New word-of-mouth marketing strategies

I really enjoyed Gladwell’s book but research shows it was filled with situational evidence for an intuitively sounding theory. Duncan Watts of Columbia University shows how social epidemics do unfold in the Harvard Business Review list of breakthrough ideas for 2007. Found via Jason Kottke.

“In his best-selling book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell argues that “social epidemics” are driven in large part by the actions of a tiny minority of special individuals, often called influentials, who are unusually informed, persuasive, or well connected. The idea is intuitively compelling—we think we see it happening all the time—but it doesn’t explain how ideas actually spread… Understanding that trends in public opinion are driven not by a few influentials influencing everyone else but by many easily influenced people influencing one another should change how companies incorporate social influence into their marketing campaigns. Because the ultimate impact of any individual—highly influential or not—depends on decisions made by people one, two, or more steps away from her or him, word-of-mouth marketing strategies shouldn’t focus on finding supposed influentials. Rather, marketing dollars might better be directed toward helping large numbers of ordinary people—possibly with Web-based social networking tools—to reach and influence others just like them.”



  1. merkt dat we clusters klanten hebben, groepen vriendinnen, families, straten. “Ik hoorde het van mijn vriendid cq. broer/zus/moeder, buurman/vrouw.”
    Technologie die gebruikt maakt van mobiele telefoons zoals SMS waarbij je een tool of bericht geeft waarmee mensen hun eigen vrienden en kennissen SMS’n ken ik nog niet.

  2. Good point raised. There are two schools of thoughts at the moment if we can call it like that. “The influentials” by The keller Fay group in the states, preaching the law of the few influential ones and “your everyday man and woman” with Bzz agent. I believe both are valid, it just depends on the brand and the marketing challenge it face. These WOM marketing tools can be used separetly or together as part of an integrated campaign.the proof? Keller fay and Bzz Agent have just engaged in a strategic partnership on the matter.

  3. @Yuri: tnx for the link. Indeed, it illustrates nicely what the economic value is of being relevant through recommendations, either automated or non-automated.

    @David: It would be interesting to see the results of campaigns of both companies. But clearly, the see the value of working together and going for an integrated approach.

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