What is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is an idea that spreads

and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.

Two kinds of viral marketing:

  • The original classic sort in which the marketing is the product and which a self-amplifying cycle occurs. Hotmail, for example, or YouTube. The more people use them, the more people see them. The more people see them, the more people use them. The product or service must be something that improves once more people use it.
  • A second kind has evolved over the last few years, and that’s a marketing campaign that spreads but isn’t the product itself. The video of the 80 year old lady whose harness slipped as she jumped out of a plane (she always wanted to sky dive) it was viral (it spread) and it was marketing

Here is an example of something going viral . . . . . This isn’t Viral Marketing though – it isn’t marketing my business in a tangible way – but this video did go viral!

Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your video? It didn’t market you or your business in a tangible, useful way.

Marketers are obsessed with free media, and, as is often the case, we blow it in our rush to get our share. We create content that is hampered or selfish or boring. Or we create something completely viral that doesn’t do any marketing at all.  So what is the purpose of your viral marketing gesture?  What are you trying to achieve?  Sometimes, just spreading something good, something inspiring, something that brings emotion, that can be enough.

So if you want to create a “Viral Marketing” campaign, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your campaign marketing your business in a tangible useful way?
  • What are you sharing?
  • What are you informing others of?
  • What content is relevant to their needs?
  • Who are you targeting?

Planning and thought go into your Viral Marketing Campaign – better take the time to do this wisely – I tell people that you have one shot at getting it right – it is all about perception and how people see your Viral Marketing Message.

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