Does Viral Marketing Happen By Itself?

by Peter Marlowe
(Jenkins, IL)

When we look at Internet viral marketing, you have to ask, is it really something that we can come up with as "cool" and "trendy" sales and marketing professionals who are somehow attuned to the pulse of society? On the other hand, if you look at most of the videos that are out there that go viral - e.g. www.buzzfeed.com - you will see that the vast majority of them are rather amateurish efforts at best, mostly video clips put together, compiled or created by ordinary day-to-day Internet users.


If this is the case then shouldn't we ask ourselves what the big deal is about so-called sales and marketing expertise in creating the viral effect? While I understand that there is a lot to be said about quality content and good production and the like, and that indeed, some marketing professionals are very proficient at creating "buzz", what are we missing here or is there more to it than just sales and marketing?

I hope that readers understand where I am coming from; what is to stop me from creating a silly home video that goes viral - like the "Charlie Bit My Finger!" one on YouTube - versus spending a lot of time and resources from a sales and marketing perspective in trying to create something that may or may not work and chances are will not go viral? Are people too obsessed about this phenomena in our industry or what?

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Jul 06, 2011
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Thank You
by: Hussain

I appreciate the great post, Peter!

My own view on viral marketing is that the "viral" aspect is something like a natural social force that we, as sales and marketing professionals, are trying to tap into. What makes a great news story, book or movie? What is it that leads to widespread fame (or notoriety)? What we know is that there are certain principles that apply - passability, remarkability and so forth - and what we are trying to do is engineer a creative message that has all of the elements to tap into this phenomena and go viral.

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