written by:

by Josh Tauber
Director, Viral Marketing
Wpromote, Inc.

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.


7 thoughts on “Viral Marketing – What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing! – Tell Your Friends
  1. Christian says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if any viral campaigns are in the works about President Elect Obama!

  2. Mike Block says:

    It’s funny to say that advertising isn’t always about sales, but it’s true for viral, at least as far as direct sales go. I love working with companies that can see the forest for the trees.

  3. Jonathan Fischer says:

    Honestly, most people I talk with have no idea what viral marketing really is. This is a great breakdown. Hey thanks Josh.

  4. Mike Stone says:

    I think you also have to approach the seeding of any viral campaign with the same, if not more consideration than the concept creation itself. There are countless videos that are high quality that simply dont get seen. The real challenge is how to get concept launched and positioned to “go viral.”

  5. Josh Tauber says:

    Totally true Stone, once a company is on board with viral. Although seeding is a whole other blog post!

  6. Dom says:

    It almost makes you angry when a great viral idea gets shut down and later a competitor or random act in society proves your idea to be brilliant.

    I think we’ll do great with you at the helm of viral Josh.

  7. Jesse says:

    great quote

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