Monday, October 20, 2008

Viral Marketing: Old News With A New Name

Viral Marketing, the Godfather of buzzwords. After stripping away all of the corporate speak and nonsense surrounding the term, what remains at the core?

In chapt. 10 of The New Influencers, Paul Gillin said of viral marketing:
This specialized brand of promotion, also called "word of mouth" or "guerilla" marketing, is nothing new. Each person tells several friends and word spreads on a geometric scale. It is perhaps the oldest form of marketing, but the Internet has given it new power.
I couldn't agree more. I see the roots of today's viral marketing campaigns in the original bad boy of 1800s press agentry, P.T. Barnum. Barnum was able to generate buzz/hype/press for his shows well before they rolled in to town.

Using a combination of extravagant impromptu shows and strong word-of-mouth marketing, Barnum helped plant the seeds of modern viral marketing campaigns.

According to Effective Public Relations, Barnum even started the trend of coining language for his viral marketing campaigns, introducing the American public to jumbo.

My point, viral marketing is not a new idea that needs to scare, intimidate or confuse new practitioners. Viral marketing is an old dog with a new trick, Web 2.0.

So lets cut through the junk and start demystifying the "new" trend of viral marketing.

1 comment:

dvaidya said...

Now I understand how viral marketing works. It's the same as "word of mouth" buzz created by P. T. Barnum! Great insight. Thanks!!