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Laggards in Marketing: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:02 Definition of Laggards…
  • 0:58 Traits of Early Adopters
  • 2:10 Tailoring the Marketing Plan
  • 3:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: James Carnrite

A marketing, communications, and supply chain professional who has a masters degree in IT Mangement. Has been working with young professionals to develop their leadership styles.

In this lesson, we'll be looking at laggards in marketing, which are a group of consumers who avoid change. After the lesson, you can test your knowledge with a short quiz.

Definition of Laggards in Marketing

Laggards in marketing comprise a group of consumers who avoid change and may not be willing to adopt a new product until all traditional alternatives are no longer available. The group is mostly concerned with reliability and low cost and represents about 16% of the consumer population. They are typically not interested in higher content, but rather the products or services must have credibility, be available easily, and be simple to use.

Studies have shown that laggards contain some specific characteristics, which are important for a marketing team to recognize when developing their plan. Laggards typically have lower income with low levels of education. They have low status and low social mobility. In many cases, their low level of income restricts them from having the financial resources to spend on innovative products at higher prices. As a result, they tend to wait until the price falls before making a purchase.

Traits of Early Adopters

Laggards, much like the innovators, are not reliant on group status quo and values. Instead, their past experience and background deeply impacts their decision-making process. Typically, by the time a laggard has adopted an innovation, it has become outdated and oftentimes has been replaced with a newer product or version. The laggard group is a doubtful group that feels isolated from the changes in society. An example of this mentality would be purchasing a VHS player after the DVD player was already dominating the market.

Marketing professionals and advertising agencies try to ignore laggards simply because they are not enthused by the techniques or by personal selling and will likely only purchase a new product if they are in a situation where they absolutely must. Understanding the diffusion of innovation plays a key role in successfully spreading the innovation across the different audiences. Interpersonal communication becomes an essential component for the adoption of the product, especially for the risk-averse laggards. The recognition of this principle will be critical when tailoring the marketing plan to this group. It must portray how interpersonal communication is influential through time and to the group of laggards in particular.

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