Rogers’ Five Factors in Marketing Innovation

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The world of business is full of direct instructions on how to deal with money and all constituent parts, such as partners, customers, goods specifications, and services. This can be also mentioned with a sort of technological approach which helps to fasten the process of making goods or services possible for end consumers or customers. A huge number of experts try to evaluate the points of how to make the diffusion of products more effective and proved for a businessman and a company on the whole. The point props up against the prospects of Rogers’ five categories of adopters and the research of this author about the ways of further promotion of products. Rogers in his theory proves that every innovation should go through several stages of acknowledgment throughout masses and this pathway adheres to five factors which can be outlined as grave motives for further dimension and evaluation of innovation.

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Thus, in research which was made by Everett Rogers and his colleague Geoffrey Moor the point of gradual taking up of innovation is rather underlined with prospects on the diffusion of it inside the population during a definite period of time. Though, these two scholars drew a scheme that figures out the steps which should be passed until an innovative technology or decision will be widely spread. The process of innovation diffusion starts with the innovator(s) follows up early adopters, then the early majority, late majority, and, at last, laggards (Gourville, 2006).

This approach is considered with a vast majority of people and historically this principle subdues the logical interpretation of suchlike succession of diffusion within masses. It is not surprising that when something is invented, patented, and then represented in stores, from the very beginning it would have a high price and would not be available for the whole number of consumers. That is why any innovation should go through some limits of time, so that to succeed among the most active part of customers, meaning the middle class of the society.

The factors which Rogers made core elements for every business-related person include:

  1. Relative advantage.
  2. Compatibility.
  3. Complexity.
  4. Trialability.
  5. Observability (Gourville, 2006, p. 2).

All five factors have a reciprocal relation between each other and can distinctively ask for questions related to their meaning, in particular. Though, the first factor identifies the advantageous character of innovation in comparison with previous or current ones. The second point evaluates the reliability of a product in terms of “existing values and experiences” (Gourville, 2006, p. 2). The third one points out the level of difficulty which innovation can represent to a customer, for the first time. The fourth shows the level of probable experimentation on a limited basis (Gourville, 2006). Finally, the fifth reflects the level of a product’s visibility in contrast with others. These five characteristics serve as a great estimation of the real nature of a product without any attempts to overrate the true values and capabilities, perhaps, of this or that product at a definite cut of time.

Taking into account the way, which an innovation goes through, it is obvious that this process is fully social and can be derived from communication. Here the role of those who make impacts on a wider diffusion of a product is rather high. These people are called by E. Rogers as “social agents” and he in person commented the principles of his theory as such: “Diffusion is a process by which innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system” (Sevcik, 2004, p. 8).

So the way product diffusion should contemplate does not exclude the communicative function of business and those who are involved in it directly. Notwithstanding how much time such innovation takes it is necessary for human beings to follow the torrent which leads to perfection using newly-born innovations and inventions which can, surely, make life easier and better for living. Otherwise, a person resisting the flow of recent changes can simply lag behind the progressive and adapted to the time demands layer of the society. They can, undoubtedly, be placed in the category of ‘laggards’ and provide their conservative lifestyle without having enough information in the framework of the highly technological era.

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… those who do not adopt an innovation must be rather small-minded and do so because of some irrational resistance to change. This fails to consider the possibility that t the time of its initial introduction, external circumstances may render it impractical or too expensive for some potential adopters (Cited in Doole & Lowe, 1997, p. 72).

Here comes a word about the role of those who easily adapt the trendy and innovative technologies making themselves by such actions successful in using the innovation from the very beginning of their emergence on markets. A role of an innovative man goes without saying here. A great and quite distinctive definition of an innovative person gives International encyclopedia of ergonomics and human factors (2006) where “the innovative person is defined by the degree to which the individual adopts new ideas relatively early compared to others in the social environment” (Karwowski, 2006, p. 1561). This does not contradict a traditional evaluation of those who urge to find more contemporary data in this or that sphere of knowledge. Such people cannot be grasped adequately in the society at once, but such people have more chances to succeed in their activities due to their modern view on changes appearing now and then.

Turning to the idea of innovations and Rogers’ five factors it is necessary to mention that companies can use the advantages of this theory due to its logically arranged character and the capacity to explain every point of the theory by means of a large scope of initiatives and perspectives which Rogers’ theory represent to people and business circles. In other words, the use of the theory proves its dedication toward the further gaining of profits growing sequentially until reaching its apogee and boom of prices on a definite innovation. One more advantage provides a strict prediction of marketing technologies while apprehending Rogers’ five factors to a peculiar kind of business. Moreover, this helps an ordinary observer to calculate the time which is needful for promotion and the point on promotion efficacy, on the whole.

Those five factors are quite important due to their reliance on the sphere of the electronic way of commerce provision. It became more emphasized in the twenty-first century and with a wide use of Internet innovation. The results of adherence to Rogers in e-business implementation proved his theory positively and added one more advantage of this theory which after few decades since it was invented by Everett Rogers still stays a contemporary approach towards different innovations appearing today and concerned with technological and technical spheres.

In the constantly changing environment, where those things which seemed popular and contemporary yesterday were replaced by new, highly competitive ones, the human factor plays a significant role. It is so because of the social character of product diffusion, as was mentioned above.

When a man faces an innovative product he/she needs confirmation of its quality and other characteristics which makes such innovation special in comparison with others. That is why Everett Rogers strives in his publication to divide the audience of people facing with innovations into five groups which are closely related to his research accompanied with Geoffrey Moor, namely: Explorers, Pioneers, Skeptics, Paranoids, Laggards (Hooley, Saunders, Piercy, and Nicoulaud, 2008). These categories of people having been presented with an innovation vary in their attitudinal relationships and approaches toward the extent of innovation.

