VIDEO: Maturity and Adoption Models for business explained

VIDEO: Maturity and Adoption Models for business explained


Hi, I’m Scott Hutcheson with the Strategic Web. Today I’d like to talk about a tool I use in virtually all of my work, the maturity model or adoption curve. These types of models are particularly useful when attempting to introduce an innovation or really any type of practice or change for an organization. Specifically, you can help you better understand why a new practice may not be taking hold or progressing as successfully as you’d like. So what exactly is an adoption curve or maturity model? In short, these models help identify where a business is in the process of adding an activity.

This could be anything, user center design an HR management platform, thought leadership, safety procedures, digital transformation. Basically anything that can have some sort of progressive advancement associated with it can use a maturity model. These models usually have four or five stages. The one I’ve developed for my work has five.

So let’s go over what each of those look like real quick.

Stage one is ignore. Essentially you don’t know about the thing or think it’s irrelevant. If you are aware of it, you’re probably pretty skeptical that it could work for you. For instance, this would be a brand that doesn’t really know much about social media influencer marketing in their industry, or doesn’t really think that it fits their needs.

A real world example might be Ivy League universities. I couldn’t find any examples of them using influencer marketing to promote their degree programs. Stage two is investigate. At this stage, the business is now aware of the practice and are starting to investigate it for their own use. Lots of experimentation happens at this stage.

It might be ad hoc throughout the organization or take place within only one unit or department. Also the activities aren’t really part of anyone’s job at this point. It’s just on top of their regular work. To continue that influencer marketing example, the businesses now checking out influencers in their market and probably trying in a few engagements here and there.

Maturity or Adoption model with five stages : 1. Ignore 2. Investigate 3. Incorporate 4. Integrate 5. Innate

It’s a very “Hey, let’s see how it goes,” stage. A real world example might be McDonald’s. They used Khaby Lame, one of those popular creators on Tiktok. He’s this guy. And they use influencers elsewhere too, but considering the overall scope and size of their marketing program, they just seem to be dabbling in influencer marketing right now. Stage 3 is incorporate at this stage, the practice is now part of regular work and probably a formal part of someone’s job description. Unlike stage two, there are now some recognizable patterns present.

It’s a thing that someone could train another person how to do. This doesn’t even mean that the business is particularly good at it yet. They’re just doing it with some regularity and have some set procedures.

In our example that business may now be regularly using some influencer marketing folks as part of their overall marketing activities. They’re getting used to measuring its effectiveness and are attempting to be better at it.

Meal prep delivery services are probably a good example of a stage three influencer marketing program in the real world.

If you watch enough YouTube videos, you’ll be sure to see a Hello Fresh sponsored post eventually. Many use it often, and it feels fully incorporated into their marketing, but it doesn’t yet seem connected into their brand culture yet. They use it a lot, but not in a very sophisticated or integrated way. Which brings us to

Stage four is integrate. Now the practice is common and integrated. It’s discussed as something inseparable from regular work. It probably influences almost everyone’s job, but still might be led by a person or team. If it isn’t already, it might be even part of someone’s job title now.In our example, it now means that influencer marketing is fully insinuated into daily work and its value is now a given. They’ve developed successful methods of measuring and improving it. They may even be looked at as thought leaders in this area by their colleagues and competitors.

The cosmetics industry has really embraced influencer marketing in the real world. And probably many brands are at a stage four with it. More than mere sponsorships, influencers use their products and review them. These brands pay attention to the reactions on social media and may even adjust their product development based on that data. It’s pretty well integrated and inseparable from their core marketing initiatives. Stage five is innate. Now the practice is indistinguishable and inseparable from the business’ goals and methods. It’s woven into the fabric of the culture.

It’s no longer work they look at it’s a lens through which work is viewed. For our example, we’re no longer dealing with a business that merely uses influencer marketing as a major part of their work. This would instead, maybe be an agency that is dedicated to managing influencer marketing relationships. It’s their brand. A global firm like viral nation is a great example of this.

They eat and breathe influencer marketing. It’s their identity. So there are the basics and keep in mind, that’s a very basic overview. There’s lots of nuance within those stages that I didn’t go over and there were no hard edges or magic threshold to cross for each stage. The key takeaway here is that trying to insist people do the activities of a stage three while they’re just starting out in a stage two will almost certainly make the initiative fail.

And this will often influence leadership to make one of two mistakes. First, they might decide that practice just isn’t for them and give up on it. Second, they may feel the team members just need to try harder or be more compliant. Neither of those are really the issue. They’re just expecting the results of a later stage while in the midst of an earlier one.

Also bonus note. Adoption models apply to customer experiences too.I hope I’ve given you something to think about.

And thanks for watching. In the next video. I’m going to go over a bit about assessing what stage you’re at in a maturity model. And we’ll look at a key hidden component of progressing through adoption stages, which is the concept of capacity. Capacity is critical to making maturity models work. Thanks and see you next time.


The Strategic Web is an independent consultancy focused on innovation strategy. I help businesses and organizations develop strategies to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and progress out of static practices.

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