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The elements of a successful viral marketing campaign

Gameplan In my last post, we defined viral marketing. This time we’ll explore what ingredients are needed to make it work.  Although it often looks like it "just happened" -- that's not the case.  There's almost always a game plan.
The right mindset: It sounds great in theory, but relinquishing control over an aspect of a marketing campaign is not always easy. It is all good until the first customer lobs a criticism or you end up on the news because someone thinks your idea is subversive. It takes a thick skin to utilize viral marketing.

Viral marketing quickly takes on a life of its own. It is like releasing a butterfly. Once you open the cage, it is not likely you’re going to get the butterfly to return. It is always an interesting ride, but it’s rarely a smooth one. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a viral campaign and having a CEO get cold feet and try to reel it back in. That can destroy the campaign and create a public relations nightmare.

You are not in control of a viral campaign. Sometimes they launch like a rocket, but ore often, they take days or months to build up momentum. So if you are in a hurry, you’ll need to either design the campaign for a short turnaround or not dabble in viral marketing this time.

A gambler’s spirit:
Viral marketing comes with no guarantees. Even the best ideas can fall flat. Or take a course that you had not anticipated. There is no “pay for play” here. It is more like a spin of the roulette wheel.

A willingness to be a maverick: The one thing that is going to sink a viral campaign faster than anything is to be predictable or just like everyone else. You have to be ready to do things like they have not been done in the past.

It's not that it's complicated, but you do have to possess the right mind set and have a game plan -- to keep you on point.  Is it risky?  You bet...but when you score big, it's well worth the worry.

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