Viral Marketing Done Right


viral-marketingViral Marketing is not what you think it is.

The moment your client opens his mouth and utters the question “What about a viral marketing campaign?”, your stomach contracts and you experience a little dizzy spell.

You mean a crazy video that costs nothing and spreads like wildfire?

That lottery ticket for $1 that garners millions of dollars and a McMansion in Beverly Hills? Sure, we’ll be right on it. Let me just launch that Facebook page first. You know the one that will be shared with billions of Facebook users and become the #1 web destination in the world.

Viral Marketing is getting a bad name. Just like liberalism. Almost as bad as calling yourself a Social Media Expert.

Viral Marketing as an advertising strategy will almost always fail.

Clueless and/or desperate marketers are the only ones believing in the power of viral marketing as an advertising strategy.

A)   You have no money for a proper media initiative and, more often than not, you have a rather mediocre product/service to sell.
B)   You create something goofy/weird/bizarre
C)   Your goofy/weird/bizarre thing has to compete with other goofy/weird/bizarre things other people have created.
D)   You’re waiting.
E)   Mhm, it doesn’t spread like wildfire.
F)   Let’s create some fake controversy, something that will spread.
G)   Mhm.
H)   Maybe some bloggers can talk about it?
I)   Mhm.
J)   Press Release? PR Firm?
K)   Mhm
L)   Mhm

Viral Marketing as a marketing strategy is built in.

Viral Marketing is nothing new. The telephone was a viral marketing machine. It’s pretty sad to be the sole owner of a phone. It gets better when there’s a second phone. And really interesting when there are billions of phones.

Skype is a viral marketing machine.  Fax machines were. Facetime on my iPhone. And and and.

Viral Marketing works really well when you plan for it, when it’s integrated into your product/service. Viral Marketing is not about being goofy or weird.

It’s about producing something of value, something that makes my life easier.

It’s a pretty simple formula: What’s the benefit of a customer spreading the message for you? When I spread Skype for you, I have more opportunities to have video calls with friends. When I spread a goofy video, I don’t have any benefits besides the fact that friends might think “He’s the guy that sends out goofy videos.”

Spreading a viral marketing element is the easy part. Developing a value proposition that makes me want to spread it for you is the hard part.

About Uwe Hook

Uwe Hook (@uwehook) is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. ( and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at



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