As a mother of two girls, I absolutely loved this clever post by Julie Kurd: Fame or shame…It’s all in the industry (or the household) and her example of how the same mom that is “fabulous” to a pre-schooler is “frustrating” to a teenager.
Aside from being funny and brilliant, this post also drives home an extremely important point about market research segmentation – especially with technology purchasers. Too often we think of segmentation as being about role, geography, or industry only. In technology, I would argue that maturity is an even more important segment to consider.
Those same behaviors that Early Adopters love about you – your deep technical descriptions of everything, your willingness to change course on product development quickly, your frequent code releases – will drive most of your early majority and definitely all the late majority CRAZY!!! That same behavior that you’ve been getting positive customer feedback on for years is now generating negative feedback. Go figure?
So, the question is, can you recruit Early Adopters? It’s definitely tricky because of course people don’t identify themselves that way. For some areas it is a straightforward question – for example, if someone hasn’t done any virtualization yet in 2010, they’re definitely late majority or laggard. If they’ve already implemented a private cloud in production – clear early adopter or possibly even innovator.
But in most cases, it’s not that clear. An experienced moderator/interviewer can do some important segmentation in the analysis and credit different behaviors and feedback to maturity levels, helping you find and recruit early adopters.