The Bell Curve of Marketing



In my previous blog post I talked very briefly about the law of diffusion of innovation, however The Bell Curve of Marketing is the visual representation of the law of diffusion of innovation.

As you can see in the picture it depict the percentage of our population which are Early Innovator, Early Adopter, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggard.

In this article we going to discuss each area of the bell in more details and discuss the law of diffusion of innovation.

The law of diffusion of Innovation tells us that 2.5% and 13.5% of our population are early innovator and early adopter on the left side of the bell. These are the people who are very comfortable trusting their intuition, pay premium for a product or service and do not mind suffer an inconvenience to be part of a movement or something that reflect their belief. (example Steve Job was an early innovator and almost 200 people stood in line for Iphone in Georgetown). these are the early adopter they are fan of Apple and the Iphone, hence do mind getting their hand on it first even if they have to wait hours and the early innovator clearly communicate what they believe in and are consistent enough in demonstrating what they believe and it is not about fame and money but it is to achieve their goal(s) however outlandish it is and succeed even if it takes years to achieve they see possibility where other don't.

The law of diffusion of innovation tells us that 34% and 34% of our population are the early majority or the late majority in the middle section of the bell. These are the people who are cynical, sceptical, practical and care about price and feature first before they purchase any product or service these treats belong to the early majority as oppose to the late majority who will only purchase a product or service if someone else as tried and tested first and if it is fine and good they will purchase it. They also care about price and feature and practicality of a product.(example the late majority will care about review of a product, testimonial on a website, article on newspaper about a product or service, amazon review. price, sceptical, cynical and so on but the early majority will care about the benefit and feature plus practicality of a product or service, the price hence will care more about product comparison, the usefulness of the product, quality and durability,).

The law of diffusion of innovation tells us that 16% of our population are the laggard on the right side of the bell. These are the people who will purchase the cheapest products or substitute products, the discounted products they do not care so much about quality or durability but cheaper prices is their main drivers, these are the people who will go to tkmaxx has they can get big brand at ridiculous prices such as 60% discount or Primark cheap cheerful and modern clothing or £1 or 99p store where you find branded food, toiletry or other household product for a £1 or 99p.(example These are the people who will keep there smartphone until he die and has to be replace or purchase a £26 mobile phone.) They care more about getting a cheaper deal than quality and do not mind if it is substandard or will break quickly as they see the possibility of buying a next one cheap or cheaper and they love the free offer or buy one get one free or buy two for the price of one offer.

History and research about diffusion of innovation

As per Wikipedia Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread.

Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularised the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations; the book was first published in 1962, and is now in its fifth edition (2003). Rogers argues that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated over time among the participants in a social system.

The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines. Rogers proposes that four main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself, communication channels, time, and a social system.

This process relies heavily on human capital. The innovation must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain and relies heavily on how the population is recipient to the new idea.

hence what is a group of people in a social system? it is a group of people with a common set of value and belief. In term of marketing you need to find the people who share the same common set of value and belief as you and your business, these will be the people who will not reject your idea, price, product or services, but will purchase your Why without querying the price and become your loyal customers.

They will be the staff who work for you tirelessly as you share the same common set of value and belief they want you to succeed and feel an integral part of your business and contribute willingly to it growth.

In addition Rogers argues that a classification of individuals within a social system on the basis of inventiveness. In the book Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers suggests a total of five categories of adopters in order to standardise the usage of adopter categories in diffusion research.

The categories of adopters are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Diffusion manifests itself in different ways and is highly subject to the type of adopters and innovation-decision process. The criterion for the adopter categorisation is inventiveness, defined as the degree to which an individual adopts a new idea.

The adoption of an innovation follows an S curve when plotted over a length of time. The categories of adopters are: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards notwithstanding the gatekeepers and opinion leaders who exist within a given community, change agents may come from outside the community. Change agents bring innovations to new communities– first through the gatekeepers, then through the opinion leaders, and so on through the community.

Hence according to Roger the adopter categorised in his book are define as such:

Innovators: are willing to take risks, have the highest social status, have financial liquidity, are social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Their risk tolerance allows them to adopt technologies that may ultimately fail. Financial resources help absorb these failures.

Early adopters: These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the adopter categories. Early adopters have a higher social status, financial liquidity, advanced education and are more socially forward than late adopters. They are more discreet in adoption choices than innovators. They use judicious choice of adoption to help them maintain a central communication position.

Early Majority: They adopt an innovation after a varying degree of time that is significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters. Early Majority have above average social status, contact with early adopters and seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system (Rogers 1962, p. 283)

Late Majority: They adopt an innovation after the average participant. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of scepticism and after the majority of society has adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically sceptical about an innovation, have below average social status, little financial liquidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority and little opinion leadership.

Laggards: They are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents. Laggards typically tend to be focused on "traditions", lowest social status, lowest financial liquidity, oldest among adopters, and in contact with only family and close friends.

The five stages in the decision innovation process


Knowledge: The individual is first exposed to an innovation, but lacks information about the innovation. During this stage the individual has not yet been inspired to find out more information about the innovation.

Persuasion: The individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks related information/details.

Decision: The individual takes the concept of the change and weighs the advantages/disadvantages of using the innovation and decides whether to adopt or reject the innovation. Due to the individualistic nature of this stage, Rogers notes that it is the most difficult stage on which to acquire empirical evidence.

Implementation: The individual employs the innovation to a varying degree depending on the situation. During this stage the individual also determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.

Confirmation: The individual finalises his/her decision to continue using the innovation. This stage is both intrapersonal (may cause cognitive dissonance) and interpersonal, confirmation the group has made the right.

In conclusion

Applying the law of diffusion of innovation to your marketing strategies and long term strategies is a must and segmenting your market to found like minded group of people interested in your product or service bring you the highest ROI (Return on Investment) and loyal customers as you share a common set of value and belief therefore they become your ambassador of your business your loyal follower and belong to your circle of safety where they feel safe and secure and valued doing business with you.

Hence having a deep understanding and knowledge of the law of diffusion of innovation and it application is crucial for your marketing of your products or services, it permit you to access the right customers for your service and gaining knowledge in people behaviour your business can adapt to the need of your customers and provide a solution to address these needs or wants.

Furthermore it is also important to be consistent with your vision and demonstrate your common set of value and belief to the masses so you will attract like minded customers or staff within your business. in addition knowing your Why first then how and what, the Golden Circle of Simon Sinek is important for your business sustainability and survival through time, therefore achieving longevity of business.

On the final note would you like to participate in a fun quiz? if the answer is yes, kindly answer the question below by putting your answer in the comment box thank you.

Where do fit on the Bell curve ?

A) Early Innovator

B) Early Adopter

C) Early Majority

D) Late Majority

E) Laggard

This is just a fun quiz to take part as girlfridayz like game and quiz maybe you too? If you like this article and found it interesting please share it amongst your peers and comment below. We'll be happy if you participate in our quiz.

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