Magazine article Management Today

Everything You Know about Business Is Wrong: The Viral Marketing Myth

Magazine article Management Today

Everything You Know about Business Is Wrong: The Viral Marketing Myth

Article excerpt

The idea of viral marketing - worldwide fame at minimal cost - is hugely seductive, especially in the modern 'friction free' world of the web and social media. The only problem is one that has always been there, and which used to be known as the 'blockbuster myth'. To whit: many so-called experts will try to sell you the recipe for viral success, but the truth is that there isn't one. In fact, it's worse than that. There can't be. Here's why not.

Imagine there were a recipe for certain viral success. Pretty soon, it would itself go viral. There would be millions of viral videos or emails or tunes out there. Just work out the number of views multiplied by the time taken, and it doesn't take long before everyone in the world is spending most of their time watching YouTube videos. This just isn't feasible.

Then there's the problem that any 'recipe', if it did exist, would rapidly become self-defeating. As soon as it is generally known, it ceases to work. To succeed at the viral game requires sufficient luck - and novelty - to be better, even if only very slightly better, than the competition. And the margin of superiority is so thin that it's impossible to recognise before the fact. …

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