The Hype Cycle


Hype, as Deloitte specialists define it, is “publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind”. Brands use hype to market their products to a large audience in a short time, appealing to customers who are interested in excitement, novelty and exclusivity. They also exploit a consumer’s “need” to own something specific, which is driven by the illusion of scarcity.

In the case of technology, hype is the marketing campaign that creates a perception of a new product’s potential as a business-enabling tool or game-changing innovation. It is a common way for tech companies to get their foot in the door and build awareness for a new product or service.

It can be a valuable marketing tool, as long as it is used wisely and the company behind it has concrete earnings to show for the efforts. However, the hype cycle is often misused and can lead to overly optimistic estimates of a technology’s future value.

The hype cycle is a key part of Gartner’s assessment of the maturity of emerging technologies, and it provides a framework for businesses to make informed decisions about investing in new technologies. It can help them understand where a technology is in its development process and how to prioritize investments, saving companies time, money and resources while avoiding technologies that have little or no future prospects for success.

To create hype, a technology must be developed to a level of technical sophistication that is capable of providing a business-enabling function or experience, and be able to attract customers who are willing to pay for it. Once a technology is deemed ready for prime time, it will enter the mainstream marketplace.

This can be a difficult transition, as it may take a while for a new technology to gain market acceptance. The technology might need to be re-worked and re-positioned to address specific concerns and user needs, and it might need to be sold at a steep discount to encourage adoption.

In the case of social networks, hype can be a powerful driver of engagement but can also lead to problems with the platform’s mechanics. For example, Facebook’s live experiences like Houseparty suffered from a fundamental flaw when push notifications got too loud and the flywheel mechanics broke down, leaving users feeling disconnected and unsure of how to participate in the experience.

As a result, people started to ignore them or unsubscribe from the service. While it’s possible to rebuild a network back up, the challenge is in teaching people how to use the service despite their perception of the network having fallen from its perceived height.

It’s a tricky situation, and one that is best avoided at all costs. The best strategy is to find a balance between building the hype train and keeping it at a reasonable level for your community.

Getting hype right requires a clear understanding of what consumers want and how they feel about a particular product or brand. It also requires a good grasp of consumer psychology, especially as it pertains to Millenials and Gen Z.