Is Viral marketing a bug you want to catch?

Viral marketing can be a very effective means of generating excitement about your company or product, but it is not a quick fix or a way to advertise on a shoestring budget. A great deal of work goes into any successful viral marketing campaign and many of the traditional advertising rules apply.

The Lie

There is a rumour going around that anyone with a computer can launch a viral marketing campaign and expose millions of people to any given message without spending more than a few pounds. While there is potential to reach a vast audience through online viral marketing the rumours, which state that it will be easy and close to free, are nothing more than a lie.

The Truth

Just as with a more traditional advertising campaign, a great deal of work must go into determining how best to strike a chord with any given demographic. You must generate a creative idea that will resonate in the hearts and minds of your target audience, or your viral campaign will fall flat.

A viral marketing campaign is founded on the same basic principles as traditional advertising, but is distributed in a completely different manner. Once you have a clear target audience and a relevant message, the true beauty of a viral marketing campaign can begin. The idea is to leak your viral marketing campaign to just a few key targets within any given demographic. These targets should be well connected and prone to distribute original content to their friends and associates.

If executed correctly, the viral marketing campaign you have worked diligently on will spread like wild fire throughout your target demographic within a short span of time. The majority of the time and money in a viral marketing campaign is spent up front, in the areas of research and creative development. So the launch costs can sometimes seem rather high, but once launched and if the campaign is successful, the benefits continue for a long time.

Making something ‘viral’ is not therefore a simple, cheap solution. It takes time, effort, money and understanding of the pro’s and cons of the industry, but if done well the rewards can be huge. But if you try and go for the quick fix, expect to catch a nasty cold.


Greg has been working in the UK advertising and marketing industry for almost 20 years and in that time has worked across all types of media; from outdoor billboards, to radio, to national and regional press to the Internet. This enabled him to set up The Media Cube in 2002, along with some colleagues, as a marketing agency, to bring that same broad national experience to smaller clients who wouldn’t usually get a look in with the big blue chip agencies. Greg believes passionately in tryin...

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