Saturday, August 23, 2008

Web Secret #9 - Viral Marketing

It is said that a satisfied customer tells an average of three people about a product or service he/she likes, and eleven people about a product or service which he/she does not like. Viral marketing is based on this natural human behavior, and refers to a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks (eg Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to produce an increase in brand awareness or achieve other marketing objectives. Viral marketing facilitates and encourages people to pass along a message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, images, or even text messages.

As a non geek, non MBA, why should you care about viral marketing?

I believe that the potential of viral marketing to promote a private practice or other service oriented, professional practice, has yet to be tapped.

But for some idea of its power, look no further than the aftermath of the tragic Virginia Tech shootings. A hoard of eager first responders descended upon the university to deliver psychological first aid to the student body. By the time they arrived on campus, these professionals were stunned to discover that the students had already organized a self support grief group AND a memorial service, by communicating through posts on Facebook and text messaging!

We owe it to ourselves to ponder this positive use of viral "marketing" and begin to imagine its possible application to our professional lives. "The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing" is a brief, simple, and excellent generic article on the subject. Read it.

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