Diffusion of Innovations

In 1962, Everett Rogers popularized a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread throughout cultures.  In the age in which we live, the rate at which people embrace new technology seems to be always increasing.  People are more eager than ever use the latest and greatest.  The traditional bell curve (as shown) has arguably been becoming narrower in a lot of ways.  For example, where it used to take a few years for people to upgrade their cell phones, there are now large groups of people that are willing to upgrade every six months.

So how does a company help to increase adoption among its audience?  Rogers breaks down the process into five stages:

Five stages of the adoption process

Stage Definition
Knowledge In this stage the individual is first exposed to an innovation but lacks information about the innovation. During this stage of the process the individual has not been inspired to find more information about the innovation.
Persuasion In this stage the individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks information/detail about the innovation.
Decision In this stage 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 to acquire empirical evidence
Implementation In this stage the individual employs the innovation to a varying degree depending on the situation. During this stage the individual determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.
Confirmation Although the name of this stage may be misleading, in this stage the individual finalizes his/her decision to continue using the innovation and may end up using it to its fullest potential.

For many companies, their website is the only resource available to potential clients. In an age of early adopters, when potential clients might be visiting your site on their new computer, tablet, or smartphone, it's more important than ever to keep your website up-to-date.  Your website can be a wonderful tool in "persuading" people to become your customers, or it can be a detriment.  Your site can better help lead people from the "Knowledge" stage to the "Confirmation" stage, as described, if it is seen as a useful, accurate and up-to-date representation of your company.



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