Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Post 3: Create Your Adopter Categories

For this posting, come up with your own adopter categories. Name each one of them and describe the characteristics of each group. How are they similar or different than the adopter categories proposed by Rogers in our main text? 


Sicong Zhao said...

There was a good example in my life just several months ago occurred in China about one particular innovative cellphone, known as Xiaomi in China.
1 Zhang Xiao, one of my best friends in China, has always been the most innovative man among all of our friends. He could be defined as a pioneer and innovator in this event, who ordered the Xiaomi Cellphone online the very time he acknowledged about this coming innovation. As it turns out, Xiaomi soon became so popular of an innovation and people who order later has to wait for months before they can finally get their merchant. Accordingly, he became the honorable 1% first users of such innovation.
2 My friend Kang Jian and Chen Fei, who could be seen as early adopters in this case, acknowledged and tried this innovation from Zhang Xiao, and soon got in favor with it. 2 Days later, they both ordered it online and got their Xiaomi after 1 week. In this case, Zhang Xiao plays a role as an innovator as well as an opinion leader who diffused the innovation so quickly to the others, which eventually lead to a result of 2 more adoptions.
3 After Mr. Kang and Chen adopted the innovation, they soon became popular in their dorm building where many of their friends came and checked their new phones, who found out that the innovation is so user-friendly and so reasonable of a price to purchase. So, many of them tend to order one for themselves as well as for their girlfriends or parents. In this case, I guess they could be defined as the early majority. But in obvious reason, I cannot count the exact number of them, but one thing I do know is that they wait a longer time than 2 early adopters for like a month.
4 As I and Zhang Xiao, the innovator used to be senior high classmates, we both attended a small party held by some of our classmates, during which Zhang introduced his new cellphone to some of our classmates and unsurprisingly, some of them was really into it and expressed a willingness to purchase it. It’s a pity that they hadn’t got their Xiaomi until I left China to be here, which means they had already been kept waiting for 2 months because it had been so popular in few months and the schedule of manufacture was way behind the market need. As you can see, we should put my high school classmates in category of late majority because they had to wait longer than the early majority.
5 In this particular case, I should be defined as a laggard. Even though I was diffused in the first place from Zhang, the innovator, yet I refused to adopt it from the beginning to the end. It’s not because I didn’t like it but simply because I am going abroad and I wouldn’t use it for long, so I thought I really don’t need to buy something that I won’t be able to use in several months.
FYI: About Xiaomi :

Daniela Dimitrova said...

Interesting discussion, Bill! It is nice to learn about this cell phone and that practical reasons--like you going abroad--limit the relative advantage of the innovation.

I am curious to see if the rest of the class will be able to develop their own adopter categories and how creative they will be about naming them. This is probably my favorite post of the semester!

Sarah Wiley said...

Not all innovations are positive so adoption is not always the best case. We often talk about adopting technology as if it is a good thing, but what if it is a bad innovation?

I wonder if we changed the innovation to a negative one, would the category names change. Rogers overall emphasizes that adoption is the key, but what if the innovation is a bad one? What about botox injections or plastic surgery, increase in using prescription drugs as recreational drugs, anorexia? These can all be considered innovations by Rogers own definition: “An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or unit of adoption” [12].

So in these cases would we still label Laggards as such? Would we want a word that has a negative connotation when they don’t follow? Would an innovator (say, the kid who first takes and sells Vicodin at school) still be labeled as such? I guess what I am asking is do you think Roger’s terms inherently come with “connotational baggage”? If they don’t, should they?

So – innovation: Cyber-bullying.
This is the most recent (and yes, I know extreme) case that I have come across in the media - Dutch boy sentenced in Facebook murder case But just Google News “cyber-bulling” and you will get thousands of hits.

The population: middle and high schoolers

Innovators = Pushers? Influencers? “peer pressure-ers”?
Early Adopters = Trenders?
Early Majority = The group? Followers?
Late Majority = Followers?
Laggards = Those who “rise above”? “Lame kids” because they don’t do it? Squares?

Should the innovation being studied change the labels? Why or why not?

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about what the difference is between innovation diffusion and marketing since Sarah brought it up on Wednesday. I did some research online and found that diffusion theory was introduced to marketing in 1960s, and then it has been adapted to marketing management and consumer research for developing marketing strategies and analyzing consumer behavior. I would like to use fashion industry as an example to demonstrate my understanding how consumer behavior fits in Rogers’ diffusion theory and what adopter categories can be found among fashion consumers.

