ON THE SHELF: New books of note

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The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy

By Ed Keller and Jon Berry The Free Press, January 2003

Every day, Americans are bombarded by a barrage of ads, and more often than not, they tune them out. What consumers do pay attention to is friends and family, whose advice they rely on when they decide everything from what cars to buy to what Web sites to visit, according to The Influentials, by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. This word-of-mouth begins with what Keller and Berry, who head up New York City-based RoperASW, call “the Influentials,� who make up 10 percent of the population. While Influentials follow no distinct demographic pattern, they are united by their high level of involvement in their local communities and by the extent to which other people listen to their opinions. The authors discuss how businesses can target this group strategically and, as a result, have their message filter out to the rest of the country.

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