The notion that an idea can become contagious like a virus is both sensible and counterintuitive. It makes sense because we have experienced it on ourselves, for example think of the refrain of a song that remains in our mind, but it is counterintuitive because it does not adapt to the traditional world view of marketers.
Successful ideas are those that grow and spread thanks to the relationships between customers and not between customer and marketer. Interruption Marketing, that is interruption Marketing, is no longer profitable, you can no longer afford to search for customers and send unwanted advertising messages hoping to attract attention.
Instead, it is necessary to start a network between customers, so that the product or better the idea is sold by a consumer to others. Although the power of word of mouth weakens and fades with time, our era has provided us with an excellent means of propagation for the ideavirus, convenient and fast: the web.
In the third, everything revolves around ideas. The holy grail of anyone who trades in ideas is to propagate an ideavirus . Not an inert idea but a mobile idea, which grows and infects anyone who touches. We live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing, so it is imperative to create an environment where consumers themselves advertise the idea among themselves. Word of mouth is not a new concept, nowadays it is only different, ideeviruses have always existed, but now they are more powerful and it is easier to propagate them.
Ideeviruses are important
In the third, everything revolves around ideas. The holy grail of anyone who trades in ideas is to propagate an ideavirus. Not an inert idea but a mobile idea, which grows and infects anyone who touches. We live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing, so it is imperative to create an environment where consumers themselves advertise the idea among themselves.
Word of mouth is not a new concept, nowadays it is only different, ideeviruses have always existed, but now they are more powerful and it is easier to propagate them.
Why are ideeviruses so important?
We live in a world where the “winner gets everything”, this concept is explained in Zipf’s law. Philologist George Kingsley Zipf discovered that the most popular word in the English language is used ten times more than the tenth word, a hundred times more than the hundredth and so on.
It is clear that in almost any field being the first gives greater profits than being the third or the tenth, the same is true for ideeviruses, to be successful and the first they must have an excellent propagation speed and a certain agility, that is they must be easy to propagate and must target a specific “swarm”, (target consumer group whose individuals have common interests).
What is the difference between word of mouth and ideavirus?
There are two main differences: word of mouth spreads more slowly and dies quickly.
With ideavirus, on the other hand, both principles are no longer valid, ideeviruses spread quickly and have greater longevity. Precisely because the speed of new ideas has increased, so has our respect for those who are always informed about the latest news and cutting edge, so we are more likely to listen to them and spread the ideas to others.
The traditional advertising method is a game with winners and losers. If the product gets the consumer’s attention, a fraction of knowledge is won and the consumer wastes time. Permission Marketing and ideavirus, on the other hand, are different from this type of approach in that they create a game in which everyone wins.
If there is a fantastic idea that propagates in the swarm for free, whoever is touched wins somehow: the consumer wins because proposing it to a friend increases his status as “greaser” (consumers who are more predisposed to talk about new ideas / products with friends); the recipient gets the benefits of the idea and can now also propagate it and become a greaser himself; finally the creator is successful because his idea is propagated.
So for effective marketing you have to give people a reason to pay attention and then build an infrastructure that amplifies the ability of word of mouth.
How to propagate an ideavirus through the greasers
Once you understand the essential elements of propagating an ideavirus, you can create and propagate your own virus. First of all we need to understand the importance of the greasers, the heart of the ideavirus.
They can be divided into two groups:
- promiscuous publishers: those who try to sell the ideavirus to any consumer at any time. They can be driven by compensation and are not held in high regard by opinion leaders;
- powerful greasers : they cannot be bought, they propagate the virus without personal gain.
It is important to know how to keep one’s promiscuous publishers with great promises, naturally credible and showing them how the spread of the virus can bring benefits, for example by spreading the success story of one of them; the important thing is not to change the rules halfway through the game.
An important principle that a marketer must remember is that an ideavirus spreads more easily and quickly in the vacuum of an industry. Once spread, the ideavirus follows a life cycle, ignoring it will lead to its premature death while feeding it in the right way could make the virus live for a long time.
Viral marketing is a type of ideavirus in which the propagation medium is the product itself, in this case called an “amplifier”.
There are questions that must be asked before launching an ideavirus:
- Is it worth it? Is the idea valid, new, cutting edge?
- Is the idea easy to propagate? Attention is one of the luxuries of this century and it is difficult to gain.
There are three levers that determine how the ideavirus will spread: the number of consumers who witness the launch of the idea, the agility of the idea and the transformation of the consumer into a greaser.
How to use the ideavirus to launch our product
The ideavirus formula has eight variables that can be best manipulated for product launch.
1. Unters : choosing the unters is an important step. Powerful guns are difficult to reach, so the vendor must be able to find the second-tier guns that are more accessible.
2. The swarm : the success of an ideavirus begins with the choice of the target / swarm, often it is better to first choose your own swarm and then build the idea.
3. Speed : remember that filling a gap in a sector is easier than coming in seconds. If an ideavirus doesn’t spread fast enough, the competition can outdo you by getting to a swarm before you and presenting the idea as your own.
4. Carrier : the idea does not spread uniformly in the population, but follows a specific direction, it can be propagated in a certain geographical area or in a specific consumer niche.
5. Medium : the medium used for the spread of the virus.
6. Agility : the ease with which the virus propagates and the degree of ease with which greasers can infect friends.
7. Duration : the life cycle of the ideavirus.
8. Amplifier : it has already been seen that word of mouth is not enough to spread a virus. We must therefore create a system that amplifies positive word of mouth.
To date, however, no one has managed to create a safe formula for the propagation of the ideavirus, which means that it can only be successful through a series of trials, failures and victories.
The best techniques to spread an idea
What are the best tactics for propagating an idea?
- Making the idea worthy of being propagated like a virus.
- Expose the idea to the right people and do everything possible to make them interested, even by paying.
- Decide what the greasers should say to propagate the virus.
- Provide the guns with the appropriate tools for dissemination.
- Once the consumer’s attention has been obtained, ask for permission for a continuous dialogue.
- Surprise your audience to strengthen the virus and keep it growing.
- Accept the virus lifecycle, only a few viruses last forever.
The marketing of the outage is destined to disappear, the ideavirus is the future but when all the sellers understand the advantages of the ideavirus what will happen?
Certainly the race will be tighter, the costs of propagation will rise and the powerful greasers will receive greater benefits, it will be chaotic and confusing, few will emerge as complete victors, many will be satisfied, but once the waters have calmed down it will be found a new balance and it is hoped that then the most valid ideas will have prevailed.