1. Fashion designers are the innovators in fashion industry. They are expected to be innovative and creative in order to be success in the fierce competition. They need to be able to conduct a pioneering research on fashion trends, not just be capable of predicting the future, but have to be able to draw inspiration from fashion history. Fashion designers play an important role in representing the dynamics of fashion. They seem to meet the definition of innovators illustrated by Rogers.
2. Early adopters of fashion are always represented as celebrities and fashion models. According to Rogers’ socioeconomic characteristics of adopter categories, early adopters have more years of formal education and higher social status, and are more likely to be literal than do later adopters. Fashion models do get exposed to the latest fashion trends because of their job. However, they don’t seem to fit in Rogers’ requirements of early adopters. They are more like a communication channel to present the most updated fashion trend, or they are just a part of the marketing strategies to promote new product in order to lead and spur consumption. Celebrities may meet the requirement of higher social status, but more years of formal education doesn’t seem necessary to adopt new fashion. To adopt a new product of fashion is much simpler than adopting a new technology; in fact, adopting new fashion is different than interpreting it which may require more intelligence or formal education.
3. Early majority of fashion are most likely young people. This could be explained by Rogers’ communication behavior of earlier adopters. Young people have more social participation than later adopters, like partying and dating. Also, early majority of fashion might be more likely to be influenced by mass media and personal channels.
4. I would say later or laggard adopters of fashion might be more rational than early adopters. For them, efficiency is highly valued and benefits of fashion are considered carefully. The fact is when people are more able to control their behavior, the motives behind adopting new fashion are declining. This is conflict with Rogers’ generalization 7-11: early adopters have greater rationality than do later adopters.

My point of view is, when purpose of fashion design is to pursue the maximum benefit, but not to disseminate the creative idea or to culture better life style, Rogers’ categories of adopters may not be able to explain the characteristic of fashion consumers well. The incidental advertising intends to stimulate people’s irrational purchase behavior, the early adopters aren’t necessary associated with innovativeness or creativeness; it’s simply about spending and shopping.

Rebecca Peterson said...

I think Sarah's comments are great! Can't top that one. I read Chapter 11 in Rogers' book about the negative consequences of innovation and I agree that there are some flaws in his logic. I think he is perhaps naive about controlling the diffusion of innovations, while at the same time he wears pro-Western blinders. We'll probably talk about that later. As for this week's question I can't really think of anything better that what Bill and Sarah have written. I would use Sarah's same labels but I'll give a humorous example that shows that young people aren't the only ones who adopt an innovation for no apparent "good" reason other than a desire for status. Among the moms in my social group there is a strong desire to do what's best for our families, of course. Sometime this means buying you kids the latest gadget, clothes, lessons, etc. whether one can afford it or the child in question really needs it or not. I've seem some harmful consequences, including money problems and spoiled children. But one funny example is the "adoption" of know that grain that's supposed to end world hunger because it is very high in protein. Well it has become trendy to make quinoa salad, quinoa casserole or whatever for potlucks etc. etc. We are all trying to prove that we are the healthiest moms out there. But the last time I picked up a tiny $6 bag for something that my family doesn't particularly like or need (we eat WAY too much protein already!), I had to stop and laugh at myself. Ridiculous! Its the same with the organic food craze. We really don't know where the food we buy in the grocery store comes from. I think we moms need to stop relying on the Hy-Vee ads (change agents AKA marketers)and opinion leaders (AKA trendy moms who try too hard) among us and get out and do our own research. The mass media are powerful tools for finding the truth and we need to use them to educate ourselves. So like Sarah's laggards who "rise above," maybe I should put that quinoa back on the shelf and be a laggard (sensible!)

Aimee Burch said...

I really liked Sarah's post earlier. Perhaps it is because I've spent the weekend back at home for a friend's wedding and was reminded of those high school days where the "cool kids" are the innovators, the ones you want to emulate to be accepted. But in all reality, the innovation you're trying to adopt isn't really all that great. In fact, it can be downright detrimental at times (i.e., recreational drug use, bullying, drinking, etc.) It's just interesting at times to see how and where the different people end up years down the road.

Aimee Burch said...

