C-Suite Network™

Why You Shouldn’t Be Aiming for Viral Marketing

Viral marketing seems like the business success a marketer can strive for–your message is out there, and everyone is sharing it. What could be better? Well, a lot, actually, because going viral says a lot about how many people see your message, but not a whole lot about how many people are buying your product.

Some of you might remember the feel-good stories or days gone by, such as Blendtec, that great blender whose messages went viral when they pulverized an iPod with that powerful little motor. And that viral marketing definitely led to sales–huge increases, in fact. So, why am I so down on viral marketing? A few reasons:

  • You’re not so unique. Nowadays, there is way more content vying for attention. The possibility of any marketer breaking through the way Blendtec did is much less than it was.


  • Facebook makes it hard. Facebook used to show any content–now it suppresses marketing content in the free feed to make you pay them for ads.


  • You’re not looking for everyone. This is probably the most important reason. If you’re Coca-Cola, then maybe viral is great, because your target market is anyone with a neck. But you’re probably not.

But the biggest reason that viral marketing doesn’t work, is that even if it goes viral, it doesn’t persuade anyone to buy. The best thing about those old Blendtec videos were that they showed off their differentiation. If it can obliterate an iPod, you can bet it won’t leave any lumps in your smoothies. But most viral attempts focus solely on sharing and reach and not at all on persuading all those people that they reach.

Focus on reaching the right people instead of all the people. Maybe that finally give you the boost in sales you really need.

Mike Moran

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