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1. Barry Welman mentioned the classic Medical Innovation study from the
1950s. For a re-analysis documenting that evidence of contagion vanishes
once one controls for marketing effort, see:
Van den Bulte, Christophe and Gary L. Lilien (2001), "Medical Innovation
Revisited: Social Contagion versus Marketing Effort," American Journal
of Sociology, 106 (5), 1409-35.
2. Working papers of interest include:
Watts, Duncan J. and Peter Sheridan Dodds, "Influentials, Networks, and
Public Opinion Formation," Journal of Consumer Research, in press,
Nair, Harikesh, Puneet Manchanda, and Tulikaa Bhatia, "Asymmetric Peer
Effects in Physician Prescription Behavior: The Role of Opinion
Leaders," University of Chicago, working paper, available through
Van den Bulte, Christophe and Yogesh Joshi (2007), "New Product
Diffusion with Influentials and Imitators," Marketing Science, in press,
available from the authors.
3. Some marketers have started to look at distribution channels from the
perspective of social networks. One example--with references to some
Stefan Wuyts, Stefan Stremersch, Christophe Van den Bulte, Phillip Hans
Franses (2004), "Vertical Marketing Systems for Complex Products: A
Triadic Perspective", Journal of Marketing Research, 41 (4), 479-87.
4. Akos Rona-Tas and Alya Guseva have published some very interesting
work (in sociology journals) on how credit card companies in Eastern
Europe used social networks to their advantage. This work, and several
other studies of interest to marketers (even though not carried out by
marketers) is mentioned in the book that Tom Valente mentioned earlier:
Van den Bulte, Christophe and Stefan Wuyts (2007). Social Networks and
Marketing. Marketing Science Institute, Cambridge MA.
5. Finally, there is a rather large body of research on the role of
social networks in new product developmenmt, something which is of clear
relevance to marketers. One example--with references to many other--is:
Van den Bulte, Christophe and Rudy K. Moenaert (1998), "The Effect of
R&D Team Co-location on Communication Patterns among R&D, Marketing, and
Manufacturing," Management Science, 44 (11), S1-S18.
Christophe Van den Bulte
Associate professor of marketing
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
759 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia PA, 19104-6340
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