Looking for followers may be more predictive than looking for leaders

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell made the topic of influence popular with his book Tipping Point there has been a healthy debate between those who ‘believe’ that there are a host of influencers living amongst us, and those who believe that influence effects are rare/minimal. Check out “Is the Tipping Point Toast?” by Clive Thompson on Fast Company. The TED video below by Derek Silver shows (in just three minutes) a great illustration of why influence (as a push phenomenon) might be less interesting that a propensity to follow, especially a propensity to follow people we are similar too. In the video, Derek Silver is talking about leadership, but the same message is true for influence. If we had analysed the dancing man example in a big data way, we would typically assume that the first dancer was ‘influential’. But when we look hard at what is happening, we can see how important following is to the pattern. If you found this post interesting, you might want to check out my post “Does influence exist, or is it homophily?“ And, to continue the trend of finishing with a question, a two-part question. Where was the picture in the header of this […]

Two key challenges to measuring the ROI of social

Want to know how you should be evaluating social media campaigns? Do you want to know how to balance short-term activation events with long-term effects? The answers are in the recently launched #IPASOCIALWORKS Guide to Measuring Not Counting. As one of the authors of the Guide I have been involved in several events, including the launch at the IPA, workshops, and conference sessions. Whilst these events have been generally positive, two major challenges have been exposed by our interactions with attendees and people working inside advertisers and agencies. These two challenges do not include the complexity of econometric modelling and experimental design. Although those topics are complex, there are people who can help. No, the two problems are: Being asked to measure social too late Not having access to sales data Measurement needs ‘baking in’ to social All too often the agency or social team are asked to evaluate campaigns that are about to start, or perhaps underway, and even sometimes that have finished. Occasionally this is possible, but usually it is just folly. As the Guide points out, the measurement of a campaign is about much more than likes, shares, downloads, and plays. The measurement needs to be in […]


Five tips about segmentation in marketing and market research

I have just updated my notes for my MRS Workshop (London, February 25) and wanted to share the following five key points about segmentation: 1 Segmentation is useful when the number of products or services that can be offered is limited. If you could offer an almost infinite range of products, as some online services can, then segmentation is often less relevant. But, if you can only make 4 varieties, or the store will only stock 12 lines, then segmentation helps optimize options. 2 Segmentation is useful when people need help to organise a complex world. A great example of this use of segmentation is music. If there were no genres, music selection would be much harder, segmentation is one of the key constructs that supports this multi-billion dollar industry. 3 In marketing and market research, ‘real’ segments do NOT exist! In fields like biology there is a case for believing in real segments. When dealing with human behaviour, segments are typically the assignment of credible descriptions applied to patterns in the data. The key to segmentations whether they are useful, NOT whether they are real. Indeed, we do not need to worry about a segmentation being the ‘best’ possible […]