When a product becomes new in the market it does not mean that it will be popular within cu0stomers. The specific supplements are significant in this case, namely a news survey on this product and commercials which can make this product well-known among the population. It is a theme of great significance for managers and their seniors. The launch period presupposes also high expenditures until the time when a product would reach the point of general appreciation among customers. “Expenditures can be very high during launch and returns in the form of sales not yet realized. Significant budgets may need to be assigned to give the launch the best prospects of success” (Hooley, Saunders, Piercy, and Nicoulaud, 2008, p. 342)

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So it is rather clever for businessmen to calculate all possible profits and expenditures while providing an innovation during its launch period. That is why the main disadvantage of Rogers’ theory of “five factors” is realized in time and risk prospects. Since innovators invent something and prove the capability of the innovation in comparison with others a great piece of time may be needful for such perspectives and there is no absolute assurance that this invention will be acknowledged positively by people. That is a risky measurement when someone faces such a challenge to provide people with something new. In fact, it neglects previous experience and gives an opportunity for creative thinking. The world of commerce and business is fulfilled with a lot of innovations, especially, during the last few years. It takes into account mainly the sphere of high technologies and fields of biotechnological approach and the sphere of design and fashion.

One of the practical examples of sharing innovations is the well-known company popular with a vast majority of customers, Philips Corporation. This worldwide company with its subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, particularly, urges from time to time to invent more and more amenities for people wanting to use technological decisions first hand. The company is responsible for a row of innovations which now are taken for granted by a contemporary man. It is worth mentioning that this company provided the world of technological progress in the twentieth century with cassettes, CDs, DVDs.

These innovations needed a fact of inventors’ cooperation and the society’s readiness for such highly technological appearance of innovations being too significant for people afterward. One of the researchers working for Philips Yung Peng states: “A balance between the interests of the inventor and the interests of society is important. When we use patents well, they are a stimulus to the invention. Patents ensure everyone plays by the same rules” (Philips, 2009) The role of patenting the products was rather high for a company because of the impact of close competitors, such as Sony, Panasonic, etc.

The company proved its quality of products and reliability of innovations due to positive feedbacks from customers all around the world. The company is still working over the technological facilities for people using different kinds of technical equipment at home or in the workplace. The success of the company established in the year 1891 is due to the word “innovation,” with which Philips gained worldwide appreciation.

The invention of Coca-Cola is a distinctive and grave example of how the innovation is spread within masses but after a long time. The thing is that the beverages in the eighteenth century were without a great assortment and many researchers and chemists tried to invent something original and extra-ordinary in comparison with what people drank at that time. John Stith Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886 and this beverage differed from others because of the use of coca plants and nuts of cola (Coca-Cola, 2007).

The destination of the beverage was to stimulate people and charge them with the energetic effect of its ingredients. The first year of beverage promotion was a total loss because the amounts of profits were twenty dollars less than the expenses which were previously invested by Pemberton.

A curious thing pointed out is the fact that this innovation being today one of the most popular and famous trademarks became widely used by Americans only after 50 years since the invention. It became known worldwide after World War II when it also was known as Coke in the year 1946 (Coca-Cola, 2007). One of the Indian researchers Ashok Khosla once commented on the mutual flow of inventions and innovations by such words:

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…the story of how all inventions and innovations get to the big time, from Coca-Cola to the Sony Walkman, can be understood through showing how much money was invested at each stage of a product’s development and diffusion. “It’s a numbers game” (the Lemelson-MIT Program, 2003).

With a strong and constantly growing flow of scientific and technical progress, the use of cars became popular and available in the world. Cars helped people to get to various places faster and more conveniently. In the 1920s up to 1950s cars were lack of safety parameters and mechanisms that could save too many lives in peacetime and during World War I and World War II. Mercedes-Benz was the company that invented a safety cage “with front and rear crumple zones” in the corporal part of the automobile in 1951 (Merceds-Benz, 2009). This innovation was at the time of its first steps in the market not given the glad hand. It needed time and large investments for a further embodiment of the inventors’ dream. Anti-lock brakes were also first provided by Mercedes-Benz in 1978 (Mercedes-Benz, 2009). Airbags were also proposed and used in Mercedes-Benz for the first time. This automobile company is one of the leaders in the world automobile market according to the points of design and safety.

Thus, the theory of Everett Rogers provided a rational approach toward the points of innovations within the circles of customers. His five-factor schedule for innovations’ steps of gradual flow toward widespread use is effective for experts and observers of new decisions in various fields of activities and product qualifications. The theory, actually, proves its destination and has many advantages, but it points out time prospects with probable risk.


  1. Coca-Cola. (2009). Fascinating facts about the invention of Coca-Cola® by John S. Pemberton in 1886.
  2. Doole, I., Robin, L. (1997). International Marketing Strategy: Contemporary Readings Cengage Learning EMEA.
  3. Gourville, J T. (2006). Note on Innovation Diffusion: Rogers’ Five Factors. Harvard Business School.
  4. Hooley, G J., Saunders, J, Piercy, N F., and Nicoulaud, B. (2008) Marketing Strategy and Competitive Positioning. Ed. 4. Pearson Education.
  5. Karwowski, W. (2006). International encyclopedia of ergonomics and human factors. Ed. 2. CRC Press.
  6. Lemelson-MIT Program and LEAD International. (2003). ‘Invention and Innovation for Sustainable Development.’ School of Engineering. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  7. Mercedes-Benz Safety Innovations. Web.
  8. Philips. (2009). Patents and innovation. Web.
  9. Sevcik, P. (2004). Innovation Diffusion. Business Communications Review, 34, 8+.

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