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Unleashing Your Own Epidemic


Marketing guru Seth Godin is a God to many in the marketing world.  On the other hand, he’s also considered a Devil in many of its quarters as well, especially with his views on traditional advertising. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, he continues to make waves and ruffle feathers in the media and creative industries.

Seth Godin eschews traditional, plain vanilla big-budget advertising for relevant and targeted direct marketing when it comes to marketing a product or service. That much is clear in his book – he believes it is far more effective to turn ideas into an epidemic by helping customers to do the marketing for the business instead.

Whoa, wait a minute. How does one get customers to market your product on your behalf? Read on.

Here are the ideavirus tactics (adapted from his book) which I believe can help the small business (italicized comments are mine):

1. Make (your idea) virus-worthy.

If it is not worth talking about, it won’t get talked about.

Cheap $10 massage at a sleazy massage parlour? Not worth talking about. $3,888 OSIM iMEDIC Pro massage chair in the comforts of your own home? Much more interesting, and a conversational piece during Chinese New Year.

2. Identify the hive (people most easily infected by your message).

You won’t get the full benefit of the ideavirus until you dominate your hive.

Why spend big bucks on advertising to promote your organic product to the masses?  Maybe yoga practitioners, health nuts and elements of the hippie subculture can help you spread the word instead?

3. Expose the idea.

Expose it to the right people, and do whatever you need to get those people deep into the experience of the idea as quickly as possible. Pay them if necessary, especially at the begininng. Never charge for exposure if you can help it.

Make it painless for them to adopt your product. It’s new and uncertain, so they are rightfully scared. “Thanks for coming to my health spa. Here’s a free medical consultation and trial treatment, no questions asked.”

4. Figure out what you want the sneezers (customer-marketers) to say.

You’ve got to decide what you want the sneezers to say to the population. If you don’t decide, either they’ll decide for you and say something less optimal, or they won’t bother to spend the time.

Create your message. Ya Kun Kaya Toast has the tagline “The toast that binds”.  It reminds you of friendship, kinship, partnership and the kind of bonding that is shared over a good cup of coffee. And it works.

5. Give the sneezers the tools they need to spread the virus.

After you’ve got a potential sneezer, make it easy for him to spread the idea. Give him a way to send your idea to someone else with one click. Let me join your affiliate program with one click. Reward the people I spread the virus to, so I don’t feel guilty for spreading it.

Make it easy for them to spread your message. It’s easy to send a YouTube video to someone. It’s only a link, and far easier to download than a 5MB video clip.

Go read the book.

To find out more, download a copy of Seth Godin’s “Unleashing the Ideavirus” e-book.  It is a sample of what great ideas he has in his book and a perfect example of practising what he preaches.  If you think I’m breaching copyright, Seth would be the first to tell you he’d want you to have it.  And for free too.

Find out more about “Unleashing the Ideavirus” here.

Read more about Seth at his blog.