Everyone Breathe Easy, Mass Marketing Still Works

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]



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.