by Josh Tauber
Director, Viral Marketing
The main purpose of viral marketing is to promote your name online. When people know who you are, then they can develop a further interest in your product or service. Viral videos will very seldom result in direct conversions. As a business owner, you are in all likelihood enthusiastic about what you are selling. Sadly, nobody watching videos online is excited about you or your product. People watch videos for entertainment. The viral approach differs inherently from traditional TV and radio advertising, scaring off many companies looking to use viral as a new source of advertising.
What’s more, if your service is slightly more abstract or isn’t a straightforward commodity, marketing can be a challenge. Your best bet is to get large amounts of people aware of who you are and – through clever, indirect means – let them know what you are offering.
Viral presents an idea to a group of users and requests a response. This response can be laughter, excitement, intrigue, and more. At times it can even be interactive. Whatever the outcome, the goal is a connection. The desired connection is between the end user and your company or product. By entertaining or engaging a user they connect with you. “Hey we think alike” or “that company is outrageous, I like their style.”
It’s not important that the concept tie in directly with your service, because viral operates on the idea that advertising turns people off.
Here’s a quote from a marketing company that had pitched a viral campaign meant to warn Dutch consumers about fake online pharmaceuticals that the client turned down:
Since our client said: we like your idea, but we feel such a campaign is too guerrilla and rebellious for us. We said: “it’s not about you, right? It’s about what the target group will think.” – Igor Beuker, viralblog.com
A competitor later ended up launching a similar campaign in Sweden, that met with great success.
A lot of companies have heard about “viral marketing” and are eager to get involved. Before you get started, just make sure you are aware of the unconventional nature of viral advertising; and make sure you’re willing to take some risks with your image.