Thereâ€™s a very cool article that came out yesterday that discusses the unimportance of influencers in marketing. We should probably get Raquel involved when sheâ€™s back and the office and do a white paper, but I think a blog post that goes something like this might be good. Any ideas?
I imagine weâ€™ll be writing a little bit more about this in the next couple of days, but I think itâ€™s worthwhile to point some fascinating research that is being done by Duncan Watts on how much the concept of influencers actually affects the marketing process.
This is a subject that is rather controversial at the moment, even around the lab â€“ the discussion of opinions about how information flows through networks. Are desciprtions presented in things like â€œThe Tipping Pointâ€ accurate or are depictions of network theory more accurately depicted by books like â€œLinked.â€? While thatâ€™s a very academic description of what weâ€™re talking about, consider this: How does your message reach a consumer? Should you go through an influencer? Those are the types of questions that information flow theory answers.
â€œIt just doesnâ€™t work,â€ Watts says, when I meet him at his gray cubicle at Yahoo Research in midtown Manhatten, which is unadorned except for a whiteboard crammed with equations. â€œA rare bunch of cool people just donâ€™t have that power. And when you test the way markets say the world works, it falls apart. Thereâ€™s no there there.â€
Still unconvinced? Pay attention here, then, because this is the real reason you should be listening:
â€œAnd this is not, he agrees, mere academic whimsy. He has developed a new technique for propagating ads virally, which can double or even quadruple the reach of an ordinary online campaign by harnessing the pass-around power of everyday people â€“ and ignoring influentials altogether.â€