Understanding the 1% Who Influence the Rest of Us

Why Small Agencies Need to Embrace Social Media

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Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba are marketing consultants in Chicago who have interesting theories about citizen marketing. A recent observation on their website creatingcustomerevangelists.com, caught my eye
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because what I read underscores how my agency has been attempting to reach consumers more effectively. According to McConnell and Huba, it's just one percent of the people who visit "democratized sites," such as WikiPedia that create those sites' content. McConnell and Huba conclude that this tiny percentage has a huge opportunity to influence consumers. There are those who disagree but it makes sense to me. If history teaches us anything it is that only a relative few influence culture. We like to think of ourselves as individuals, but it's a delusion for most.

Another blogger, Sean Moffitt, chimed in on McConnell and Huba's blog with the thought that the one percent rule uses facts and figures that we marketers are probably more familiar with and yet still tend to ignore when devising marketing plans.

If you follow the logic flow of these facts and figures it's apparent that word-of-mouth has more power to effectively communicate a brand's story than ever before. This shouldn't worry marketers or agencies it should excite us because we give people the words.

But are small agencies keeping the pace in this ongoing communications revolution? Many times the nimbleness of being a small agency allows us to be innovators, but I admit that our agency has not been utilizing the power of the individual as much as we could have. We are making strides in the right direction and our clients are pleased with our efforts, but I wish we were farther along in our experience.

We are still exploring how to use the tools and culture that the Internet has created. That's why it's an exciting time to be in this business. To embrace this latest evolutionary jump means being a part of a new day in advertising. We have been given the opportunity to invent new ways of connecting brands with consumers.

According to creatingcustomerevangelists.com, a few reasons why social media is important to marketers are these:
  • By March 2006, 84 million Americans had broadband at home, a 40% jump from 2005 figures
  • By March 2006, Pew estimated 48 million Americans were regular online content creators
  • By the end of 2005, 139 million people in the world had a DSL (broadband) connection
  • In 2005, $6.7 billion worth of digital cameras were sold in the U.S.
  • About 41% of all cell phone owners use them as content tools
  • By the end of 2005, just over 1 billion people were online -- that's 1/6th of the world
  • Asia represents the world's most populous online segment
  • By July 2006, 50 million blogs had been created and their number was doubling every 6 months
  • About 7,200 new blogs are created every hour
  • By 2006, 10 million people were listening to podcasts in 2006; by 2010, it's expected to be 50 million people
  • About 100 million videos are viewed every day on YouTube; about 65,000 videos uploaded every day
  • In 2006, MySpace had over 100 million registered members, most of them from the U.S.
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