Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Blunting the ‘Tipping Point’?

with one comment

Too true

This got some buzz on BoingBoing and is well worth a read.

Like many in the trade, I read The Tipping Point years ago and loved it. However, since then I have heard it was not rigorous enough and confused complex, multi-causal trends with quick, simple solutions celebrated by interested parties. In the case of NYC crime – zero tolerance targeting of antisocial behaviour was important, but was just a part of the puzzle compared to abortion law changes, highly accountable and computer-assisted strategic policing, economic growth, etc. In all marcomms, where there is so much chance at work, it can be very tempting to search for magic formulas to help us understand (or, ahem, sell, our services).

Yahoo’s own Duncan Watts has been featured in a US article trashing the concept of ‘influentials’ (and selling a new technique of his own). He makes some great points about how those who cite influentials rarely describe how and why they do their influencing. Joe Bloggs can be just as important to getting a trend going and the word out than a young hipster. Watts by and large rejects the idea of influencers in favour of traditional forms of mass marketing, enhanced by some digital good sense and goodness. He also seems to suggest that if pitched right, reasonably good ideas presented at the right time can make an impact. Watts also has the courage to see how chaotic the world can be and admit that a lot of marcomms is a question of dice rolling rather than dart throwing.

However, I would argue that in the B2B world (and in specialised, small markets generally, like high fashion, professional cameras, etc etc) influencers do exist and are powerful especially on the blogosphere. People can base, or at least justify, brand preference using them like celebrity endorsers.

There are no answers yet in this game that will satisfy every question and never will be but Duncan Watts is a thinker to watch.

J

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Written by pilotlight

30/01/2008 at 3:56 pm

One Response

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  1. I think that the important thing about the ‘Tipping Point’, for most people, is that it highlights the possibility of ‘word of mouth’ (the marketeer’s ultimate short-term to medium goal (free, swift publicity)). How we achieve it, I think, takes time (the book is really just an inspiration than anything else).

    Ed

    17/02/2008 at 10:50 pm


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