The ABCs of Viral Marketing””Part 2 of 3

[In our last issue, we described the basics of a viral marketing campaign. We described it as a marketing program that you release into the marketplace and let the marketplace chart its course. In this second part of our three-part series, we will explore the mindset needed to make a viral campaign successful.
Viral marketing is not typical. In fact, many aspects of it go against the basics of most marketing strategies. So in order to have a successful viral campaign, you need to do the following:
1. Have the Right Mindset””It sounds great in theory, but giving up control over a major portion of your marketing campaign is not always easy. How will you respond the first time a customer starts to criticize your product in their blog or talks about your slow service? Or you end up on the news because someone thinks you’re subversive? Since you can’t control where it goes, it takes a thick skin to utilize viral marketing.
2. You Need the Courage of a Lion””Viral marketing quickly takes on a life of its own. It’s like releasing a butterfly. Once you open the cage, it’s not likely you are going to get the butterfly to return. The ride is always interesting, but seldom smooth. And there’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a viral campaign and having your CEO get cold feet and then try to reel it all back in. That will not only destroy the campaign, but most likely cause a public relations nightmare.
3. You Have No Control of Time””Sometimes they launch like a rocket, but more often, they take days or months to build up momentum. So if you are in a hurry or have a time-sensitive message, this might not be the right tool to use.
4. You Can’t Be Predictable””The one thing that will certainly sink your viral campaign is predictability. You can’t do things like everyone else. You have to come up with ideas that are unique to your audience.
5. You Need the Spirit of a Gambler””Viral marketing comes with no guarantees. Your idea can either fall flat on its face or launch your company to the next level. There’s no “pay-for-play,” but just a good old-fashioned “spin-of-the-wheel.”
Next month we will conclude with part three of our series when we outline how to measure the success of your viral campaign.
Until next month…

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