What is the Tipping Point?
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
Author Malcolm Gladwell wrote the seminal best-selling book, The Tipping Point in 2002 and it explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon and continues to change the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
Key points from the Tipping Point that can be related to viral marketing.
There are three characteristics or principles of any types of epidemics including ‘social epidemics’ (Social epidemic is an occurrence of an idea, behavior or product going viral)
The agent (message, content, idea etc) itself should be transmittable. It should possess the contagious character.
2. Little causes can have big effects
Various small factors contribute and cause the big thing to happen.
3. Change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment
How did the global economic meltdown happen in 2008-09? It all started with the rise in subprime lending. Which sharply rose in 2004 to 20% (approx) from 8% (approx) in 2003 and it further rose to 23.5% in 2006, the period during which the United States housing bubble completely busted and caused the sub-prime market crisis which along with so many other factors contributed to the rising massive financial crisis over a period of so many months till it reached the tipping point where several major financial institutions collapsed (2008) and triggered the actual global economic melt down which sent shock waves across economies around the world. (Source: Wiki )
Small incremental changes cause a big effect. Small incremental changes are not usually visible unless keenly observed or studied, but the big change (which seems to be the actual change) or effect seems dramatic when it happens and the starting point of that dramatic change is called the ‘The Tipping Point’.
So, this is how an epidemic tips and produces dramatic viral effects. Now, let’s see the three key factors or the agents of change that play a crucial role in a social epidemic.
I have been working on the concept and analysis of tipping points since Malcolm’s book. Where are they? What are they? Can they be forced/created? How do we know a tipping point has been reached? And, if something happens that seems like the tipping point has been reached .. what do we do afterward?
The tipping point is like that very first hump on a roller coaster … chug chug chug clank chug shudder shudder the silence, you look down and suddenly, with a lurch, you zoom forward! That’s what my goal is for your business … push you up that first hump, kicking and screaming that you don’t want to do it, until we reach that tipping point and off you go! Screaming for joy!
So, outside of the metaphors, that uphill charge is basically your marketing and business plan: all the myriad tactics we need to use to get you there. For me, the tipping point I want you to reach is the point where your business is successful enough that you can now take a step back and reap some of the rewards of having a successful business. It’s where sales come to you versus you going to the sale.