Adoption rates is perhaps one of the most important issues facing anyone selling a new technology or product. What are the reasons why people would quickly adopt a new technology or product, as compared to putting it off?

Startup companies with limited funds, for example, need to get people to adopt their product quickly. But older companies also often come up with new and different products as well, and they also need to understand this question. If it's a brand new technology or innovation we're talking about, then this article is for you.

To be sure, there has been a lot written about this subject, and much of it written within the last few years. Take, for example, Geoffrey Moore's popular book "Crossing the Chasm" which essentially looks at how you get people to adopt a radical or new technology after the innovators, the people who tend to adopt any and all new technologies, have adopted it.

Well, you might think this is indeed a new topic and relevant for today's world. In fact, this has been examined throughout the 1900s for academic and highly practical reasons. The practical reasons are obvious, but the specifics are related to the adoption of farming techniques, of all things. Long ago, many people became interested in why farmers might adopt new types of seed corn and machinery. These were new products to be sure, and not much different in importance to the economy at that time than computers or wireless devices are today.


Research indicates that to fully explain why people might readily adopt a new technology you must consider a large number of issues. But we aim to boil this down and make this more useful for you by focusing on five simple ideas. Our discussion is based on the seminal ideas of Everett M. Rogers (The Diffusion of Innovations) and supported by several empirical studies, including several grand summary studies known as meta-analyses.


This is simply the degree to which the new technology is perceived as better than the idea it supersedes. This is essentially the concept of a better mousetrap. This requires little discussion since most people focus on this dimension of any new idea. As you might think, the higher the perception of a relative advantage, the more likely the technology will be quickly adopted.

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image of Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is the CEO and founder of MarketingProfs. He's also a longtime marketing professor and mentor at the University of Southern California, where he leads Mindful USC, its mindfulness center.