Yesterday's post on Influentials generated some great comments and got me thinking (yet again) ... and this is where it is going ...
Process Over Targeting
In building your marketing/digtial strategy and beginning to execute, the challenge is not in the targeting, but in establishing a transmissable message. It is about creating a flow between participants in the conversation about your brand. As David Reich says, "... if Watts is right about the randomness of who the influentials are, then it's difficult to accurately target them". This means that focusing on process rather than targeting will allow you to capitalise on network/word of mouth effects as they occur. It makes your message RESILIENT.
Conversation Affects the Network
Mike Arauz raises an interesting point. What happens to the entire network as conversation takes hold? I have no data to back this up, but I have a feeling that by activating the network of weak links that the network itself becomes more susceptible to the trend. This is almost the reverse of a network of influence ... it is bottom up. With her interest and expertise in network dynamics, I would love to know what Leigh makes of this idea.
The Curious Are the New Influentials
Again, no data on this, but contagion, or idea spreading (or as Seth Godin would say, "the ideavirus") seems to occur not with the influencers, but with the curious. That is, those individuals who are interested in "things", who seek out, who suspend judgement and criticism -- it is "the curious" who are responsible for sparking trends and initiating their broad acceptance. Take a look at this great clip featuring Seth Godin -- five minutes of insight thanks to Mark Hancock.
Where does curiosity come from? "Perhaps somewhere beyond my cleverness". I wish I wrote that!
Update: Seth Godin chimes in on Duncan Watts' article.