Home > advertising theory > Influencing the influencers, is it that influential?

Influencing the influencers, is it that influential?

There is a lot of buzz going on about this Fast Company article: “Is the Tipping Point Toast?”.

“Marketers spend a billion dollars a year targeting influentials. Duncan Watts says they’re wasting their money.”

Duncan Watts doesn’t believe in Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping point theory that a few influencers ‘create’ or dictacte succesful trends.

He believes these super-connected people turn out to have little influence and trying to identify them and encourage them to start new trend is just a waste of money.

I would say fair enough, if only he was proposing an alternative model to launching new trends.

The article concludes:

“The ultimate irony of Watts’s research is that, if you really buy it, the most effective way to pitch your idea is … mass marketing.”

I don’t know. It just seems to be a lot of hot air to me.

Yes, having a few super-influencers to try your products and endorse them is not a guarantee for mass-market adaption. I was actually reading the book ‘influencers’ that claim the opposite. If you aim to introduce a product to the mainstream, you should stay away from innovators and super-trendy people because they put off the mainstream from adopting your product. Instead you should aim for the ‘early adopters’ who although less connected, still have a huge impact on their social circle.


But that raises a question which is, where do ‘early adopters’ look for inspiration, if not from these innovators in the first place?

I can’t agree that targetting influencers is a waste of money but agree that relying only on it is like playing russian roulette. That’s why we have marketing plan targetting different audiences with different messages on different channels. To maximise the chances of mass-market adoption.

So it’s just a question of not putting all your eggs in the same basket I guess.


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