PR Advice,Social media,Wine Business

Once I got to this one, I got this one

The wine business was founded by farmers. This group of people are basically scientists. They use the left (logical and repetitive based on history) side of their brains. “Prove it and I’ll use it,” is their axiom.

Now, imagine someone who comes along who is right brained (intuitive and creative), and that person wants to convince a farmer that the latest, innovative technology is going to help the farmer sell his products. “Prove it and I’ll use it” will still be the chant.

Imagine the frustration of the intuitive person, who needs the product to be used, in order to “Prove it.”

The adoption process of a new idea happens this way:

Innovators – They’re the first to adopt. They’re eager risk takers. These people tend to be younger and well educated. They also have many contacts outside of their immediate social group, and rely on other innovators for their ideas, rather than sales people. (3 to 5 percent)

Early adopters – They’re well respected by their peers (they are the “Joneses”), and are most likely opinion leaders. They’re probably younger, more mobile, and more creative than most people. They have fewer contacts with the outside world than innovators, and are the ones who are the first to “get” what an innovator has brought forth. (10 to 15 percent)

Early majority – They avoid risks altogether. They cautiously wait to consider a new idea only after many early adopters have proven it to be successful. (They are the ones who are keeping up with the “Joneses”). These are not the opinion leaders, they’re the followers. (34 percent)

Late majority – They’re cautious about new ideas, quite possibly older and set in their ways. They’re less likely to understand innovators, and less likely to follow the early adopters. They need strong acceptance within their own group before they’d ever consider keeping up with the Joneses. (34 percent)

Laggards – They rely on what they’ve always done, and are very suspicious of any new idea. They also rely on other laggards for their new ideas, which means they move at the speed of a snail. (5 to 16 percent)

I was just reminded of this psyche phenomenon, as my friend Paul Mabray of VinTank was voicing his frustration on Facebook:

One of the most frustrating parts of my job – talking to industry people & their inability to grasp using the internet beyond a website.

I had a similar frustration when I arrived in the business 18 years ago. I had come from a radio background, and I understood the power of radio’s persuasion for any concept, including musical riffs for making people become enraptured with rhythms and lyrics. But… to get any wine business executive to understand that radio could be used to tell their stories? Where to begin?

Today, there are outlets, like pod casts and Website radio people, like my friends Mike Horn of CRN radio and Lynn Krielow Chamberlain of iWineRadio… But, it’s still a rare use. There are so many wine professionals missing the boat…

Yeah… I know Paul’s frustration so well. Now, at least I comfort myself with the above demographic for how people come to adopt anything new, and know that there’s a psychology behind it all.

Here’s what I wrote to Paul as a lead in:

I once thought to myself, “It’s a good thing old people die off” (myself included in this thought process, because I doubt that I’ll ever use a Kindle, and I’m okay with dying ;^).

Here’s the breakdown [above], and you can always thank innovators and the early adopters. They’re the ones you don’t have to convince of anything. And, in many ways, they convince others… So, get a few endorsements from them, because they act as your sales advocates for anything… They’re already on board and they’re jazzed.

When you’re similarly frustrated, keep this list handy. It helps a lot…
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10 Responses to “Once I got to this one, I got this one”

  1. Leilani says:

    I know this curve and behavior well. I’m in sales & marketing for a new and functional beverage that helps refresh your taste. New concept, new category of beverage, and something that proves that all other foods or beverages don’t do what we can.

    There is not a day that goes by where my life revolves around trying to talk to people about WHY our beverage is right for them and hoping that they are in the “innovator” or “early adopter” section of the curve. For me, EVERY person is an intuitive, because hardly anyone will believe in such a thing until they try it. But when they do, and they get that “heeeyy, it really DOES work” look on their face, I WIN. Every time.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks for your comments, Leilani.

    I wrote about you guys once: Is SanTásti Really FanTásti?


    When I tasted your waters, I immediately loved them. I also used them during a Petite Tasting, when we were hosted by The Hess Collection (their Artezin collection has a PS). Thankfully, SanTasti helped with our blue palates. (http://www.wine-blog.org/index.php/2010/05/06/we-scored-the-scores-petite-sirah-with-alacia-vans-music-part-2/)

    Fortunately for Dark & Delicious guests, many of them will be on your upward spiral learning curve to adopters. Looking forward to meeting you!

  3. Hey, you forgot one group – The Creators – the ones that come up with the idea in the first place – MY GROUP !

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Actually, they’re the innovators/inventors. You’re covered!

  5. Ed Thralls says:


    Great post… love it and so true!

    Isn’t there also a “chasm” between Early Adopters and Early Majority that must be bridged for a product to achieve success? Many times there is not enough momentum from the first two groups to carry the product across the gap. So, the key is to really get into the Early Majority before it really takes a foothold.


  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, Ed, there is a “chasm” between these two “Earlies.”

    And how to do it is just as you’ve described.

  7. Grumpster says:

    For every idea/product/service/”solution” that struggles to get accepted and eventually does, there are 99+ that flop, and deservably so. This reality has something to do with the initial pushback. Not everyone is Steve Jobs even Paul Mabray 😉

  8. Jo, another great, insightful article. However this seasoned wine industry marketing pro is in no hurry to go to the happy hunting ground… still actively involved on/at the creator/innovator stage. Maybe this is what Mrs. Cork means when she opines that I’ve never grown-up.

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    So true, Tom.

    John, Neither am I, and neither have I…

  10. xbox 2 red lights says:

    xbox 360s…

    My dad carries about the picture on the kid who was included with his wallet….

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