Where Are We?

In our mini-van, yes I know I just lost major street-cred by referencing the fact that my wife and I do in-fact own a min-van, but it’s a fully loaded mini-van thank you very much!!! We have built-in navigation and DVD systems for the kids.

Now instead of actually paying attention to where I am going, I am mindlessly following the directions given to me by the authoritative female voice and glowing maps. As my brain wanders, thinking about parenting, profitability and ROI analysis, Xbox 360 gaming and what’s for dinner, I realize that if we suddenly lost power to the nav system I would have no idea how to find where I am going.

Thinking about this and the High-Tech industry in general and reading Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm I began to think about the importance of not only understanding where you are going but more importantly how are you going to get there.

We at Telligent are at a crossroads. We are almost upon the transition from the Innovators and Early Adopters to the pragmatic Early Majority in terms of product adoption. Marketers are good at identifying fads and even better at exploiting trends. We are currently in the middle of a major trend which is the collaborative boom of Web 2.0 solutions. And Telligent is definitely on the forefront of providing the needs to those Innovators and Early Adopters. With success implementing solutions and providing Community Server to organizations such as: Disney, MSNBC, Dell, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Intel, Mazda, Honda, Adidas, Lego, etc… We have laid the foundation to successfully cross over to the upcoming Early Majority.

But the Early Majority requires different messaging and they are less concerned with the technology and more concerned with ease of use, support and referrals from others in the Early Majority. This is one of the key areas where High-Tech companies fail. They see the growth in sales between Innovators and Early Adopters and they ramp up their teams and expect big revenue numbers to continue to spike, what they do not count on is the potential marketing pitfall that occurs between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority.

The Early Majority is a very important segment during the product adoption life-cycle. If you catch the wave between Early Adopters to the Early Majority this is where true success starts to materialize.

What we are seeing from organizations is that the Early Adopters were looking for an edge on the competition and now they have found a way to leverage collaborative solutions and engrain them into their marketing strategy. Now the Early Majority is taking note of the trend and patiently waiting to see what best practices arise.

The one thing to keep in mind in all of this is that it is not always the best product that gets selected by the Early Majority, it is normally the products that can market themselves in such a way and are continuous in their innovation that they speak directly to the needs of the Early Majority and are not as disruptive as the competition that they in turn cash in with market share. We at Telligent have the premier collaborative solution in Community Server. The next step is ensuring that we speak to the Early Majority and let them know exactly why it is the best. The rest will take care of itself.

4 Replies to “Where Are We?”

  1. I think another important difference between the Early Adopter and Early Majority is the approach taken with customer service. While Early Adopters typically enjoy a closer, more responsive relationship with the vendor, Early Majority typically has a different relationship with a vendor and aren’t able to drive the features/service offerings from the vendors as readily as the Early Adopters were able to.

    Case in point: Dell used to provide great customizations for all their machines when they first got started, but over time only the premium product buyers got the same level of service and customization for their purchases.

    I look forward to seeing how well we at Telligent can work with our clients to continue to provide great service while having a mature, established platform.

    1. Expanding on what Karthik said, I think one of the other things collaborative solution providers also need to consider are the limitations the technical requirements of their product can impose on their ability to appeal to a larger market.

      Case in point. I was completely willing to shell out the cash for CS as a part of an upgrade to my hosted site which only has Postgres and MySQL available. CS requires MS. I contacted CS about it and the response I got was essentially, change hosts. Bad business.

  2. Nice analysis. I’m still amazed at how transparent we are as a company. Some might think too transparent since we are effectively letting our competitors see our inner thoughts. However, it is refreshing to get real customer feedback to the musings of the company’s marketing leader – something that could have never happened before.

    Great post, Tom. I enjoyed it and it really helps to visualize the goal – brings a little more meaning to the day-to-day stuff. It also helps explain recent and upcoming changes.

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