Monday, January 21, 2008

Marketing Musings: Is the Tipping Point Toast?

Finding your audience in this fragmented media environment driving you crazy? You just have to find influencers right? Wrong… according to an Aussie researcher now working at Yahoo. Definitely an interesting position in this “Tipping Point” focused world.

Here is an excerpt:

Gladwell's book laid out many other factors that can "tip" a trend. He described other influential types: Mavens, who love to collect information and help others make decisions, and suave Salesmen of ideas. In order to spread, an idea or product had to be "sticky," and appear in a fertile social context. But as The Tipping Point climbed the charts, marketers fixated on Gladwell's Law of the Few, his suggestion that rare, highly connected people shape the world. For anyone involved in pitchmanship, it was an electrifying notion, one that took a highly complex phenomenon--the spread of memes through society--and made it simple. Reach the gatekeepers, and you reach the world.

Marketers seized on Malcolm Gladwell's "Law of the Few," his suggestion That rare, highly connected people shape the world. But Watts, for one, didn't think the gatekeeper model was true. It certainly didn't match what he'd found studying networks. So he decided to test it in the real world by remounting the Milgram experiment on a massive scale. In 2001, Watts used a Web site to recruit about 61,000 people, then asked them to ferry messages to 18 targets worldwide. Sure enough, he found that Milgram was right: The average length of the chain was roughly six links. But when he examined these pathways, he found that "hubs"--highly connected people--weren't crucial. Sure, they existed. But only 5% of the email messages passed through one of these superconnectors. The rest of the messages moved through society in much more democratic paths, zipping from one weakly connected individual to another, until they arrived at the target.

The full Fast Company article is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hiring Strategy for Sales and Marketing Performance

Learn how to supercharge your business growth by hiring top producers and sales superstars.

When I was top producer everywhere I worked, I thought the only reason I was top producer was because companies didn’t hire people like me who were difficult to manage. You know the type: eager to please, always looking for more to do, always wanting more responsibility, always wanting to know more than you think they need to know. This was me. A pain—but worth every penny if you properly channel their energy. So I swore that when I got into a position of authority, I would hire this type of person.

Then I went to work for Charlie Munger and had the freedom to hire anyone I wanted. When I tried to hire nothing but superstars, I discovered that this is an incredibly rare breed. Consequently, I spent the last 20 years studying the phenomena that make top producers and superstar employees.

One-person armies may think they are not in the position to hire anyone, especially superstars. But you’ll learn otherwise. Think of what just one top producing salesperson could do for your business. What could you focus on and accomplish if you had someone else who was expertly handling your sales? How much faster could your business grow? I’ve shown many entrepreneurs who didn’t think they could afford salespeople how to hire a whole team of salespeople on straight commission. This is a profound breakthrough for most businesses and can reshape your entire company almost overnight. So if you think you can’t possibly hire or don’t need a superstar right now, think again.


One-person armies and smaller companies: Take a moment to list three initiatives that you would love to hire someone to execute in which the reward could be great if they did an excellent job for you. Next to each initiative write down what it could mean to your business and your bottom line—estimate its monetary value. Now list what you could afford to pay that person if they really performed. If the reward is big enough, you can always get people who will share in the reward.

Large or medium-sized companies: List up to three jobs for which you should be hiring right now even if that requires replacing someone who is not performing at the superstar level. Next to each job write down what it would mean to your business to have a superstar in that position. Give your best estimate of the monetary value of hiring that superstar. Now list what you could afford to pay them if they performed.


I had a client that sold Internet web listings to plastic surgeons. For example, if you are considering breast augmentation you can go to his website and look at hundreds of before and after photos and then choose a plastic surgeon in your area to talk to about it. This web listing company was started by a top producer. When we met, he was doing all the selling himself. Since he was a superb salesperson, he resisted hiring other salespeople for a number of reasons.

1. He didn’t want to give up the commission he could be making.

2. He had no experience hiring others and wasn’t sure how to proceed or structure it.

3. He thought hiring salespeople would cost him more money than they are worth to him.

We did the math. If he paid just 20% commission to the salesperson he would get to keep 80% of the revenue. Plus, if the salesperson sold as many accounts as he did each month, the salesperson could earn a six-figure income.

Based on that, we put an ad in the paper using the highest possible figure as bait. It’s amazing how so many companies will put the average income of what a salesperson can make in their ads. That’s how you get average salespeople. Put the highest possible number that a top, top person can make in your ads. More on this later.

Within a few months, this entrepreneur had five salespeople working for him and it increased the company’s revenue nearly five fold. What’s more, the owner himself went from working in the business to working on the business. He has since built a number of highly successful companies and is forever altered in his thinking about hiring superstars.