Monday, June 23, 2008

Viral Marketing - Strategy or Outcome?

Welcome to The Daily Breakthrough - your source for news, tips, and opinions about marketing, advertising, branding, Web 2.0, SEO, and just about everything else in between!

To kick things off, I'd like to post something that was initially written by a former colleague of ours (and Web 2.0 aficionado), Jared Young. Here's some food for thought:

Mitch Joel posted this interesting piece on the CMA Blog about the myths surrounding viral marketing.
“Viral is not strategy. Viral is an outcome. You can plan for it all you want. You can implement the right hooks that makes something go viral. You can even trick components of it to get passed along, but in the end, you don't decide if something goes viral … everyone else does.”

Which is true … to an extent. However, much of what Dan Ackerman Greenberg writes in this massively controversial Tech Crunch article from last November would seem to dispel that notion.

Viral marketing doesn’t happen by accident. The notion of “everyone else” deciding whether a campaign is successful is true of just about anything in life … from Presidential elections to weekend box-office receipts. The question is: are the “viral” strategies Greenberg describes an example of clever positioning, or the worst kind of stealth marketing?

That being said, I can’t imagine the full-scale stealth strategy that got more than 7 Million people to watch this …