|The Internet—introduction||Using the Internet effectively||Print media use study|
|Making Web pages better||Technology marketing models||Conclusions||References|
In the 1950s and ‘60s, social scientists researched the behavior patterns of communities when they were introduced to "’discontinuous innovations,’ new products or services that force people to change their past behavior" 14. From these studies, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle was developed. The model separated people into five consumer classes, each one defined by a different set of values and acceptance.
The first group the model identified were the "innovators." These people were technology enthusiasts who were eager to embrace new products and services that may have the potential to improve their lives. Although innovators usually did not have the money to purchase these items, they were the first to express interest in new technologies and new ideas. They were also likely to have the power to influence others—especially those who did have the money to make major purchases—to adopt the technology 15.
"Early adopters" were the second type of person described in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. They were heralded as "visionaries within the business and government community who look to innovation to give them significant competitive advantage" 16. Unlike innovators, they had the money to purchase the technologically advanced products or services, but they were more practical and more demanding than the previous group. They often wanted the product customized to meet their specific needs; however, they were willing to pay for these alterations.
Most consumers in this model fit into the category of the "early majority." This category accounted for most technology purchases. Members of this category were found to be interested in new products not for the technology they represented, but for the value the products could bring to their own lives. The study found these people "believed in evolution rather than revolution" 17.
The fourth category in the study was labeled the "late majority." People in the late majority slot were "conservatives who were inherently pessimistic about their ability to gain advantage from technology and made purchases only when it became apparent that they were in danger of being left behind" 18. In addition, they were very concerned about price, and extremely demanding about the quality and serviceability of the product.
The fifth group was labeled as "laggards"; they were skeptical of technology and were more likely to criticize it than to purchase it. The study pointed out that "although they are difficult to sell to, they cannot be completely ignored, because there is always the danger that their skepticism will infect the majority" 19.
In "Tech Marketing Comes of Age," an article in Reputation Management, this new model is explained:
In the early market, a holdover from the old Technology Adoption Life Cycle, companies are marketing their products almost exclusively to visionaries and technology enthusiasts. The chasm is the point at which the early market’s interest wanes and the mainstream market is not yet comfortable with the new product, and it is best crossed by marketing in the bowling alley—by selecting niches within the mainstream market, customizing the product to meet the requirements of a particular niche, and then advancing niche by niche to widespread acceptance. When enough bowling pins have been knocked down, the tornado begins. In the tornado, which is marked by suddenly overheated demand, companies must forget the customer focus that helped them in the bowling alley and concentrate on shipping enough product to meet demand. The companies that survive the tornado find themselves on Main Street, refining the product and marketing it to a mass consumer audience. 22The market of the 1990s is indeed carved into niches, and companies concern themselves with pleasing the people within the niches they want to dominate. In the above model, Main Street can be viewed as Wall Street—only the most successful companies can have their stocks traded in the famous market. Hi-tech corporations—especially computer hardware and software manufacturers—have moved to Main Street through this model. In today’s technologically advanced world, success does not happen all at once, but in bits and pieces.