The Five Stages of Adoption Process in Marketing
Published September 14th, 2020
I know what you’re thinking, “what is this adoption process they’re talking about?”
Initially, the terminology can come off as a bit new to us, but I’m sure that you’ve applied this concept in your life in one way or another. The adoption process refers to the mental process consumers go through when buying into a new product. We’ve all been there; we learn about a new product, become interested, try it out, then fall in love with it. Now that I’ve put it like that, I’m sure everyone can relate to this.
But did you know that marketers and product developers have to pay close attention to detail planning each phase of this process?
It’s true. With the market being so dense with numerous competitors, you have to make sure your product stands out. You have to give consumers a reason to drop whatever brand they’re using to opt-in to yours.
A great example of this is the switch from keypad cellphones to touchscreen ones. For much of my childhood, I can vividly remember people typing on their keypad phones until the first iPhone came out. It came off as such an innovation that it shook up the entire landscape of that industry. Apple did a great job at both marketing their product and offering revolutionary features that catered to needs.
The adoption process has a few variations, but we will be discussing the generally accepted five stages. So without further ado, let’s get right to it.
The first stage in the adoption process is awareness, for how could someone pay for something they don’t know about? Whether or not your good, product, or service is new is relative to the consumer. You could have your offering in the market for the last ten years, yet someone can only learn about it now.
At this stage, the customer learns about a product or service for the first time. They do not have enough information yet to patronize your offering immediately. Many companies spend millions of dollars at this stage in order to grab the attention of their target market through different promotional media and advertising.
After your potential customer catches wind of your product or service, they’ll most likely want to learn more about it. At this stage, customers do their research to gain all the necessary information about your offering.
Did you know that about 88 percent of consumers research their product before making a purchase? Potential consumers generally gather information through online reviews, word-of-mouth, and product descriptions. At this stage, you can ramp up the interest in your product or service with high-quality content.
The third stage is evaluation. At this stage, potential consumers use their gathered information to come to a conclusion about whether or not to purchase.
Consumers may have a different set of criteria in coming to these conclusions. Some may consider price as the main factor, while others look to functionality or aesthetics. Whatever the case, potential customers measure your product or service’s perceived value in their lives.
Additionally, consumers may compare your offering to similar offerings from different companies. Because of this competition, companies invest a lot in their research and development to gain a significant competitive advantage in their industries.
The fourth stage in the adoption process is the trial stage. Consumers decide, “okay, I’ll try this product out.” Suppose you get to reach this stage as a startup, congratulations. It’s not an easy thing to do, as there are a series of forces you have to overcome just to reach this stage.
In this stage, consumers decide to try your product in small quantities, dipping their toes in the water. Here, consumers want to gain first-hand experience or knowledge about your offering to see whether it’s worth adopting indefinitely.
The concept of “free samples” is highly encouraged and recommended in this stage.
As you may have guessed, the last stage is adoption. When customers are satisfied with the trial stage, they’ll get right to integrating your product into their daily lives. Instead of buying in small quantities, they’ll buy your product in bulk, as they believe they’ll be using it for the foreseeable future.
As the business owner in this stage, you’ll want to ensure that transactions are smooth and hassle-free. Additionally, you’ll want to focus heavily on customer satisfaction post-purchase. This entails responsive customer service and clear labels and instructions on your product. User experience is a significant difference-maker between a one-time purchase and repeat engagements. So, the easier your product or service makes someone’s life, the better.
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About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.