Nine out of ten of people trust recommendations from “people like me” or “people I know” more than any other source. Campaign volunteers and supporters are the very “Local Influentials” that corporations spend millions finding and cultivating as brand ambassadors.

That “nine out of ten” number has been consistent since the “multi-step theory of communication” was founded back in the 1940s all the way up to today.

People often know about this from the popular marketing book The Influentials, but it actually was discovered in research about a political campaign — the Presidential Election of 1940.

Researchers closely followed the decision making processes of 2,400 voters. They found that nine of every ten people made their decision based on the recommendation of or information received from a friend or acquaintance.

Only one in ten received their information from the media or the campaign.

While campaigns do engage in direct voter outreach through canvassing, they often do very little to engage and properly equip our supporters to communicate with their many contacts.

Graphic by Antonia Scatton. All rights reserved.