Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Prediction For 2009 #2: Rise Of The Experiential Class

Last year I wrote a post "Have We Crossed The Chasm" that questioned whether or not we need to start redefining the 'early adopter'. With the speed of change and introduction of new digital services on almost a daily basis, capturing the first and often passionate users is crucial to your businesses success.

In a US today article from 2005 that studied the make up of the early adopter across the Globe Geoffrey Moore, the author who popularized the notion described them as a psycho-demographic:

"When offered a new tech device, this kind of consumer says, "Great, let me at it," Moore says. "They like to totally engage with the novelty of the device. They're the only ones who really care about how the thing works and the properties of the new object." This group includes the "boys with toys" types who buy almost anything new, no matter what.

Back in the day, these were mostly the tech geeks but that has all changed. We now have new segments of individuals all who are clammering to test, try and play with the newest gadget and/or service.

From what I"m seeing, there are some new classes of early adopter that are as if not, more important than the traditional early adopter tech geek of Moore's theory. Who are they? I'm calling them THE EXPERIENTIAL CLASS.

Years ago I conducted a future looking research study on the digital customer. One of the most interesting insights was the cultural shift in how this new generation learns. This new way of thinking is at the core, experiential, and IMO a foundation for this new experiential class. Think of it like this:

Pre Web:
Read, Write, Remember

Early Web:
Look, Link, Think, Try Again

Web 1.0:
Look, Link, Think, Experience, Try Again

Web 2.0:
Look, Link, Think, Experience, Participate, Try Again

See what I mean?

This group doesn't worry about failure the same way we did. They don't read manuals to find the right way to do something. Have a hive mentality and often will ping that hive with their latest finds and develop new learnings over time through collaboration with their network. They have little or no fear to jump in and try new things and most importantly, they don't have to be tech savvy to do it.

Understanding how to reach, communicate and interact with this new class may be one of the most important trends for those marketing new products and/or services in the coming year/s.

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