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Opinion

Focus On the Customers You Want, Not the Ones You Have

By J.P. Eggers

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By being aware of the differences between adopter groups ... you can help your digital business move past “build” and into “grow.”

In the 1990s, I worked for a company whose tag line was: “We build digital businesses.” What many entrepreneurs quickly realize is that building the business is often the easy part. Growing and maintaining the business can be much tougher and figuring out how to appeal to new consumers is no small feat.

One reason is that consumers are far from homogeneous. Different segments have different risk tolerances, ways of making decisions, and — perhaps most challenging for growing businesses — preferences for when and how they adopt innovations.

After Everett Rogers famously made the distinction between early and late adopters, academics in marketing and technology identified a number of differences between those who take quickly to innovations and those who don’t. Early adopters are typically younger, more willing to take risks, more eager to try new things, more affluent, and substantially less numerous.

Read the full article as published in the Harvard Business Review.

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J.P. Eggers is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations.