Declares that diffusion (a term employed to describe the process whereby an innovation or a new idea or practice spreads through a social system over time) is a summary term used to embrace studies which trace the process of diffusion, the process of adoption and the patterns of influence involved. Acknowledges that even allowing for low involvement of marketing research in diffusion, marketing management's interest in this area can be guided and controlled. States that information is diffused through some form of communication channel – these may be one of two types: vertical channels, which exist if ‘there is a meaningful difference in the interests, social status, demographic or economic characteristics of the communication units’; and horizontal channels, which occur where communications flows among members of groups with similar interests and characteristics – these groups may be work groups, social groups, etc. Investigates sources of information and influence – in particular the two basic ones of: impersonal sources via the mass media; and personal sources involving the opinion leader in a two‐step flow of communication. Closes by discussing the implications of the two‐step flow for marketing in depth, with recommendations.
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