mean for Your Marketing Efforts?

But reasons and specific features aside, what does this example mean to your product, your service, your marketing efforts? Well, soon to be out-of-date, tech example aside, this is an example of where AIDA, Adoption-Diffusion, Social Media, Marketing and Operations meet.

Obviously Apple spent the ad dollars to garner everyone's attention, and posted enough information for me to make a decision. AIDA is satisfied. But Adoption-Diffusion is different. Always a bell curve, Innovators, Early Adopters, Middle and Late Adopters and Laggards choose based on perceived needs. Until Operations makes changes to the product, I will be a laggard.

This is undoubtedly a deliberate decision by Apple. Someone at Apple decided: we have a good enough product for this launch; we don't need those people who require more; we'll get them later, if ever.

But what if they were wrong (and for serious salespeople and business professionals, they might be!)? What if the vast majority of us wanted the ability to hook up peripherals? The Palm Pre is planning it. Blackberry can do it now. How would you know how important a feature set might be to your prospects, ahead of time?

New Approaches to Market Research

Market research. Pure, fundamental focus groups, questionnaires and client/user-group input. But also, what if you were to use social media to research your product before launch? I'm not saying Apple would have given the iPhone peripheral connectivity if they had adopted Twitter. But what if you used your Facebook and Twitter accounts to build an international support group, and create a [the name of your developing product/service here] Wiki, especially in the early design and marketing development stages? What input would you get from various communities with interest in your product development?

Of course, your competitors would love to be part of your social media community as well. But there are ways to deal with that. The point is, there’s more to Twitter than Twits, more to Facebook than pretty Faces. Collaboration can be a powerful tool – if and when used judiciously. Doing so in 2008 would have been innovative. In 2009, using social media for product research is still ahead of the bell curve. By next year, it will be standard operating procedure.

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