I would argue that the most apparent connection between Espelencia Baptiste, Heather Horst and Erin Taylor’s “Earthquake Aftermath in Haiti: The Rise of Mobile Money Adoption and Adaptation” and F1rst, a regional “online platform that connects people with experiences they love and need in the Caribbean”, is that they are both centered around a piece of technology designed to enhance people’s lives; making transactions and communication much more fluid. As a result, the economic and social lives of users of these new technologies are improved. Baptiste, Heather and Taylor in their article highlight the rise and use of mobile money in Haiti, where Haitians are able to deposit and withdraw, and send and receive money using their mobile phones. F1rst is an online platform and mobile app that connects locals and visitors to well-reviewed restaurants, movie theatres, spas and other amenities and places of interest in various Caribbean countries. It is without a doubt that these two technological initiatives are incredible advancements for the Caribbean region. The connection that I would like to draw your attention to however, is the marketing model used to promote the adoption and use of the aforementioned products.
What is an early adopter? An early adopter is a person who quickly adopts something new, usually a technological innovation. Research has shown that university students make up an overwhelming percent of early adopters of new technology. As a result, manufacturers of new technology target university students in their marketing. This was indeed the case with the introduction of mobile money in Haiti and of F1rst within the Caribbean. Digicel, the telecommunications company that signed on to roll out the mobile money initiative in Haiti, recruited and trained university students to help push the initiative. Similarly, the authorities behind F1rst first shared their vision with students of the local universities in Trinidad and Tobago, then hired a team of them to promote the product to individuals and businesses across the country. Hear them talk about how it was done here. It’s quite clear that understanding and utilizing the power of the early adopter make for a successful marketing tactic.
In another instance, it also appears that aligning a new technological initiative with an established and reputable corporation contributes to its success too. In Haiti, Digicel (mentioned above) and Voila T-cash came on board to administer the mobile money while the banks hold it. Again, similar to what was done to kick start mobile money, F1rst partnered with some of the biggest brands in Caribbean, to include Digicel, to beef up their marketing campaign.
In conclusion, I would argue that persons in the Caribbean wishing to launch a new business venture, especially one that deals with technology, should take note. Engaging early adopters and soliciting partnerships with well-known brands within the region are two ingredients that should be present in your marketing mix; your marketing callaloo.
Jamal, how interesting. The early adapter concept is something I have really never thought about but this makes perfect sense. As popular culture is youth bases and technology driven, I can see why the youth base would be early adapters. This peace also makes and interesting argument as a business model, through a model such as this we could help to curve the unemployment amongst out youth in that region.