The Guide to the American Values Survey should be required reading for cleantech marketers.
The Survey is a public policy tool. But a little reordering of the Survey segments to align with Rogers Curve segments makes the Survey an outstanding resource for cleantech product positioning and pricing.
The values of Rogers’ Innovators and Early Adopters align well with the Values Survey’s Idealists and Greenest Americans, shown in dark green.
Innovators and Early Adopters are the segments where new products should get traction and the Values Survey points to a problem. Idealists and Greenest Americans only make up 12% of the population. Innovators and Early Adopters are usually over 15% of a population.
The segment next in line for product diffusion is Caretakers, shown in pale green. The Values Survey includes Caretakers among the greenies but marketers should not. Caretakers only lean toward green as long as it doesn’t cost extra. For example you will get no marketing value from lower carbon emissions – only energy savings that pay for themselves.
Next to Caretakers are the Murky Middles. Their opinions about “green-ness” are whatever the strongest opinions around them are.
And segments beyond – the Traditionalists and segments further along the curve, shown in grey and black – are very price sensitive about going green. And in many cases they are very vocal.
So, the conventional wisdom of launching new tech-based products with premium pricing can be a trap for new cleantech products. It can doom them to marginally-profitable niche markets – at best.