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Monday, May 31, 2004Influentials are actively involved. But more importantly, what drives them? They take an active approach to life. They have an enthusiasm for learning. They're connected to many people and groups. They have a clear set of priorities. They have a strong belief in growth and change. These aren't people who get comfortable. And they have the ability to create change. Demographically, they're largely average, but they are more highly educated. There's something in the college phenomenon.There are three key reasons why the influentials matter. They are leading indicators of consumer trends. They are consumer advocates. And perhaps most importantly, they are market multipliers.In terms of being market trendsetters, consistently, the influentials tend to be two, three, and five years ahead of the curve. But they are not the earliest adopters. They're the early majority. Early adopters don't necessarily have the broad social connectivity you need to throw an idea forward. They led the way in personal computers. In the '80s, they led the way with catalog shopping. They also fueled the online shopping phenomenon. We see this in area after area, like in hybrid cars now.Influentials also drive marketplace acceptance and rejection. They're highly discriminating consumers, and they will speak their mind. In any given moment in time. 40% of influentials have had a problem with a product or service in the last three months. They have a higher threshold for what a quality product or service should be. And they're more than twice as likely to do something about it. They'll complain in person. They'll write you. They believe that they have the right to do something if something doesn't go right.Not only can influentials help advocate your brand through word of mouth, they can help indicate new market opportunities, identify new product needs, and position old products.
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