So here is my attempt at establishing my own adopter categories. I'm not sure I can top those that have already been given, but like I said earlier, I'm home and been around some familiar faces, triggers, and feelings that I'm not exposed to as much now that I'm at Iowa State. On that note:

1. The "cool kids." The ones that have all the coolest clothes, toys, technologies, etc.
2. The "wannabes." The ones that acquire the desired goods in an attempt to get in on one trend and hope to get ahead on the next big thing.
3. The "may-as-wells." The ones who aren't necessarily excited about the innovation, but figure they may as well get in on the action because they can see those benefits for themselves.
4. The "practical people." The ones who watched the craze for awhile then saw how it could be beneficial to their lives.
5. The "passers-by." The ones that may have no desire to adopt a new innovation, or see how it could benefit but aren't inclined to be a part of the crowd just yet.

Amber Knutson said...

I thought about this post a lot over the last couple of days. I struggle with Diffusion of Innovation because, as Sarah explained, it very often is assuming that the innovation is for the better and is inherently good. Not all innovations are good, as those poor "laggards" actually become geniuses in the end.
Like Aimee, I also see the concept very applicable to everyday life, such as a school environment. Especially in the terms that she used. I definitely had to chuckle at "the wannabe's." Quite brilliant.

My adopter categories take into account that an innovation may very well not be good. In addition, the names of each category easily define the group.

1. The Opportunistic. These people are wealthy, they have the means and any new innovation sounds great to them.

While Rogers and others see the Innovators as "risk takers," I don't. These people have tons of money to be tossing around - the only risk is how much profit they're going to make by selling it to others.

2. Risk-takers. This group actually might lose enough money to have to sell the house. They are heavily influenced by the Opportunistic.

3. Followers. This is the mass public that pretty much jumps on any sort of bandwagon. Vampires? Heck yes! Zombies? You betcha! Pet rocks? Sure, I'll shell out money for that!

4. Researchers. No these people don't do research for a living, but they are people who hesitate to buy into any fad, faulty research, and incomplete testing. They wait around until after the FDA passes a new drug AND it's been on the market for a good solid 5 five years. They might die before they get the polio vaccine, but they sure as heck won't be having any adverse effects they don't know about.

5. Hold outs. These people may or may not ever "come around." These people are practical. They know what's necessary to live - and a pet rock isn't going to make the cut. They aren't going to invest in a plug-in car, or cellphones. But, hey, when the public "comes around" to the latest research about cell phone usage and cancer, they still won't have to worry. They're holding out because they are traditionalists; they are holding out because they're practical.

Raeann Ritland said...

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts, and like Amber, I enjoyed Aimee’s take on potentially negative innovations, especially those so common in high school. Like most, I remember high school and the pressures to adopt all the newest “innovations,” whether they were technological, fashion-related, or socially-charged. I would hope that I am accurate in saying that I was not one to “jump on the bandwagon,” but rather, I aired more on the side of caution, much like one of Aimee’s “practical people.” However, it is entirely possible that I was a “may-as-well” person, too.

I don’t really think I can’t stop what’s already been stated, but I did come up with what I think might be a humorous example involving science. I’ve been reading a lot of experimental studies in conjunction with my research assistantship, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the experimental set-up, which then made me think of how medications and/or certain practices move from the lab into the public sphere. I think the categories I came up with could be relevant for both good and bad innovations in that they involve a sort of “testing” phase. But then, this deviates from Diffusion Innovation in that technological innovations are not usually pre-tested by non-human subjects; instead, they are typically available only to those who are able to afford them and/or those with access to the newest, most up-to-date information. Naturally, then, my categories are not perfect. 

1.Innovators--Lab Rats--Unlike innovators, these rodents don’t have the choice of whether they want the innovation or not.
2.Early Adopters--Initial humans--People who’ve heard about it and want to do it and/or are paid to do it.
3.Early Majority--General Public--Innovations usually begin in cities/developed countries before moving outward.
4.Late Majority--The rest of the world--Once taken in the city, innovations tend to
move to more rural areas/developing countries.
5.Laggards--Skeptics--There will always be the select few who decide late to adopt or decide innovations aren’t worth it at all. In the case of health, these may be the people who prefer to stick with “home remedies.”

Daniela Dimitrova said...

Good discussion here! Another criticism of the five adopter categories might be that they are not "universal"--in other words, if Rogers' generalizations were to hold true for each person we might expect that an "innovator" would always be an innovator, regardless of the innovation at hand. But we know from experience that this is not always the case. Why?