I’ll Have What She’s Having – implications for marketers


So now you've got the book – you have got one, haven't you? Everyone else has – and you've dipped into it a few times and maybe pondered what it says and what it means.

Here are some thoughts on what I think it means for marketers that I wrote for Market Leader, the organ of the UK's Marketing Society.

Let us know what you think – about the book and what you think the implications are….


  1. Savannah Cansler
    December 15, 2011

    Savannah Cansler

    Im thankful for the article post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  2. Cmym.wordpress.com
    January 19, 2012

    I enjoyed your book, very thought provoking.
    I really liked the notion of undirected copying.
    Am I right in thinking the only way of diagnosing this looking at real world data and comparing it to the “cascades” that occur in models?
    There’s lots of behaviours we suspect might spread by social learning but proving so might be difficult due to lack of data.
    One that came to mind was tattoos. In the 90’s we celtic bands were in vogue, in the 2000’s for women it seemed to be collections of little stars, and for men “full sleeve” collage designs. I’d say undirected copying is at play.
    It’s also an example which highlights the difference you might get from analysis of the individual vs. the group.
    People are likely to profess a profound individual motivation for their choice, given the point of a tattoo for most is to demonstrate your uniqueness (apart from if you’re in a gang).
    Yet I suspect the data – were it available – might reveal a different story. I don’t know how we’d prove it though – maybe a representative sample of tattoo-ees over the years or the records of a tattoo parlour chain…
    Another question I had was to what extent is undirected copying compatible with the diffusion of innovation model?
    Enough rambling from me.

  3. Mark Earls
    January 19, 2012

    Hi Simon. Couple of thoughts in response to your comment –
    i. social learning is so common in what the academics call cultural markets it’s worth setting this as the default assumption for those kinds of things
    ii. yes, tattoos are a great example of social learning – historically, styles were slow to change and tightly limited to specific communities (e.g. sailors and bikers?). Both of these suggest something more like directed learning – with experts and authorities involved. But as you say more recently, there’s appeared a whole host of styles with the popularity of things turning over rapidly (suggesting undirected).
    iii. I think you need to distinguish between a. inside-the-wave evidence (such as watching people up close and overtime to understand from an ethnographic perspective what’s going on (think we could be more robust in the ethnographic indicators btw) and b. outside the wave evidence (such as the quantitative patterns that the book details).
    As you say we could reconstruct the dataset relatively easily: this is one of the occasions when ask-answer methodologies might be OK (so long as we don’t ask why, just “do you have any?” “what are they?” “When did you get them?”. Suspect that somebody (a health researcher?) might already have collected a longitudinal dataset somewhere….
    Hope that helps. Good questions!

  4. Sharon Kass
    September 9, 2012

    Heard you on Batchelor yesterday.
    As an activist for ex-gay rights (no one is actually born gay), I’ve found it stunning that over the decades so many people have signed on to a fundamentally nonsensical idea–that people with homosexual feelings are “a normal human variant.” (The real facts are at http://www.narth.com and other websites.)