Importance of Innovators
If, like me, you believe your greatest marketing and sales tool is through advocacy and referral, having others talk about your product, getting them selling the virtues of how your solution will benefit likeminded customers with the same need then you will believe this approach will drive the strongest growth and, if you get it right, a strong bond between you and your customer base going forward.
I have never, over the years, found a greater marketing and sales machine than ‘bought into customers’. The client, through developing a great relationship with you, then progresses to buying into the brand and solutions you deliver. They become your unofficial ambassadors.
The first and the greatest voice of these customers you want onboard, are the customers that everyone is looking towards to guide the market, these are your innovators. If you are entering into an existing market with a new product, and you have a prior relationship with any of this influential group then gather them together to give them a close up look at your product. Get them excited and engaged so they will talk about and promote your product.
If it is a new market, you are going to have to do some work on segmentation of the market and start building personas as to what an innovator looks like in this new market. Then start to build relationships with these innovators either on a 1-2-1 basis or via group consultation.
In a new market, once the innovators have bought into your culture and vision, you need to show how working with you will help change the market. When they are excited with the vision, get them engaged with the product you are going to launch. You can do this in a number of ways but here are some ideas: Offer them an incentive to take a look at your new product before anyone else; get them on the pilot providing feedback; offer them a sizable free subscription.
Ultimately whatever tool you are using to bring the innovators onboard, if you can get the innovators to understand and start talking to the market about the value of the product you are launching, you will move from the innovator to early adopter phase of the maturity model much quicker than through direct mailing or other marketing techniques.
Remember, innovators generally are happy to take a risk on a new solution if they feel it gives them a competitive advantage.