Friday, March 04, 2005

Scoble on viral marketing

Microsoft employee Robert Scobleweighs in on viral marketing campaigns today, and offers eight pieces of advice for companies thinking of doing one. The most important, I think is this - that they're called 'viral' in the first place for a good reason. The whole idea behind viral campaigns is that the company builds something so incredibly cool, customers can't help but to share it with their friends, talk about it at their blogs, and help promote your company without you having to spend an extra cent of money. Just because you call a marketing campaign a 'viral' one doesn't mean that it's going to become one, if the campaign in question is lame, uninteresting or otherwise uninspiring to those consumers who come across it. This, claims Scoble, is why Burger King's Subservient Chicken campaign last year was so successful, while Microsoft's new MSN Found campaign fell flat on its face; because MSN's campaign sucked, to put not too fine a point on it, and didn't inspire nearly the kinds of "you absolutely must check this out" emails that some freak in a dirty chicken suit apparently did. Scoble rightly points out that this is why viral marketing was invented in the first place - because consumers, especially young, hip ones, are growing increasingly tired of advertisers telling them, "Okay, here's what we think will sell hamburgers to all you unthinking cattle out there in Consumer Land." Designing viral campaigns with the same mindset, he opines, completely defeats the point of doing a viral campaign in the first place.

I've done a past podcast, by the way, on this issue; you can check it out here if you want. (Thanks to "Media Guerrilla" for pointing out Scoble's entry.)