You’ve likely heard about viral marketing. That’s where you tell a couple of people about something and they tell a couple of friends who also tell a couple of friends and the message is carried on ad infinitum with each level of messaging spread further and wider than before. It’s about like network marketing with the multi-level payout structure. But if that’s the way it works, can you plan a viral marketing campaign? Isn’t such marketing better left to its own devices?
There have been marketers and search engine optimization folks who successfully planned and managed a viral marketing campaign and saw great results. The key is in the understanding of human nature. If you know what motivates people to act and tell their friends about something that excites them then you can dangle a carrot in front of their faces and watch them clamor to get it. That’s basically what viral marketing is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out as planned.
People are unpredictable. What you think will excite them could be a flop. And what you predict will fail could be a huge success. You can bet that most viral marketing campaigns go nowhere for that reason. But when you hit the payload, you know it will be worth it. So planning is a big part of developing and launching a viral marketing campaign (like all forms of online and offline marketing). My suggestion is really know your audience before you think about a viral marketing campaign, understand not only the demographic information, but what type of delivery device will get a good response (video, publicity stunt, etc.).