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New isn't always a turn on

There are a few magic words in the marketing manager's lexicon. Words such as 'free', 'extra', and 'new' are reckoned to have great pulling power. But not everyone sees 'new' as a good thing. Taking the population as a whole people differ markedly in their readiness to try new products. The response tends to cut across conventional categories of class, wealth, sex or age and the population can usefully be categorised by their response time to innovations and new products.

Different strokes for different folks

So called 'Innovators' are few, accounting for just 4% of the population, but they are always first to try new products. They are excited by novelty, want to know all the details, and are prepared to pay high prices to be first.

'Early adopters', about 13% of the population, are close behind the Innovators in buying the product and spreading the word. They are interested and receptive to the message and will pay a premium for the novelty.

Once the product is proven the 'Early majority', generally a third of the population, are happy to buy. They are less interested in the product, as a product, but are pragmatic about the benefits and are more down to earth about price.

The 'Late majority', also around a third, are cautious and come into the market when everyone around them has bought and the product is not new. They just want the benefits reliably and cheaply. They don't want to know how the product works, and they don't expect to pay a premium for an ordinary purchase without some compelling argument.

The 'Laggards', around 16% of the population, need convincing before they buy and are largely immune to any excitement in the product. They may resent having to buy it at all.

Who is buying what from you now?

It's estimated now that nationally, in the direct sell market, PVC replacement windows are positioned somewhere between the Late Majority and the Laggards, conservatories between the Early and Late Majority, roofline in the Early Adopters and composite doors just moving from the Innovators to the Early Adopters. In your locality it may be a little different.

It's worth thinking about and keeping an eye on this because it matters a great deal. How you sell, the language you use, and the price you can command change considerably depending on who you're selling to, and how your market develops. Use the wrong language, talk about the wrong things and you will kill the sale. Each market is at a different stage of development. Successful marketing demands an appropriate and different tack for each market.

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