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Viral Marketing; Art AND Science January 18, 2007

Posted by ravimhatre in Consumer internet, Ecommerce, viral, viral marketing, web 2.0.

Just a short addition to my previous post. There’s been some interesting commentary on the need for both “art” and “science” to induce viral growth. The science component is comprised of a website’s ability to systematically measure all aspects of user response to viral campaigns and iteratively refine features and experience to boost propogation rates. The “art” component relates to the fact that without first creating approximate viral memes that are (a) logically consistent a site’s primary value proposition and (b) resonate with something fundamental in the audience’s psyche, its virtually impossible to jumpstart a viral growth cycle. So how does one overcome the immaculate conception problem to predictably create “good” initial viral memes? There are no hard rules as each meme must be tailored to a particular situation. However, Seth Godin’s general rules for “What makes an idea viral” presents a good starting point for basic viral meme construction. Have fun creating!


1. Matt Lawson - January 19, 2007

Hi –

Well written and wordy 🙂

I think “Value” is a good strategy. If we look at the core of why Hotmail and Gmail took off so well we can see “value”.

Seth Godin’s view on Viral marketing is very good but seems more aimed towards a “one-off”.

Other forms of Viral marketing extent to “value and benefit” concept.
Like if MySpace had a 3rd Party Developer program allowing 3rdparty developers to make tools approved by Myspace and then sell/lease the tools to the userbase. Then this would surely lend well to a viral program as the developers would get the word out in order to make their product more visible.

Viral should not be quantified by how many users participate as the only way to validate a viral marketing program in terms of effectiveness.

One thing is for sure……Fun indeed!


2. David Armstrong - January 19, 2007

If you look at any successful viral campaign, there are a few things that exist in each one…something of value and something I call Positive Peer Utility. Peer Utility is “just enough for the giver” to share but MORE value for the “receiver” to Care. When I was told about Napster…if I only had access to YOUR music collection, big deal, but now that I can get extended mixes of Frankie’s Relax…I was addicted. Invite me to join Skype…yeah? I can call you for free…but wait, I can call anyone for free?..wow..or YouTube. Send me a video…yeah?..get those all the time. But you have now ‘shown’ me YouTube…aka Lazy Sunday. So..something of value and a postive Peer Utility that is greater than 1:1…meaning giver/receiver is > 1:1.

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