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The Influentials

Written by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. Published by Free Press

While working for the marketing consultancy RoperASW, marketing experts Ed Keller and Jon Berry discovered the power of an ancient force in marketing that has become more important today than ever before: word of mouth. According to their research, word of mouth—one of humanity's first forms of social influence—has become even more important and influential today for people trying to make sense of their complicated world. In their book The Influentials, the authors present an amazing glimpse into the word-of-mouth phenomenon. Through their well-documented research and analysis, they describe the best ways businesses can tap into its power through a small group of Americans who use word of mouth to spread their opinions, ideas and behaviors to the wider population.

According to Keller and Berry, one in every 10 Americans is what they call an "influential." These people have a tremendous impact on the rest of society because their ideas and opinions are sought out by the friends, family and community members around them. The authors explain that the conversations they hold and the examples they set have the power to shape the community's behaviors and attitudes.