Duncan Watts is causing a ruckus. Just as Madison Avenue gets its head around niche marketing on a macro scale, the academic Aussie says marketing to so-called Influentials doesn’t work. He says the whole idea is bunk and that he has the data to prove it.
Watts has performed a series of controversial, barn-burning experiments challenging the whole Influentials thesis. He has analyzed email patterns and found that highly connected people are not, in fact, crucial social hubs. He has written computer models of rumor spreading and found that your average slob is just as likely as a well-connected person to start a huge new trend. And last year, Watts demonstrated that even the breakout success of a hot new pop band might be nearly random. Any attempt to engineer success through Influentials, he argues, is almost certainly doomed to failure.
Watts is currently working for Yahoo in Manhattan.
[via Fast Company]