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Why taking risks on new technology pays off


By Dominic Chapman / February 02, 2017

Why taking risks on new technology pays off


There are many benefits to being a part of the early adopters group. Taking a risk on adopting new technology into your business life can pay off in dividends – it means that you stay up-to-date on the newest tools, platforms, networks and brands that can provide you with the best advantage over competitors. However, adopting technology into your business early is not without its drawbacks (like most things).

‘Early adopter’ is another one of those terms banded around in business and marketing, which essentially refers to people who possess an adventurous nature by taking risks on incorporating new, unproven technology/brands/products into their lifestyle before they have gained any prior popularity or reputation within the market.

In essence: they establish trends instead of following them.

If you don’t identify as an early adopter there are a few characteristics commonly shared by this group which can help you be more adventurous when selecting new technology:

Early adopters talk

Talking about new technology and the latest innovations is a joy for this group of consumers. Discussing and sharing their latest finds with others around them is what they love, and in return they often hear about other new developments that have slipped under their radar. Marketers love early adopters due to their tendency to generate widespread worth-of-mouth recommendations to a new market, helping businesses to introduce their product offering to the majority of consumers.

Early adopters love to get there first

Making a discovery before anyone else is satisfying, especially when said discovery starts to gain in popularity; finding new innovations and following development from early days can grant special insight by watching a project’s evolution over time, you gain an understanding of changes made and the direction a company is headed. Remembering that early adopters are opinion leaders, they encourage others to follow them naturally by making trend followers aware of the latest and greatest innovations. While change can be daunting for most, an early adopter will often welcome new developments from the marketplace with open arms.

Early adopters do their research – most of the time

When an early adopter makes an educated decision to adopt new technology into the business, they risk using something that is untested, untrusted and unpolished, but here’s the thing, they see value in the product despite all of this. An early adopter will not sign up for just anything, they conduct an information search to understand the product before deciding on their next move. The main take away is to collaborate with other early adopters; the sharing of information is the most important way of discovering new technologies.

Should I become an early adopter?

Pros

  • Early bird catches the worm
    By integrating new technology products into your business life, you can become proficient with the tech early. Why should you care? You can enjoy the comfort of knowing how to get the best out of each tool before anyone else, providing a strong advantage over others.
  • Stay up to date and in the know with new and emerging brands/products
    Early adopters typically have a strong, extensive knowledge of the marketplace environment. By staying actively aware of the newest products & services available they have a great level of commercial awareness and can enjoy remaining one step ahead of market trends by knowing the next biggest thing before it hits a mainstream audience.
  • Competitive advantage
    You can sit and watch competitors jump on the bandwagon and get to grips with adapting to the latest trend while you’ve been comfortable with it for a while. You’ll know how to use something before others: meaning increased revenue and a better market position for your brand by understanding how to engage your audience through a new medium faster than competitor A, B and C.
  • Early adopters that give feedback tailor/influence development (more specific to your needs)
    This is a particularly interesting one. Those that adopt technology early can use the feedback system to influence development to their liking. Less users means a larger voice for you, and those that provide feedback in early stages of a product’s development has a higher likelihood of being able to tailor the product to suit their specific business model. The benefit for this one is evident: your business’ goals and processes are served better by being a part of the first wave of influential users that provide feedback on a new product; you’re shaping the ‘next big thing’ to your liking.

Cons

  • Early bugs/design flaws
    This ties in with the previous paragraph, new technology is notorious for its glitches, design flaws and unexpected bugs. This is natural to the development of anything digital, which can be frustrating for many users that pay for a service. Nasty design bugs have broken the reputations of many brands before, but the one thing to remember is that your feedback will shape the tool and that glitches/bugs will not exist forever. In some cases, glitches have ended up showing weaknesses in a service that then become better than originally designed as intended.
  • ‘Sticking your neck out’
    This is where I will mention the phrase ‘no risk, no reward’, because it’s true. Early adopters are seen to ‘stick their neck out’ when it comes to paying for new technologies. While this is true, making an informed decision by conducting research and discussing with others is important to minimising the risk that comes with trusting in a new brand or product. No new ideas will ever grow without someone making the first move to try it out!
  • Platform ‘hopping’ until satisfied
    But when the case occurs when risking on adopting something new into a business does not work out, early adopters will often have to ‘platform hop’ and explore other options until satisfied. Some early adopters are on the lookout for a platform that suits them for years, and will often stick with the best known option in the market until something new comes along that better serves their needs.
  • How do I manage risk?
    Not every venture has to be dicey. Risk can be minimised and controlled by taking advantage of free trials and product demos, which most companies offer in some form. And of course, do your research beforehand, understand how the product will benefit you or your business, and when in doubt ask for a second opinion if you’re still not sure. Most companies will have a service team dedicated to answering your queries so there’s no need to be shy when you’re browsing the latest releases, just ensure that you really understand the product before deciding to buy. Some products are designed to work alongside your existing systems, and some are designed to replace them, which is why doing your research is important to make sure that you are not wasting your time and money.

Early adopters are loved by businesses across a large range of industries: they are the group that creates market trends, influences others and benefits from emerging products & services the most. There are positives and negatives to being one, as it is a far safer option to remain a market follower, but for those seeking to reap the rewards early and benefit over their competitors: focusing on becoming an early adopter may prove to be the next best thing for you.