I’m sure you’ve all heard of an article or video “going viral” or “trending.” With the widespread adoption of social media platforms, ideas can spread faster and further than ever before. Simply by clicking a button, users are able share content with their entire social network. Savvy marketers recognize the power of “going viral” and strive to create content that is “share-worthy.”
Unlike traditional marketing in which a business reaches the customer directly, this strategy uses the customer as a vehicle for the spread of information, effectively multiplying the scope of “marketing touches” without requiring additional investment from the marketing team. While this form of marketing is highly effective in the social media realm, the concept can be applied to any form of marketing (including word of mouth). All you need to do is provide the customer with an idea that is so intriguing, they’ll want to go out and tell everyone about it. In the efficiency world, this could be a catchy elevator pitch, a key benefit of your product or service that is memorable and interesting, or a compelling statistic that your customer would want to share with his or her peers.
If you’re interested in the topic of customer-to-customer marketing, I recommend reading Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop marketing AT people! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing thing for you, by Seth Godin. This book teaches you how to create ideas that your customers will want to share with others, and how to find the right audience (which he calls “sneezers”) to help spread those ideas.
Here’s a summary from Amazon Books:
“‘This is a subversive book. It says that the marketer is not – and ought not to be – at the center of successful marketing. The customer should be. Are you ready for that?’ - From the Foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.
“Counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure, and manipulate the spread of information, Seth Godin argues that the information can spread most effectively from customer to customer, rather than from business to customer. Godin calls this powerful customer-to-customer dialogue the ideavirus, and cheerfully eggs marketers on to create an environment where their ideas can replicate and spread.
“In lively detail, Godin looks at the ways companies such as PayPal, Hotmail, GeoCities, even Volkswagen have successfully launched ideaviruses. He offers a ‘recipe’ for creating your own ideavirus, identifies the key factors in the successful spread of an ideavirus (powerful sneezers, hives, a clear vector, a smooth, friction-free transmission), and shows how any business, large or small, can use ideavirus marketing to succeed in a world that just doesn't want to hear it anymore from the traditional marketers.”
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