Burlington, ON (George Torok) Viral Marketing is so powerful because it is like a train building up speed. Once it is moving you can’t stop it without derailing the train. It takes a lot of steam to get the train moving. And it is difficult to stop. The train will almost always follow the tracks. You never really know for sure where your viral marketing campaign might lead.
Viral marketing is well named because, when done right, it spreads like a virus. The term viral marketing might be too graphic for some because it brings to mind the viral spread of disease such as the bubonic plague, typhoid, and AIDS.
None of those viral diseases are nice things. But a virus in your marketing is powerful and can be hugely profitable.
Viral marketing is about spreading your message through networks. Some networks are more efficient than others. Meetings, family gatherings, community groups, religion, phone calls, peer pressure, media, email and blogs. Viral marketing is by persistence, passion and purpose.
The growth of almost every religion was the result of viral marketing. Every social change or revolution is the result of viral marketing.
The growth of Rock and Roll was the result of viral marketing. Rock and Roll wasn’t big business until big business noticed the success of Rock and Roll in spite of the actions of the establishment. Rock and Roll was anti-establishment and still it grew like a virus.
The American Revolution was sparked because of viral marketing. The end of the Vietnam War was the result of viral marketing. Neither was a military decision. Nelson Mandela was freed from 28 years of prison by viral marketing. It is also likely that the Soviet Union was destroyed by viral marketing. People filled with passion talking to other people.
The success of viral marketing is determined by critical mass. And critical mass is determined by numbers and the power of the individuals. The power of the individuals is determined by their ability to connect and influence.
When John Lennon suggested that the Beatles were more popular/powerful than Jesus Christ he was correctly pointing out that power. The popularity of the Beatles was the product of viral marketing. Why else would anyone remember where they were the day that John Lennon was shot? Why else would so many people revere the Beatles 35 years after they disbanded? Viral marketing. I still remember watching their first North American appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The reaction to the introduction of New Coke was viral marketing in action. A powerful critical mass rebelled against the corporate decision. The use of illegal drugs has grown because of viral marketing. The explosion of cell phone use is the result of viral marketing.
Viral marketing can help you. It can also hurt you. If you plant and fertilize the seeds of viral marketing you must listen to the virus. Because viral marketing is about planting seeds, fanning the growth, letting go and watching what happens.
What is it? An idea or feeling that takes hold of people’s minds and heart. It grows and spreads through individuals talking to their friends.
Are you ready for viral marketing? It is a tool that every marketer might use – if you dare. How might you leverage viral marketing to work for the success of your business?
© George Torok is co-author of the bestselling, Secrets of Power Marketing. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” at http://www.powermarketing.ca/ To arrange for a keynote presentation to your team visit http://www.torok.com/ To discuss a consulting project or media interview call 905-335-1997