In the now classic book, The Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell provides a brilliant marketing analysis for start-ups on how to spread a message. An example of a tipping point is that combination of events between 32 degrees and 33 degrees that changes everything. In marketing nomenclature it’s the hockey stick curve.
To illustrate the power of word of mouth, Gladwell contrasts the midnight ride of Paul Revere against the midnight ride of William Dawes. Both men set off with the same message and the same mission in different directions. Of course, Paul Revere went on to become a legend, but how many of us have heard of William Dawes?
According to Gladwell, strategy requires getting the word out to two groups of people. The Connectors: those people who are relationship hubs and The Influencers: the people whose leadership sets the pace for the pack.
Evangelism and the Hundredth Monkey
In B2B tech marketing, the customer is often a member of a select group that represents highly connected neighborhoods of people. Word travels fast in any group and logically it travels ultra-fast in technology circles. This makes quality assurance and proactive customer service just as vital as clear communication of the product vision and benefits.
Sell the message to the “influencers” or industry pacesetters and the majority will follow. It’s what Robert Cialdini, author of the book Influence calls a “click whir” response – semi-automatic.
View every interaction with a vendor and every unsolicited conversation with a salesperson as an opportunity to pollinate your message and build a positive reputation via connectors. In other words, be cool. Word travels fast.