The Right Side of the Bell Curve
BY NADIA PALACIOS
There have been very few products in the marketplace that, upon their introduction to the public, have caused people to line up for hours to get a hold of them. From the latest version of the IPhone to the newest Air Jordans, there was something about such items that had consumers wake up beyond a reasonable hour to be the first in line to purchase them or sometimes even pay others to hold their spot in line.
Why? They could have easily gotten all the sleep they needed and avoided a line by simply waiting a few hours. The people who lined up to get the latest IPhone would’ve still gotten that same IPhone if they had gone to the store the next day. It’s not like the first people in line got a different product or additional features on their item. So where does this phenomenon stem from?
In his book, Diffusion of Innovations, professor Everett Rogers explains the interesting, yet underrated concept of the Law of Diffusion of Innovation.
In this law, Everett explains that there are five groups of consumers. We’ll keep our focus on the first three as they are the most important. In his acclaimed best seller, Start With Why, Simon Sinek explains the personality traits of these groups and their effect on each other. It is the people within these first two groups who would stand in line for hours for a product.
It is these first two groups that will then lead the Early Majority to also buy a particular product. Once it has been adopted by the groups of the left side of the curve, the rest will follow. The problem, Sinek mentioned, is that most companies look to appeal to the groups in the bell of the curve.
“… the early majority, according to Rogers, will not try something until someone else has tried it first…They need that trusted, personal recommendation.”
The reason for the existence of your product must resonate with these smaller groups for that sort of fierce loyalty. It begs the question, why are you in business?