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Business ‘early adopters’ of trends and tech benefit the most

Early adopters are known for being ahead of the curve, so embracing them within your marketing strategy is vital for success, argues CBS Interactive Commercial Director Neill Pitt in this guest post.


To appreciate the benefit that early adopters can provide to a brand, it’s important to understand the concept behind Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation (1962, see below). The theory demonstrates how new concepts are accepted and spread by different groups within a population.

When it comes to selling goods or services, innovators and early adopters (16 per cent of the population) are your go-to. Why? Because they’re risk-takers – the ones more than happy to sink their teeth (and their disposable income) into new technologies, apps and lifestyle trends, and share their thoughts with broader society. As the investment risk is higher, the scrutiny is greater. If your product floats among early adopters, you can be confident that it will find wider market value, as majority groups then feel comfortable adopting it as the proof of success has been demonstrated.


Market research is useful to help you to identify your early adopter audience share, and it may well be a larger cohort than you think. The brands within the CBSi family are diverse (from CNET to GameSpot to ZDNet), but they share a commonality of highly engaged audiences of early adopters. Of our 2 million CNETmonthly website visitors, for example, 43 per cent of them are identified as early adopters – people willing to be the first to own a piece of tech or stream convention coverage or keynote events. Capturing the attention of those early adopters further drives the purpose of CNET, which is to be the primary source of accurate, comprehensive and timely news and ideas. Early adopters turn to us as a trusted, credible news source, and we listen to them for their engagement with the next big thing when it comes to technology.



For your messages to be truly effective, your audience knowledge must be combined with principles of effective content in order to truly be engaging – and trusted.

Being present throughout the buying cycle is important when it comes to messaging. If you’re not speaking to the right audience using the most engaging content format (be it whitepapers, videos, articles or podcasts) at every stage, you’ll drop out of the consideration set.

Content audits are pivotal for marketers to identify content gaps along the consumer funnel. Addressing these gaps, particularly under the current climate, will ensure you maintain brand relevance and ultimately drive conversion through the purchase cycle.


1. They are experts and educators

Given their purchasing habits, early adopters possess certain levels of expertise in their fields of interest. As such, it’s important to provide content that will help them expand their knowledge base, to influence wider groups.

An APAC audience study we conducted for ZDNet in June last year found that 65 per cent of readers share business information in the hope of being a resource to others, with 58.4 per cent reading ZDNet to build their confidence in their knowledge of subjects that interest them. With this in mind, we partnered with Dell & Intel and IT industry experts to discuss ways to best mitigate disruption and maximise success for businesses undergoing IT transformation. The educational piece saw positive traction with users spending over 19 mins on site watching the 3-part video series.

2. They encourage the creation of authentic content

In these times of #fakenews, clickbait and ‘hard sell’ copy, audiences crave value-rich content. This is particularly true of millennials, who are more distrusting of media than ever and are more likely to trust the recommendations of peers when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Millennials make up a majority audience share on GameSpot, so, with these findings in mind, we enlisted the help of gamer influencer and early adopter Steph Bendixen to explore the Nintendo booth at E3 2019 and preview the games on offer. The result was a minimally edited video capturing Steph’s thoughts in real-time. The ‘My Switch, My Way’ partnership delivered strong audience engagement with users spending over 10 minutes consuming this content piece. We achieved higher-than-average page views and unique visitors and, most importantly, offered our audience a chance to make up their own minds about the products showcased.

3. They reveal topical content opportunities

Audience listening is essential to identify hot topics and to join conversations where appropriate via quality content. For example, the challenges in providing STEM education opportunities for students Australia-wide provided an appropriate opportunity for us to partner with Samsung, who conducted research identifying gaps in student STEM opportunities in rural versus urban Australia. The resulting story demonstrated the ways that Samsung was bridging the gap, via a series of Smart Skills workshops, and establishing a STEM Learning Hub to provide rural students with opportunities to explore careers in STEM via activities that utilised Samsung technologies. The success of this story was not in a hard sell, but rather as a reputation-building exercise that offered our CNET audience some fresh discussion points for the wider conversation – in short, content with passion and purpose. To see more examples of our content partnerships, visit the CBSi Studio 61 website.

By B&T

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