“Adoption” challenges are everywhere

(I owe this one to my friend Lars Finskud at Vanguard Strategythanks Lars!)

Most of us are familiar with the idea of marketing and sales funnels, but we can do so much more with these using a dynamic structure known as the “choice pipeline”. The demo at sdl.re/choicepipeline takes a long-term view of a simple consumer brand, but can be applied to B2B cases and the marketing of services. Also, modifications can handle shorter term sales funnels, online promo campaigns, or customer on-boarding journeys, for example.

The model can reflect the impact of word-of-mouth feedback on customer acquisition and sales, and if segmented could deal with cross-interactions between, say, key-opinion-leaders, early adopters and laggards.

(By the way, the model scenarios below show why halving marketing spend may result in much less than half the customers and sales!)

But the marketing of a product or service is just one broad case in a much wider class of challenges – any situation where we want to understand and influence how any new behaviour is “adopted” by a target audience. Examples include:

  • The adoption of new medical procedures by physicians, whether basic prescribing practices or advances surgical methods.
  • The adoption of new farming practices, such as precision agriculture.
  • The acceptance of some desired behavioural change in an organisation.
  • The take-up of low-carbon-emission behaviours by both organisations and households.

In all such cases, we need people to move from being unaware of the new behaviour, to being aware (though still not understanding it), to informed (understanding it, but not doing it), to active (doing it, but not committed), to committed (they will always do it, when the occasion arises).

But we need to be conscious of some other mechanisms, such as the tendency for people to slip back down the pipeline – forgetting a brand, or becoming disloyal in the consumer product case. And the carbon-emission case warns there is another possible state for people to be in – rejectors. who will not have anything to do with the desired new behaviour, and who may well influence others not to flow up the pipeline.

Incidentally, this model reinforces my case in an earlier post that “net promoter score” is a wholly inadequate tool for driving sales growth.

You can save the model at the link above, and modify it for your own case. If you want to learn more about how to model pipelines – not just for customers, but for staff, product development and aging assets too – the “Extension” class #6 of our online dynamic modeling course will show you how.

By the way, if you are intrigued by the organisational behaviour change application of the choice pipeline, the states are 1. “I never heard they wanted me to change behaviour” 2. “I heard they wanted me to change, but don’t understand how” 3. “Now I understand how they want me to change behaviour, but I’m not doing it yet” 4. “I’m having a go at behaving in the new way, but may give up” 5. “I am fully committed to the new behaviour” … plus of course “I am having nothing to do with changing my behaviour!”. Barriers to moving forward include inadequate training on how exactly to do the new behaviour, fear of being penalised for failure, and discouragement from others in the last group. A division of GSK used this model to figure out training and communications plans to persuade people at lower levels to take more decision-responsibility, and backed it up with regular “how are you feeling” surveys to inform those plans.

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