3 Marketing Points From The Tipping Point

1 January 2018


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marketing points from the tipping point book hanging over the ocean

I’ve got some exciting news and not so exciting news. Let’s start with the good stuff. I’ve included a bonus video and marketing tips at the end of the post, so be sure to read all the way through until the end.

The bad news is, I didn’t like ‘The Tipping Point’ all that much, but there’s always a positive in everything. Although I didn’t like it that much, I still have 3 powerful marketing points to share with you so you can take them and apply them to your business.


‘The Tipping Point’ is not what I was expecting it to be especially since it was referred to in Contagious by Jonah Berger (reviewed here). While reading ‘Contagious’ Berger mentions ‘The Tipping Point’ as one of his inspirations to write his book which is much more oriented towards having an effective marketing strategy. That is the main reason I picked this book up.

I have also seen Gladwell’s books several times in the business book section at my local bookstore here in Surabaya but what I didn’t realize about the book before I bought it was that it isn’t specifically about business.

Yes, some concepts in ‘The Tipping Point’ can be applied to your marketing business plan but Gladwell didn’t write it for entrepreneurs. He wrote this for the average person. It’s harsh but true. I’d say it’s more about the result of a study into how certain things start to spread and others don’t. There’s very little mention about how to apply the research to your own life.

The majority of the content goes into epidemic viruses, smoking, and crimes. However, it does hit the spot for entrepreneurs when it goes into detail about how Hush Puppies became popular again after so many years of being mediocre. The cause was due to just a small community of teenagers wanting to be different. That fashion statement spread across the whole US and world from one fashion designer to the next all because of this small group of kids.


Applicable Points For Marketing

Marketing Point #1: Law of the Few

Gladwell mentions in his book that there are three types of people that can help promote your business. Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen. These people can be used as strong marketing points for your company. Who knows, maybe you fall into one of these categories and you didn’t even realize it.

  • Mavens

These are the people who know it all. For example, if a new technology comes out, a Maven will be the first to know all the details about it then spread the information to their friends and family.

These people are the experts in their fields of interest. So if you know a Maven without a doubt you can pick their brain down to the bone about a particular topic and they’ll know all the answers. They are the trendsetters.

  • Connectors

This next influencer is the type of person who knows everyone! Their social circles are so vast they probably know at least one or two people in your circle that you had no idea they knew but their knowledge on a specific subject may not be so huge as that of a Maven.

However, if you put the two together you’ll be that much closer to making something go viral.

  • Salesmen

The last type of influencer is the Salesmen, hints by the name, are the best at persuading people to believe in something they believe whether it be about politics or the type of shampoo they buy that makes their hair the smoothest. Basically, they are able to convince you of almost anything.

If you were to put all three of these types of influencers into a boardroom imagine how productive and lucrative that company would be.

It’s likely that you know at least a few of the types of influencers Gladwell discussed in ‘The Tipping Point’ and you may fit well into one of these categories. So be aware of these the next time you do business or live out your daily life. It may be a useful tool to hire a dynamite team for your next project.


Marketing Point #2: The Stickiness Factor

Personally, I would have loved this section of the book but Gladwell kept on going on and on about Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues for 43 pages straight. That’s 17% of the whole book (I like statistics 😀 ) on an example that I personally didn’t connect to. However, I realize this could be useful for you if you’re marketing to kids. I see the value in that.

Gladwell’s point of this section can be adapted to other areas of marketing. Here’s the adapted version.

  • It should have some positive emotional impact.
  • It should be unique.
  • It should have quality over quantity.
  • It should have a functional value.
  • It should bring back nostalgia.
  • It should have character or personality.
  • It should have good value for the money you spend on it.

The list makes total sense but Gladwell makes it hard for us to find it when we read the book or come back to the book at a later time to recap our memory about a certain marketing point. The format is just in paragraphs. There are no headers or different sections in each chapter to differentiate which point he’s trying to make with his research (I know I’m picky, but that’s personally how I think authors should lay out their book to make it easier for their readers to visualize and understand the concepts quickly).

Another annoying point for me was the fact that Gladwell would jump from one point without finishing it, go to the next, then come back to his first point to finish it.

I’m not a baby or little kid but when I’m studying a book to become better at the thing I love doing (writing for you and helping you to become more knowledgeable), I would like the main marketing points of the book clearly stated in bold, or sections. Don’t make it harder for us to receive your message, Gladwell!


Marketing Point #: The Power of Context

This is also a chapter that could have been way better than what it was. Gladwell goes on about subways, crime, and murder and hits a little on the way customers think.

The effect of the sale or crime mostly depends on the situation and location that person is in at the current moment. Taking an example from the book about the rampant crime that was going on in the subway system in New York in the 80s. But take away the graffiti and all the sudden the percentage of crimes dropped drastically. Why?

Because of the context the person was in. The trains were spotless. Cleaning the train up changed people’s perspective and probably respect for the train. Before it was dirty, so why not make it even dirtier? Now it’s very clean, so why not keep it that way and not cause trouble?

The book then goes into what I think Dr. Robert Cialdini explains much better in his book entitled ‘Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive’ (reviewed here).

Altering course and talking about Dr. Robert Cialdini (enough of The Tipping Point!).


The Six Principles of Persuasion:

Here are the six principles of persuasion covered by Dr. Robert Cialdini in a video I pulled from YouTube. It’s a perfect tool to learn from as well as a cleverly crafted video as you’ll see.

Note as well that below the video I’ve given you a short recap of the meaning of each of the six principals in case you don’t have an extra 11 minutes and 50 seconds to watch the video.

1. Reciprocity

In many social situations, we pay back what we received from others.

2. Scarcity

We are always drawn to things that are exclusive and hard to come by.

3. Authority

We follow people who look like they know what they’re doing.

4. Consistency

We tend to stick with whatever we’ve already chosen.

5. Liking

We are more likely to comply with requests made by people we like.

6. Consensus

We tend to have more trust in things that are popular or endorsed by people that we trust.



There you have it, the three valuable marketing points from ‘The Tipping Point’ and the additional Six Principals of Persuasion explained by the amazing Dr. Robert Cialdini.

The Tipping Point’ does have a few good examples to take away however I believe that other books did a better job of presenting these same exact points in an easily sortable and understandable way.

The Tipping Point Marketing Tips hanging over the ocean

What did you think?


If you found this analysis of ‘The Tipping Point’ helpful please comment and share it with your friends.

Always remember to share what you’ve learned with the people you care most about.


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