Why Early Advocates are 10x Better Than Early Adopters For New Products

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We all know the importance of an early adopter to helping a new product cross the chasm, but not all early adopters are created equally. In fact, some can be a drain on your resources, while others …

We all know the importance of an early adopter to helping a new product cross the chasm, but not all early adopters are created equally. In fact, some can be a drain on your resources, while others can propel your growth.

This presentation was given on November 21, 2013 at a meeting of the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA). Brian talks about how today’s product managers must cultivate early advocates, a special type of early adopter. Early advocates not only validate the usefulness of your product, but they show you how to spread the word. And by catering to their needs, you end up with a better, more impactful product.

Takeaways:
- How to identify an advocate
- How to engage advocates to advance the introduction of a new product
- How to build an effective early advocate program

More in: Technology , Business
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  • 1. Why Early Advocates are 10x more important than Early Adopters
  • 2. who is this guy? •  Launched  dozens  of  products   •  Product  Manager,  Product  Marketer   •  Explorics:  B2B  Loyalty  &  Advocacy     •  2-­‐Bme  entrepreneur   •  Lean  Startup  Challenge  2013   •  Business  Model  GeneraBon  Meetup   •  Startup  Coach,  Quebec  Tech   Accelerator   •  Stanford  MBA   •  MIT  Computer  Science   @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 3. The year was 2006… 1 was an advocate 10 Early Adopters 9 were not @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 4. The Big Idea Early adopters have long been entrenched in technology culture. They aren’t filling the role we need today. Product owners need to cultivate early advocates. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 5. First… let’s review: Early Adopter @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 6. Published in 1991 @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 7. “Still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later [in 2006]” Tom Byers, Stanford Technology Ventures Program     @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 8. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 9. The Chasm The mainstream market doesn’t listen to early adopters @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 10. To cross the chasm…   Establish a Beachhead @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 11. DELIVER A “Whole Product” @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 12. Hey buddy… Wanna buy some software? Pass The Elevator Test @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 13. What is an early adopter? @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 14. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 15. I’ll scratch your back. You scratch mine. Early Adopters Get… •  Attention •  Special pricing •  Amazing support •  Hand-holding •  Custom features •  Show-off status You Get… •  Revenue •  Real-world testing •  Use cases •  Product input •  Go-to-market feedback •  Endorsement
  • 16. I’ll scratch your back. You scratch mine. Early Adopters Get… •  Attention •  Special pricing •  Amazing support •  Hand-holding •  Custom features •  Show-off status You Get… •  Revenue •  Real-world testing •  Use cases •  Product input •  Go-to-market feedback •  Endorsement
  • 17. Early endorsement is much more important today than it was in 1991. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 18. THEN Early adopters validated usefulness NOW Early advocates validate virality @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 19. Today’s Elevator Test Ray: You know, it's just occurred to me – we really haven't had a completely successful test of this equipment. Peter: Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 20. An Early Advocate is a Special Kind of Early Adopter @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 21. Three things that make advocates different from adopters… 3 @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 22. Adopters want to be “unique” Advocates want to be “first” Steve Mann @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 23. Adopters want to discover something inherently valuable. Advocates want to brag about what they discovered. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 24. Adopters like to tinker Advocates want to show off @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 25. The Biggest Difference Is What You AIM For Adopters validate “good-enough” Advocates fall in LOVE with “greatness” @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 26. Early adopters are great for opinions. But they are lousy for growth. That is why you need to focus on your early advocates. @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 27. Creating an Advocate Program @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 28. Advocate programs are highly personal making them quite unlike typical marketing programs
  • 29. Advocate programs are based on relationships The Rules •  People,  not  companies   •  Give  first,  then  receive   •  RecogniBon,  not  bribes  
  • 30. Advocates want to believe in something together •  Shared vision •  Mutual trust •  Aligned incentives @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 31. What is the job the customer is hiring our product to do? People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Clayton Christensen Simon Sinek Google: christensen milkshake disruptions Google: ted sinek why Market Disruptions & Online Learning How Great Leaders Inspire Action @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 32. Document your shared vision @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 33. Recruit Engage Harvest Optimize 4 Steps to an Advocate Program @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 34. Recruiting Dear Joe, le on your profi I noticed ught In and tho Linked s paper reciate thi you’d app ith MIT e written w igating we’v ew, Nav Tech Revi Tech. Planet Ad ut: Check it o 3fi9c t.ly.com/2 http://bi Thanks! Melissa •  Keep it personal •  They were chosen •  Mutual value •  Exclusivity •  Meaningful perks •  Access From Our CEO @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 35. Don’t beg @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 36. engaging •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Send content Recommend as an expert Ask for advice Short surveys Introductions to peers Group chats Quick feedback on ideas Repost, reshare, retweet Contests
  • 37. harvesting •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Product feedback Thought leadership Content References Referrals Demand generation Product reviews Testimonials Case studies Public speakers
  • 38. optimizing Key Metrics •  Recruiting rate: customers to program participants •  Engagement rate of participants •  Engagement rate of programs •  Conversion of programs into deliverables •  Business metrics •  Referrals •  Leads generated •  Retention rates
  • 39. Tools A custom community portal for advocates www.influitive.com Customer feedback forum and interaction platform www.getsatisfaction.com Even more… •  Evergage – real-time web personalization •  TechValidate – create content from customers •  AskYourTargetMarket – online market research •  UsabilityHub – five-second testing •  UserTesting – fast user research •  Qualaroo – insight surveys for A/B testing DIY websites and content management systems www.getsatisfaction.com
  • 40. Three Easy Steps To get going 1.  “Health check” your enthusiastic customers 2.  Find out how they would want to partner 3.  Target one engagement-harvesting activity that is mutually beneficial and has meaningful business results @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 41. The key takeaway @explorics @bostonproduct
  • 42. Get Early Advocates. They Love You And Let Everyone know. How did I do? http://braverybot.com/bpma/2 Thank You! Brian  Gladstein   @explorics   bg@explorics.com