Marketing High Tech to Innovators and Early Adopters

Three reasons targeting influencers is a smart move for technology companies

Want to create a buzz around your high-tech product or service? Focus on impressing customers on the leading edge of innovation. Tech-savvy consumers have an easier time overcoming the barriers to entry that often accompany new or improved technologies, and they are more likely to share their opinions with others.

Key reasons to market to innovators and early adopters when marketing high-tech products:

A well-known sociological model known as the technology adoption lifecycle can give high tech marketers significant insight into the demographic and psychological drivers behind consumer behavior. One of those insights is how marketers can leverage the behaviors of innovators and early adopters to reach slow-to-convert audiences. Here are three reasons marketing to influencers first can help your high-tech brand build momentum with other demographics.

  1. Influencers want to be first
    Innovators, the alpha-dog of influencers, take pride in being the first to know about, try and/or have something before everyone else. This is one reason big tech brands like Apple often don’t have to advertise new products. Innovators tend to know about new technologies before they are released, and they are likely to be first in line when those technologies hit store shelves. Innovators may not even need the new product, service or upgrade, but their FOMO (fear of missing out) drives them to purchase and upgrade often.

Early adopters are one step behind innovators. They may not be as willing to stand in long lines for the newest technologies, but they are still more motivated to stay current than the general population. Both types of consumers are on the leading edge of technology; they are willing to take a risk and spend substantial amounts of money to try new innovations at an early stage.

TIP: Appealing to influencers first can quickly build sales and credibility for new products and innovations. Influencers are motivated by special editions and limited quantity offers that make early purchases feel even more special. Social media offers that heighten their FOMO can be especially effective. 

  1. Influencers want to share their opinions
    Tech-savvy early adopters love to review products and services if for no other reason than to prove that they tried them first. These types of consumers are particularly apt to use social media to comment if they are excited about a specific feature, upgrade or if less than enthusiastic about a product.

In a consumer survey, 88% of respondents said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Source)

That’s a compelling reason to ensure that influencers are leaving as many reviews as possible, whether positive or negative. Any insights into your product may make the process of comparing/contrasting easier for late adopters/laggards.

TIP: High-tech marketers can use a variety of techniques to acquire reviews of their company’s products or services. The easiest approach is to institute a simple rating system right on your website, the same way that large retailers like Amazon do, and asking for reviews in after-purchase emails. Another important step is to post both positive and negative reviews to your social media accounts. Whenever possible, respond to negative reviews to clarify any misconceptions and emphasize your company’s commitment to customer service.

  1. Influencers can help socialize your high-tech product or service
    Innovators and early adopters are the “cool kids” of technology, because they do their homework, understand the technical details and make trying new technologies seem less daunting for their less-savvy friends and family members.

Influencers love having this sort of credibility among their peers, so they are great at creating a buzz around new products and services. The key is making sure that their experience with your high-tech brand is as seamless as possible. After all, if trying or buying your product/service is difficult for early adopters, it won’t even be a consideration for those in their circle of influence.

TIP: Make it easy for innovators and early adopters to try before they buy. You can allow technophiles to check out your products and services through free trial offers, in-store demonstrations and even VR experiences. Discount offers that reward influencers for spreading the word are also a good way to appeal to this groups’ desire for “first-in-line” status.

Some new products and ideas are more likely to catch on than others, but it helps to have an influential group of consumers that are more than happy to spread the word for you. Appealing to innovators and early adopters is an easy way to create such brand cheerleaders, and, if done well, can ensure they stick with you upgrade after upgrade, innovation after innovation.

Learn more about connecting with customers in my post Marketing High Tech: How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

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