In WOMM, 10 percent is the importantist number

By Ted Wright August 6, 2018

10 percent

By Ted Wright

If “1” is the loneliest number than “10” is the importantist number, at least when it comes to Word of Mouth Marketing.

From all of the previous research published on WOMM we know that right at 10% of any population set you can to carve out is made up of Influencers. We also know that only about 10% of all WOMM conversations occur in social media channels. Now comes this new data point surfaced by MIT’s Sloan School of Business – “When just 10 percent of a population holds an unshakable belief, the majority of their community will adopt it.”

This statistic came from Physical Review E in an article titled “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities.” To reach their conclusion, the scientists developed computer models of various types of social networks and concluded:

“An important finding is that the percent of committed opinion holders required to shift majority opinion does not change significantly regardless of the type of network in which the opinion holders are working. In other words, the percentage of committed opinion holders required to influence a society remains at approximately 10 percent, regardless of how or where that opinion starts and spreads in the society.”

10 percent means 10X

One of the pioneering books on Word Of Mouth Marketing, The Influentials, was co-authored by Ed Keller. Ed is CEO of the Keller Fay Group (now known as Engagement Labs), and he’s one of the premier authorities on word of mouth measurement. In short, nobody knows face-to-face marketing better than Ed.

Ed and his colleagues have done an incredible amount of field research into the inner workings of how stories spread. He found that there are people who have a certain psychological makeup that gives them joy from sharing stories with others. They enjoy engaging in conversation with a wide variety of people. They like to get and give advice. They keep up with things that are new.

Across the population of any culture, the people who have that sort of make-up is about 10 percent.

Don’t get me wrong. Everybody can be influential about something to someone. But this 10 percent share stories at a 10X rate of the normal population.

It’s important to know that when creating a WOMM strategy and defining appropriate target audiences. It’s a critical concept when trying to measure WOMM and its potential effectiveness. If you are going to invest money, why wouldn’t you want to invest money in that group, where you are more likely to have a greater bang for your buck?

Over and over, that 10 percent keeps showing up in the research. It’s a number we can bank on.

What are you doing to reach the 10 percent who care passionately about you and your story?


Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth

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