Did you know it’s possible to subscribe to a service that delivers hand-picked craft beers to your house every month? What about coffee, gin, shaving equipment, underwear, geek and gaming-related merchandise, beauty products, or even toys and treats for your dog?
Consumer demand for curation, provenance and community has made subscription boxes into big business, promising startups recurring revenue and a captive audience. But how do you grow in a segment that most people don’t know about?
The diffusion of innovation
Subscription-based startups face what’s sometimes called diffusion of innovation. This 60s-era theory explains how a new idea reaches critical mass through the innovation itself, communication channels, time and social systems.
What we’re interested in is the way a new product moves through a bell curve of adoption from innovators, to early adopters and the early majority; think how Google Glass failed to reach beyond a small minority of the tech-obsessed, but the iPhone crossed the bell curve to saturation.
The model is a useful way to think about marketing. ….