Adoption and Diffusion of innovations

The significance of the adoption process to the marketers is two fold. First, not all consumers pass through the adoption process with the same speed – some move swiftly, while others proceed more slowly. Second the marketer’s communication forms vary in their effectiveness over the different stages in the adoption process. These points can be important in assisting the marketer to develop an effective promotional program. It has been found for example, that for early stages of the adoption process, the mass media appear to be most effective in creating awareness; thus; the marketer would design awareness and interest generating messages to be transmitted by such impersonal sources. At later stages in the adoption process, however, personal sources of information appear to become more important so the marketer would desire to have effective personal selling an word of mouth communications a these points. This indicates then that as consumers move through the adoption process, the amount of mass media advertising might be decreased while the amount of personal selling is increased.

The adoption process also may be completed by the individual, which means that the innovation will not be adopted. Several factors that may lead to an incomplete adoption process are listed in table below. The marketer should take care to minimize the marketing problems leading to consumer’s failure to complete the adoption process.

Potential Causes of In-completed adaptation Process:

Acceptance process stage

1) Awareness
2) Comprehension
3) Attitude
4) Legitimating
5) Trial
6) Adoption

Marketing organization causes of in-completed processes

1) Poorly used or too little communication
2) Communication hard to understand
3) Communication not persuasive
4) Poor source effect of communications.
5) Behavioral response not specified in communications. Poor distribution system.
6) Failure to develop new products and improve old products.

Consumer causes of in-completed processes

1) Selective exposure
2) Selective perception
3) Selective retention
4) Complacency Suspended judgment
5) Peer-group pressure against adoption
6) Laws regulating use of innovation.
7) Alternative equally good innovation not available
8) Replaced by another innovation.

How does diffusion occur? Analysis of fashion lifecycles and their diffusion provides some insights into the process. Several theories of fashion diffusion have been suggested. First the theory of upper class fashion leadership postulates that fashions are initially adopted by the upper class and are then imitated by each succeeding lower class until they have trickled down to the lowest class. The fashion industry has long emphasized elite oriented fashion, and lesser fashion designers and producers frequently copy the designers of their more famous counterparts. A second theory proposes that mass production combined with mass communications make new styles and information about new styles available simultaneously to all socio economic classes. Fashion diffusion therefore, has the potential; to start at essentially the same time within each class. This mass market view is sometimes referred to as horizontal low or trickle across theory. A third and newer theory of fashion diffusion recognizes that many new fashions have been initiated by sub cultural groups such as youths, blue collar workers, and ethnic minorities such as Indians and blacks. These innovations may range from new ideas (such as miniskirts) to customary artifacts of a culture or subculture to styles resurrected for the past or even to homemade inventions (such as the dyed products pioneered by youth, which appeared in the 1960s). Whether a fashion is new or customary the unique subculture style becomes and diffuses into the mass population where it is selectively assimilated into the dominant culture.

Diffusion also has a geographical dimension to it. For example, in the United States many social trends begin in California and work their way east. If current pattern spread, the larger American public can be expected to spend more time shopping, playing sport, eating out and traveling but less time on housework and caring for children.