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The Decision Matrix: The Steps in the Decision Process by Adopter Type

  • SumoMe


The idea is to get your customers to the next stages of the decision process, using the messages below in the right order, from the right sources. So, if you are going after early adopters, read across the early adopter row and get people word of mouth in the order prescribed.


  Deciding to decide [What he/she wants to hear in regular type.] [Examples in italics.] Weighing Information Trial Implemention Expanding Commitment
Innovator Wants to be outstanding.
Wants to hear how ‘far out’ the product is.
It’s so new and unusual, no one’s even heard of it or tried it. It works on a totally new principle. Most people wouldn’t even understand it.
There is little information to gather. He will have to investigate the product first hand.
It’s so far out that there is nothing to compare it to. It’s in a different class.
Wants to be among the first to try.
It is so new that no one has tried it yet. You would be the first.
Wants to be the pioneer who will lead the way for other people.
Now that you’ve tried it successfully, you can help others learn about it.
Wants to push the envelope to the limits.
Have you tried the wild new things it might be used for?
Early adopter Driven by excellence.
Concerned more about possibilities than actualities.
Think of the potential. If this product really worked in your situation, it would change your life or give you a competitive edge.
Looking not as much for ‘hard’ information than for a vision of what might be.
Here’s how I envision using the product. The other products are more ordinary. This one has possibilities.
Doesn’t care that it hasn’t been used in his situation, just that it may be applicable.
This product doesn’t work all the time. But when it does, wow!
Knows there will be problems, wants to know what they are, and how they can be handled.
Here is how to get the most out of it and minimize the problems.
Wants a major advantage for being at the beginning of the curve.
Here are the additional possibilities that will give you a competitive edge.
Middle Majority Wants to be competent. Concerned with practicalities. This has been tried and really works in situations like yours, in your industry, etc. Wants comparisons about how it’s working out in situations similar to his own. Here is the practical information about how this is working out in the real world. Wants to verify that it will work in his situation without investing too much time and trouble.





The bugs have been worked out and it is highly predictable.
Wants to know that there is an easy way out if it doesn’t work out. Training, support and guarantees are in place and reliable. Wants to know usage is getting pretty standard. It is rapidly becoming the standard in our industry
Late Adopter Wants to reduce risk. Promise a good deal on a tried and true product. It has become virtually a commodity and this product can get you better price, delivery, service, training, etc. Wants to ‘shop around’ and get the proven product with the best deal.





I’ve checked out the pricing and service etc. and it seems to be the best product.
Trial tends to be not for product excellence, but centers around the support system.





Check out how wonderful they are to deal with, everyone can fix your problems, etc.
Wants complete support for rolling out full usage of the product.





They’ll come in and do it all for you.
Wants to use what everyone else is using, in the way that they are using it.





Everybody is using it for everything.
Laggard Wants to be completely safe.
Wants reassurance that it is a safe product where nothing will go wrong.
You’ll get in trouble if you aren’t using this.
Wants to find the loopholes, problems, negatives, etc. If he doesn’t find some, will keep looking.

Here are the risks and how to render them harmless.

Basically won’t try anything new. Needs reassurance that the product is the standard product used in his industry, situation, etc.
Try it, everyone else has and likes it.
Implements only when he has to.
Adopt this product, or else.
Wants reassurance that he is using it in the standard way.
That’s the way we all use it.

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