The 5Cs of Viral Marketing
I moderated a panel on viral marketing at New Comm Forum: called Viral Marketing: It’s the Message Not the Media. We started with a basic definition of viral marketing, and then used case studies to illustrate what works and what doesn’t. A big thank you to Andy Abramson, Gary Goldhammer and Chris Heuer for joining me on the panel.
I’ve uploaded a PDF of the presentation but here’s the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version:
- In order for an endeavor to be viral marketing, it has to be both viral (spread exponentially and usually with some urgency) and marketing (have a clear and understood business objective).
- You don’t have to use video, provided you’ve got a good story and you are reaching out to the right people, but video certainly magnifies the effects of a message.
- The key is to tell a compelling story to the right community.
- The best campaigns include one or more of the following Cs: comedy, charity, contest.
- Examples and case studies included Weird Al, Will it Blend, Google, Campbell’s Chunky Click for Cans, Xbox Colony and AXE.
BONUS LINKS: Not in the presentation, because I got the email minutes before the panel started, SciFi Channel just launched a viral campaign for Battlestar Galactica. Fans can use a whole library of sound and video clips to create their own short Battlestar videos and exec producer David Eick will showcase one during an upcoming episode.
In the Q&A at NewComm, we discussed how this campaign will probably do quite well while similar efforts from car manufacturers have backfired, with folks creating highly negative videos. The difference: SciFi is tapping into a tremendously loyal fan base that is already making their own video mashups. This contest just gives them another outlet for their creativity. Plus easier access to the materials they need to make the videos. And yes, my son Douglas and I have already started scripting our offering!
By popular demand, Will It Blend?
More New Comm Forum Reports: Chip Griffin, Gary Goldhammer, Joe Thornley
Tags: viral marketing, new comm forum, new communications forum, Battlestar Galactica
Chris Heuer says
Susan – thanks for the opportunity to join your panel.
I think in regards to your last point about the fanvids for Battlestar, that there a more important distinction between that and the car videos. The car videos were commercials intended to sell more cars – clearly a benefit for the people selling cars, with no clear or compelling benefit for the creator. The Battlestar situation however, clearly taps into the creative impulses of those people who are emotionally connected to a fantasy world of the future, and emotionally connected to the characters and others who are also passionate about the show.
The key difference, and the most important, numero uno aspect of this take on what “C” makes things viral is context – an unusual one without a Connection to the audience (7th C) won’t produce the desired results or be accelerated through word of mouth networks….
More thoughts to come on this later, need to get ready for Community 2.0 tonight…
Susan Getgood says
Absolutely, Chris, there is a huge difference between asking folks to develop commercials for a product they may or may not use and tapping into the creativity of an already loyal fan base.
I would have loved to have been there for the discussion. Although I didn’t learn about viral marketing until last semester, it blows my mind how obtainable reaching an audience truly is today. I am a big music fan and when you see the opportunities that places such like YouTube give, it’s amazing. What does bother me, though, is how much time I waste in looking at these videos (i.e. Charlie The Unicorn on the marcomblog home page). I think it’s great that there are outlets like YouTube for people to market, but we must keep in mind that everyone who posts on those sites doesn’t always exactly know what they are doing.