Counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure, and manipulate the spread of information, in Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin argues that the information can spread most effectively from customer to customer, rather than from business to customer. Godin calls this powerful customer-to- customer dialogue the ideavirus, and cheerfully eggs marketers on to create an environment where their ideas can replicate and spread.
Why are Ideaviruses so important?
1. We live in a winner-take-almost-all world. (Zipf’s Law)
2. We used to focus on mankind food. We used to make stuff. Now we make ideas.
3. People are more connected than ever. Not only are we more aware that our friends have friends but we can connect with them faster and more frequently.
4. There’s a tremendous hunger to understand the new and to remain on the cutting edge.
5. While early adopters (the nerds who always want to know about the cool new thing in their field) have always existed, now we’ve got more nerds than ever. If you are reading this, you are nerd!
6. The profit from creating and owning an ideavirus is huge.
Five things ideaviruses have in common
1. The most successful ideaviruses sometimes appear to be accidents, but it is possible to dramatically increase the chances your ideavirus will catch on and spread.
2. An ideavirus adores a vacuum.
3. Once an ideavirus spreads, it follows a lifecycle. Ignore the lifecycle and the ideavirus dies out. Feed it properly and you can extend its useful life and profit from it for a long time.
4. Ideaviruses are more than just essays and books. Everything from new technology to new ways of creating new products are winning because of intelligent seeding by their creators.
5. Viral marketing is a special case of an ideavirus. Viral marketing is an ideavirus in which the carrier of the virus IS the product.
Seven ways an ideavirus can help you
1. When everyone in town tells ten friends about your amazing ice cream shop and a line forms out the door (supercharged word of mouth due to the virus hanging dominated the town so completely).
2. When your company’s new mass storage format catches on and it becomes the next Zip drive.
3. When an influential sports writer names your daughter as a high school All-American basketball player and coaches line up outside the door with scholarships.
4. When Steve Jobs commissions the iMac, which spreads the word about the Mac faster than any advertising ever could, raising market share and saving your favorite computer company from bankruptcy.
5. When you write a report to your boss about how your company should deal with an opportunity in Cuba and it gets passed on, from person to person, throughout the company, making you a hero and a genius.
6. When the demo recording you made becomes a bestseller on MP3.com and you get a call from Sony, who wants to give you a recording contract.
7. When you are able to devise a brand-new Internet business plan for a product that’s useful and also embodies viral marketing…growing from nothing to a million users in a month and making you rich along the way.