My Start-up: Customer adoption profiles

We were asked many times to simplify the answer. Basically, customers buy products because their brain is creating a connection between stimuli, perception, and consequent adoption. For businesses though, finding the ideal customers involves a longer journey that starts with a comprehensive market research, followed by design of test stimuli (intuitive hypotheses) and ending with the direct interaction with target audiences.

Compared to correlative data such as gender, age groups, location, income level, etc., behavioural profiling means identifying causal data derived from situations, motivations, desires, and emotions. Once we understand what drives customers to act in a specific way, we can simplify the journey to customer adoption by finding meaning in the question: Why do customers buy? 

When it comes to adopting a new product, customers are split into 5 main categories:  

Enthusiasts (innovators) are people eager to try new things. Either following a rational or irrational decision-making process, they associate themselves with the importance of new products. The adopter profile in this category is mainly made of young people whose perception of risk is low, or people with a high income and whose perception of loss when adopting a new product is neglected. Enthusiasts are the first type of customers that are pushing a product’s adoption process. Enthusiasts make about 2.5% of all adopters.

Visionaries (early adopters) are people that exercise cautiousness when adopting new products. Their decision-making process is slower, and the acquisition process is not guided by the anxiety of the enthusiasts. Up to some extent they exercise a simple form of analysis in the adoption process. Visionaries are 13.5%.

Pragmatists (early majority) are a group that adopts new products after having proof that others adopted them. This is the largest group of adopters and their decision of adoption has a large influence on the evolution of the products in the market. They are the ones that stabilize the sales of the product and account for about 34% of total adopters.

Conservatives (late majority) are a group whose size is the same with pragmatists. Their perception of risk is the highest amongst all the groups. This group is price-oriented; the decision-making process is long and therefore they adopt only when convinced that they made the right decision. It is likely that they adopt the product when the product itself becomes obsolete.

Sceptics (laggards) are suspicious people whose interaction with novelty is perceived as a threat. They are bond to their comfort zone, and they are the last group to adopt a product. The group is made mainly of elderly people or people with strong bonds to their past or cultural background. They are the ones that adopt the product pushed by circumstances, and they account for 16% of the total adopters.

Our 2021 UK market survey revealed that over 80% of the SMEs selling products or services directly to the customers, are transforming the search of the ideal customer into a resource wasting exercise. They are continuously draining time in the hope they will get to understand their audiences at some point. Most of them rely on platforms or algorithms whose functionality they do not understand and whose expectations cannot be measured.

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