- A study was recently completed by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute into the smallest number of people that through exerting influence in a network, can bring about change.
Apparently the number is slightly less than 10% – provided that the core base is highly committed and not prepared to change themselves.
This has quite significant implications for marketers, whether the product being sold is a political party, a concept, or a physical good. When the number of people that are required to hit critical mass is so small the potential for success becomes greater. The issue is clearly to follow the maxim that great marketers have laid down for as long as I can remember. That is to have a bull’s eye target market that you start with when you are planning to sell something, and, just as important, to ensure that the following that is built is passionate and unchangeable, bearing in mind that “the less reasonable will prevail”.
The less reasonable. Who are they? And what does this mean to you?
For those who are selling it means that you have to build a passionate following for your product. This is what some of the big online brands have managed to do on their way to greatness. Think about Google, Amazon… What could you do with your brand that would put you in that league? Or even a fraction of it!
It is a particularly interesting question at the moment given that we are now entering what I would call the third wave of internet business. This is the time when the mainstream of internet users start to “get it” and are sufficiently motivated by what they see around them to become passionate about it (the critical 10%, perhaps?).
It is this rising tide of mainstream web acceptance that is going to be the greatest disruptive force ever seen in commerce. Wherever passions can be awakened and ideas become entrenched there will be change. The task is all about finding reasons to create intractable support for products, brands, ideas by the magic 10%.
For most legacy businesses, this going back to basics is very hard. It requires leadership not just management. And for most mature businesses, leadership of the kind required means an increased level of risk. But in this model the paradox is that by not leading, the risk is absolutely increased.
- How Revolutions Take Hold (bigthink.com)
- Study Shows Majority is Less Popular than Believed (arnoldit.com)
- 10% Influence Rule on Social Networks (broadstuff.com)
- Poll: Tea Party Out of Step with the Rest of U.S. on Climate (ecocentric.blogs.time.com)