Innovation diffusion: The need for more accurate consumer insight. Illustration of the PSAP scale as a segmentation instrument

  • Lieven De MarezEmail author
  • Gino Verleye


In spite of promising forecasts, successful diffusion and adoption rates are no longer self-evident in the information and communication technologies (ICT) market. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) for example, is only one of the innovations that failed in that market. For most such failures, an inefficient marketing and introduction strategy — due to a lack of preliminary insight in adoption potential and adopter segments – is often referred to as being the cause. For upcoming innovations, such as digital television (DTV) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)), it will be of major importance to have an accurate preliminary market insight and segmentation in order to develop more effective and segment-tailored introduction strategies. On the ‘supply side’ as well as the ‘demand side’, this need for insight is emphasised.

In the search for a method to obtain that insight before the actual introduction of the innovation, the authors established that none of the existing forecasting and segmentation methods are really appropriate. Therefore, they developed the Product Specific Adoption Potential (PSAP) scale: a segmentation tool that enables an adequate prior-to-launch profiling of the different potential adopter segments.

Illustrations are based on a case (N: 836) in which the PSAP scale was used to make an innovation segmentation for UMTS in Belgium. (UMTS is the third and most recent generation (3G) of mobile telephony.)

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication SciencesUniversity of GhentGhentBelgium

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