How To Market To Technology Innovators, Part 1

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If there’s one marketing model every high-tech marketing manager should know, it’s the Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC). The TALC is the paradigm that describes their prospects’ mindsets your sales staff is likely to encounter as they market your products and services. And it all begins with the technologists themselves: the Innovators.

Innovators are the first market you’re likely to encounter when marketing high technology products and services. These are the people highlighted in the far left-hand side of the curve you see above. They love to be the first ones to jump on a new technology. And for good reason: they’re technologists, themselves.

These technology enthusiasts sometimes go by other names. Things like “techie,” “computer-nerd,” or “propeller-head.” They’ll appreciate your technology product simply because it’s cool. Oh, and if it happens to have an advantage over what they’re using now, so much the better.

As Geoffrey Moore says in his landmark book, “Crossing The Chasm,”…

“They [Innovators] will forgive your ghastly documentation, horrendously slow performance, ludicrous omissions in functionality, and bizzarely obtuse methods of invoking some needed function – all in the name of moving technology forward.”

You have to market to innovators before you can get the attention of the early adopters. And it’s a good thing: these guys are technology savvy enough to give the early adopters the thumbs-up.

So by all rights, this group should be a pretty easy one to market to. Yet I see high-tech companies miss the boat all the time when marketing to them.

B2B Copywriting: Getting Innovators’ Attention

Innovators care about technology issues first. If they care about business issues at all (admittedly, few do) they weigh in at a very distant second. So business benefits won’t get an innovator’s attention.

What will get his attention is new technology – “new” is the operative word. They want to be the first to get a new widget that accomplishes something cool that has never been done before. They’re happy to sign your non-disclosure agreement, as long as they can be among the first to get their hands on your widget.

Innovators have the most advanced brains in the company (really, they do), and they know it. So tell them so in your copy. Paint them a word picture of themselves being part of an exclusive group of advanced engineers who truly appreciate what your breakthrough technology means to the unsuspecting world.

One other thing about innovators: they know they have to live within the confines of corporate America. But that doesn’t mean they have to like it. Though they may not admit it outright, they have a sharp disdain for the “suits” who limit their creativity by demanding something so mundane as a return on investment.

In my next article, I’ll give you an example of direct response copy I’ve written to these Innovators that worked very well in the past. So watch for Part 2 in this series.

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