How to Use Technology Adoption Rates to Market Emerging Tech

February 7, 2020
Contributed by Gartner Digital Markets Analysts

Certain geographic markets are more inclined to adopt emerging technology. Do you know what they are?

Unsure of where to sell your emerging tech? Find the best geographic markets to target with your marketing efforts.

Marketing emerging software and tech can be complicated, and we often find buyers riding a roller coaster of indecision. They can say “Yes,” and then say “No,” or they can say “Yes” but then never show, leaving you and your marketing team searching for answers.

How do you know if your leads are committed or if they’re only considering your product? It could mean the difference between making a sale and wasting precious resources — and it’s that much harder in the emerging tech field, where you don’t always know who your target customers are or what the adoption rate for your tech might be.

Certain geographic markets may be more receptive to emerging technologies, which makes them ideal candidates for your targeted marketing.


What is meant by “adoption”?

In 2018 and 2019, Gartner Digital Markets surveyed small and midsize businesses (SMBs) from the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and Spain on their current and intended software and tech investments.

Over the course of analyzing this data, we looked at the following emerging technology categories:

  • Business intelligence and analytics

  • Blockchain

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

  • Virtual/augmented reality

  • Drones

  • Conversational user interface

  • Wearables

  • 3D printing and additive manufacturing

While that is not a complete list of emerging software and tech types, the variety and scope permitted us to note trends across the respondents.

What we found was that SMBs frequently express great interest in emergent technologies like 3D printing, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), and wearables, yet their enthusiasm doesn't always match up with actual investment in these tools.

Does this mean that B2B software brands that integrate these technologies have already lost the game? Not at all. There are a number of reasons for the gap we discovered between expectation and reality in software budgeting, but a few key patterns below also show a few opportunities to focus on specific technology markets.

Take a look at this breakdown of the top three countries and their interest versus actual budgets set for software investment.

Bar graph displaying the Percentage of U.S SMBs interested in vs. budgeting for different software types.

Figure 1: Key take-away: U.S. SMBs seem to be more comfortable investing in established tech like BI, analytics and cloud computing, versus 3D printing.

Bar graph displaying the Percentage of French SMBs interested in vs. budgeting for different software types.

Figure 2: Key take-away: French SMB buyers increasingly plan to invest in technology, with particular interest in emergent tech like virtual or augmented reality.

Bar graph displaying the Percentage of German SMBs interested in vs. budgeting for different software types.

Figure 3: Key take-away: German companies show more consistent adoption rates and budgeting set aside across the spectrum of traditional to emergent technologies.

While far from being a comprehensive analysis of all global trends, these findings demonstrate why it is so important to have a deeper understanding of your target market and why they might embrace or resist adopting your product.


Where to target your marketing based on this research

By observing these differences in geographic markets, emerging tech brands can more strategically determine when and where to push their products. Brands that integrate AI and machine learning, for example, will likely find interest in adoption of their technology from all three countries, yet could see greater success in France and Germany in particular. Among German industries, Gartner noted marked interest in AI from information technology, manufacturing and financial services, so a focus on these industries could help boost sales.

Blockchain technology could see increasing success this year across all three geographic markets, where funding interest is fairly consistent (23 percent in the U.S., 25 percent in France and 25 percent in Germany). Information technology, finance and accounting, healthcare and the natural resources industries increasingly adopt blockchain as a way to protect the security of their transactions and keep ahead of the competition. Between 2018 and 2019, budgeting for blockchain overall jumped 9% across all markets, relatively high compared to other technologies, according to Gartner.


A few caveats

One thing that’s important to remember about this research is that it represents trends.

For example, in the Gartner technology trends survey, insurance businesses reported less investment (10%) than manufacturing (29%) in IoT software across all markets. If you work in conversational UI, don’t shoot for manufacturing (7% reported investment) but maybe look to retail (14% reported investment), an industry that would logically be able to do more with the tech you offer through, for example, customer service chatbots.

Survey respondent pools are a portion of the population and don’t represent the interests of these industries entirely, but they highlight some interesting inclinations that can help guide the direction of further research and marketing efforts. Keep doing your own research and testing to determine the geographic markets and industries that engage the most with your product.


Three key take-aways for targeting your emerging tech marketing campaign

The world of emerging tech is filled with innovation. You have the opportunity to shape the future of business, in small and big ways. But to be able to afford to do that, you need to focus on places where your business can really make an impact.


Learn how to guide leads faster through the sales funnel by downloading our Lead Nurturing Kit.



Gartner Top Technology Trends Survey

Results presented are based on a Gartner study to understand small business challenges and approach to technology investments. The primary research was conducted online among 715 respondents in 2018 and 539 respondents in 2019.  

Companies were screened for company size in terms of:
Number of employees: 2-249 employees 
Enterprisewide annual revenue: Less than 100 million USD 

Respondents were required to be involved in purchasing technologies for the organization and hold a position of manager or above in the company.

The study was developed collaboratively by Gartner analysts and the primary research team who follow digital markets.

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