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July 25, 2007



Was viral marketing ever alive?

If marketing is a science did we have a way to predict what would work virally?

I think some ideas will connect with consumers and catch fire. Whether they will be marketing messages or not, no one will ever be able to predict.

Luc Debaisieux

Good question really... It makes me think about all the pre and post test marketing is often found of. We must admit there a great deal is originally linked to intuitions. Then a search for a priori convictions. Or should we talk about the quest of "social empathy" maybe (marketer thinking "as if being" his target)? What makes a great idea immediately recognizable by the masses?


there's a broad strata of viral - some is entertaining, some is informative, some is helpful, some is a distraction, some brings you new friends. The commonality is value...which is different things to different people. So perhaps it's viral within niches with some going mass.

Luc Debaisieux

I agree about value. Could we define it then as a "common point... of differentiation?".

David Reich

I don't think it's dead. Hardly. I'd say it's still in its infancy, despite some high-profile success stories. Too many people, it seems, are trying to jump into the pool, even if it might not be right for what they're selling or who they're trying to reach.


Yes, probably a "trend" effect. Behind the coolness of the word "viral", there is indeed a great marketing tool.

Valeria Maltoni

This caught my eye. Like David, I think viral marketing is only in its infancy. And here's the trick, I think the next incarnation will be totally in the hands of consumers. How remains to be seen.

gianandrea facchini

Luc, I suppose that considering viral marketing as the holy gral is a mistake. As it is close to a mistake to try to write maths model to define it. More than ever is a matter of feeling, experience and experiment. Marketing at the time of mass market was more science than art. The present and the close future are turning it more in art then science.


"...the next incarnation will be totally in the hands of consumers" - I think you are right, question will then be : will marketing still make sense in the definition of "viral marketing"?

You touch a sensitive point there... marketing is supposed to be as rational as possible, but when it comes into the hands of the consumers, I am convinced that the definitions and processes will have to be reviewed.

Sean Howard

I heard this wonderful man from Montreal speaking about Viral at an event locally.

He had been studying viral for some time and he said that most viral lift is actually moderate.

This has helped me think of "viral" as nothing but a medium of communication. It's how everything travels. All ideas.

I think there is more to be learned by studying what causes us to pass stories on and what makes them stick. Which to CK's point is likely contextual and value being an important component...

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