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Do word-of-mouth and other peer influence processes really affect when people adopt a new product? Can one identify the most influential customers and hence those who are good seeding points for a word-of-mouth marketing campaign? Can one also identify those customers most likely to be influenced by their peers? Working with a pharmaceutical company seeking to improve its marketing effectiveness by leveraging social dynamics among physicians, the authors set out to answer these questions. The authors indeed find evidence of social influence even after controlling for sales calls and individual characteristics. People who are central in the network and those who use the product in great quantity are more influential.
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