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Rural entrepreneurship in Wales
Rural entrepreneurship in Wales

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3.2.1 Stages of adopting innovation

Some potential customers will be cautious and stay with their current supplier for as long as possible. Others are excited by the chance to try something new. Everett Rogers (1962) illustrates that there is a five-stage process of innovation adoption.

  • Awareness: the customer (either a consumer or another organisation) becomes aware of the existence of the innovation and has a general perception of what it entails
  • Persuasion: the owner becomes progressively interested by the innovation (usually through peer or social networks but also through advertising and promotion)
  • Trial: the firm, consumer or trade associations, or local networks test the innovation on a small scale
  • Adoption: actual decision to adopt – OU Business School research indicates that this is related to a clear business or personal use for the application (Zappala and Gray, 2006)
  • Consolidation: the agent seeks reinforcement on the decision or rejects it (in most cases, this will relate to market feedback in the form of increased sales).

Case study: Gwyneth

How would this work for Gwyneth?

  • Awareness: Gwyneth could put up posters and leave flyers to let people know that she will be bringing her products to a location at certain times
  • Persuasion: Marketing flyers could invite potential customers to purchase at a discount at a certain time
  • Trial: Gwyneth could take along a selection of her products and give out samples so potential customers can try her jams, preserves and chutneys
  • Adoption: Next time she attends a market or visits a fair, if the trial has worked there will be a queue of customers waiting to buy
  • Consolidation: If the products are enjoyed they will become regular customers and tell their friends about ‘Cottage Condiments.’

Task 16: Adopting innovation

Consider how you might plan to take your potential customers through each of these five stages.