Create A Problem That Your Innovation Solves

Riann Umaga-Marshall Odds & Ends


People buy into new products for many reasons but they are most likely swayed by others in their social groups. What problems do we face and how does this new product solve it?


The ‘Innovation Adoption Life cycle’ says that new product adopters are categorized into 5 groups.

Broadly, these 5 categories are defined as:

Innovators – venturesome, first in line, educated, quite social, financial resources and risk orientated

Early adopters – opinionated leaders, educated, young, high social status and more socially forward

Early majority – conservative but open to new ideas, adopt after a varying degree of time, socially connected informally

Late majority – skeptical, traditional, below average social status

Laggards – Little to no opinion leadership, aversion to change, older and commonly only connected to family and close friends

(Worth noting is that the categories are not fixed. For example a farmer may be an “innovator” with regard to the latest fencing but may be working with a Nokia brick phone and be a “laggard” in the smart phone market.)




The picture attached shows the innovation adoption model in blue with the overlaid sigmoid curve, in yellow, representing market share.

Research argues that adoption of a new innovation relies on factors such as how it is communicated through certain channels over time. Awareness of a new product will usually come about via ones social circles and the subsequent adoption whether early or late will also be heavily influenced by these social connections.

Entrepreneurs and marketers looking to launch a new product would benefit greatly from tailoring their strategy to what stage the product is on the curve and overlying this strategy as the product progresses along this curve.

Ok, so the point here is get to know where your product is on this curve and how you are going to tailor your marketing to ‘solve the problem’ faced by the market you need to target.

To start you may need to drum up enough attention from the innovators and early adopters who see a need in having the latest product as soon as it is released. Not a huge group in numbers but research has proven that this is the market that needs to be targeted first to get the ball rolling and create the flow on effect. This group ‘needs this latest innovation to get ahead of the game’. The question you need to ask is what social or other networks you need to target to spread product awareness in these particular groups.

Follow this up with an approach a little more tailored to mass market where you are looking to gain the largest chunk. If the previous market has adopted the innovation there is likely to be a cascading effect into the early majority and then onto the late majority. Focus the story of your product on the problem and how it solves the issue for this group.