The Lunch Table Analogy 2: Putting Theory Into Practice

Yesterday I suggested you identify your ideal lunch table and target your efforts there. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out this article first, then come back to me. Today, I’m going into how small groups advocate big change and concrete ways you can engage your lunch table.

Once a brand saturates a market, people tend to take it for granted and forget to ask how it got there in the first place. Usually, a small number of innovators work to inspire action in a larger group.  In his book The Tipping Point, social psychologist Malcolm Gladwell names this phenomena “The Law of the Few” which he explains, “in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants”.

You can never go wrong quoting Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell’s “law of the few” certainly applies to brands and websites college campuses. Just look at Apple. My computer science teacher tells me that, just five years ago, Apple computers were pretty far and few between on campus. Now, 70% of college freshmen are coming into school with Macs. There are many reasons for this meteoric growth on campuses (availability of accessories, increased exposure in secondary promotion, targeted marketing etc.), but it all started with a specific group of people using Macs at school and advocating them to fellow students.

Let’s put that philosophy into practice. One blogger was asking me about how to get college students interested in a blog about sexual health from a health education provider. Rather than focus simply on all college students, why not hone in on Community Health majors, students on track to attend medical school, or those who volunteer in organizations that support public health initiatives and go from there?

Once your target audience is spelled out specifically, there are multiple ways that you can engage them. Think about the ways they are currently engaging with similar content. In the case of the sexual health blog, most students are receiving this information in an academic sense. One way this blogger could get more student traffic is to contact local university Health Services and health professors offering the blog as a source of information. The professor could then point students in the blog’s direction, which could resonate with students.

“And this formula proves that this blog will be useful to you.”

My friend and Community Health major friend Rebecca told me, “I’ve never thought of a blog in an academic setting…but if a professor mentions a blog in class, I’m definitely going to check it out at least once”.

When they’ve visited the website, it would be natural for students to spread the word about the blog, provided that the information is relevant and engaging to them. This blogger could even go “old school” by becoming a guest speaker at pertinent classes nearby. Another route would be to approach campus community service groups or clubs that relate to sexual health and health education to offer a resource and ally.

Just like marketing to any other demographic, it’s much easier to engage people who are already interested in your content. That’s why it’s so important to identify your lunch table. Once you isolate that section, then you can use age-related marketing tactics that they are more likely to respond to. Marketing effectively to them could translate into wider success with larger groups.

I’ll leave you with these final questions: Specifically, who is most likely to have a seat at your lunch table? And what concrete ways can you invite them to join you?

Thanks for reading! Lindsey Kirchoff

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2 thoughts on “The Lunch Table Analogy 2: Putting Theory Into Practice

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the mention! Also, interestingly enough, “The Tipping Point” was required reading for my Intro to Community Health class. :p

  2. Thank you for answering some questions for me! I guess I was more in tune with the Community Health majors than I thought. It was a great read!

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