Simon Sinek, Start with Why Part 3

Okay let's be real here, people don't care WHY you do what you do. A customer purchases your product or service to solve a problem of theirs. Nobody would buy something thinking: This is a great company with a great vision! Let me buy something I don't need so that they can become a billion dollar company.

Well, if your company only cares about selling and you don't mind going sales cycle after sales cycle, there's really nothing wrong with it. But if you'd like to escape this rat race and gain massive success, here's something you should know.

Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Theory, developed by E.M. Rogers

According to the Law of Diffusion of Innovation by E.M. Rogers, our population is broken into 5 categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Innovators are people willing to take the risk and give pre-mature technologies a try, they are those willing to queue for hours just to be the first to get an iPhone. Early adopters are relatively open-minded but with lower risk tolerance. Then we have the early and late majority (mass market), and the laggards who bought a smartphone only when none of their friend is using SMS anymore.

We all fall under different category in the spectrum depending on the product (or idea). For example, I may be an early adopter for tech gadgets but fall under the majority category when it comes to fashion .

Innovators and early adopters are the people "who simply get it". There's not much of marketing effort needed to acquire them and that's why it's relatively easy to achieve 10% conversion rate. The tricky part is, you'll need to reach above 15-18% to access the mass market. And here's when your WHY matters.

In order to surpass 15-18% and arrive at the tipping point, you'll need promoters, and I don't mean influencers that get paid to tell people how great your product is (it works, but it also cost a lot of money). The best recommendations are always from the people we know. Hence, you'll need 15-18% of the early adopters to fall in love with your product and they will not stop talking about it to their friends and family.

It’s better to have 100 people who love you than finding a million who just sort of like you. If they love you, they will market the product for you and tell everyone else.
- Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

Interestingly, people don't talk about products they love simply because they think it's from a great company. Like I said earlier, nobody really cares. They tell people about it to demonstrate their values, their beliefs, their WHY. The products that early adopters are willing to take the risk (that it may not be a matured technology) and/or willing to suffer a certain inconvenience to be the first is the tangible proof of their WHY. They're not doing it for your company, they are doing it for themselves.

Some may argue: We can just aim to acquire the mass market!

It's true. And this is when manipulations work at its best. As long as you're offering the cheapest price, or incentivising enough, you can always sell. But you can never build loyalty as the mass market only purchase for practical reasons. A good example would be the incentive war between Grab and Uber. Most users were never loyal to one but always choose whichever offers more incentives. You may be able to acquire the mass market directly, but you'll probably need billions of dollars in your bank account.

Starting with WHY is not the only way to gain success in business, but it's the best way to attract customers with the same belief and turn them into your loyal advocates (for free!).