The ‘Mavens’ or Influencers concept poularised by Malcolm Gladwell in his ‘Tipping Point’ book may turn out to be a piece of fiction.
Independent research by Duncan Watts(one of the three godfathers of Network Theory) and by researchers at HP Labs suggests that the mavens are actually no better at driving the take-up of a new idea through a social network than other members. What really drives take-up is the susceptibility of the network to the new idea itself. Although we have learnt a lot about the mavens in the past few years, we still know practically nothing about how to make networks susceptible to new ideas.
Oh well, back to the drawing board!
A thought: Wouldn’t it be a delicious irony if the effectiveness of social marketing was actually dependent to some extent upon the ground being well prepared by traditional broadcast marketing.
Tip of the hat to Francois at Emergence Marketing for the link.
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