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    Are you a Maven?


    Ever since ‘The Tipping Point‘ was first published in the late 1990s, marketers and business owners the world over have spent countless hours attempting to harness the power of Malcolm Gladwell‘s three ‘influencers’ – connectors, salespeople and mavens.

    For those not familiar with ‘The Tipping Point’ all I can say is, ‘Shame on you!’

    Go Google it now. Buy a copy. It’s essential business reading (in my not-so-humble opinion). But if you don’t have the time…

    Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term:

    “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.

    The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that cause an idea (or product) to go viral. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” He then suggests triggers for making an idea ‘tip’. One of these involves harnessing the power of ‘influencers’.

    The ‘influencer’ that I’m concerned with today is the ‘maven’. Why? Because we’ll be using this unique animal to judge our first ever annual SMART 100 index and rank the top 100 most innovative products in Australia (To nominate a product, click here).

    Most people think of a maven as a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word comes from the Yiddish meyvn and Hebrew mevin (מבֿין), with the same meaning, which in turn derives from the Hebrew binah, meaning understanding.

    Gladwell used the term in his book to describe people who are intense gatherers of information and impressions, and who are often the first to pick up on new or nascent trends and pass them on.

    In short, according to Gladwell, if you can win over the mavens, your idea, product, whatever is more likely to be passed on and, therefore, catch on – assuming that the mavens have nice things to say about it (otherwise your idea is, unfortunately, more likely to die a quick death).

    It is likely that you will know a maven or may even be a maven yourself in a specific area.

    Who do you turn to before purchasing a high-ticket item, like a television or car? Is there someone you trust for fashion tips? When evaluating political candidates is there someone you know will always be across the issues?

    This person is usually a maven. This is the type of person that global market research agency Colmar Brunton has been able to separate from its 80,000 market research candidates to evaluate the submissions for our SMART 100.

    Several hundred mavens will be engaged to read submissions and rank them according to a number of criteria. The sum total of the maven rankings will be used to isolate our top 100. It’s kind of like crowdsourcing but for market research.

    Colmar Brunton applies its own proprietary technology to identify people with a maven mindset. It’s a long and complex process (and did I say proprietary?). So, instead, we’ve devised our own cheap, cheerful and far less scientific quiz.

    So, are you a maven? To find our, click here and take our test.