Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Books: The Herd Instinct

Marketing magazine featured an interesting article on a recently published book: Herd: How to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature by Mark Earls.

This book states the theory that a marketer's focus should not lay on the individual consumer, but on the way he or she interacts with other people.

Marketers today are way too aften obsessed with the individual. The truth is that mass behaviour - and that's what us marketeers are trying to influence afterall - is not the result of people acting on their own, or of powerful irresistable external forces acting on those individuals. It is instead the product of interaction between individuals, who copy, react to and reinvent what others have done or what they think will do. In short, we do what we do, largely because of other people. We follow our herd instinct.

Some advice is provided for the marketer:

1. Know your herd. Recognise the human being as a social animal, and thus study his behaviour in social contexts.

2. Look at marketing as consumer-to-consumer, rather than business-to-consumer. The important relationship is not between the company or brand and any given consumer, but between the latter and other individuals.

3. Targeting: Forget the concept of individuals who can be reached by certain media channels; instead think of connected, social beings and social groups.

4. Learn to live with uncertainty. Mass behaviour is complex and adaptive, but also inherently unstable and difficult to predict.

The author's blog you can find here.

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