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Tech-adoption cycle excites Calvin Klein

News, 27 October 2015

ORLANDO, FL: Calvin Klein, the fashion brand, believes the technology-adoption cycle can represent a meaningful guide for achieving modern marketing success.

Melisa Goldie, chief marketing officer/Calvin Klein, Inc., discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando, Florida.

And she argued the technology-adoption cycle – which plots how products enter the mainstream by gaining favour with innovators, early adopters, the early majority, late majority and then laggards – is useful for brands."It's been around since the 1950s," she said. (For more, including details of the brand's four main strategic pillars, read Warc's exclusive report: Tension, controversy, technology: How Calvin Klein builds its brand.)

"It shows a sequence of adoption for a new product or innovation based on the characteristics of each group of adopters. And it explains how to introduce disruptive thinking to create mass appeal."

That objective, according to Goldie, is "the very definition of modern marketing", which must go beyond simple disruption to foster conversations and advocacy.

"We can't rely on trends and fashion to carry our business, even if we're in the trend and fashion business," she said. "We have to build brand evangelism.

"Which is the same challenge that is faced by creators of new technology: it's not enough to convince a few people you've got a new idea that's relevant to them."

It is here that the first two cohorts within the technology-adoption cycle play a key role - especially if the product they are championing has true crossover appeal.

"You have to make the concept relevant to the innovators. You have to convince a lot of people, and you can't do it alone," said Goldie.

"You also need the help of the early adopters, because without their help, you are not going to cross the chasm between these first two groups from the early majority and the late majority.

"Which means your business success depends on convincing a small group of people to help you reach a large group of people. And to do that, you better have something that matters to say: something provocative and something disruptive."

Data sourced from Warc