Seth Godin, author of "Unleashing the Ideavirus," calls those who unleash viral marketing efforts "sneezers." Emanual Rosen, who wrote "The Anatomy of Buzz," prefers the term "network hubs." A number of products have benefitted from viral marketing--the Polaroid iZone camera, Volkswagen's Beetle and "The Blair Witch Project" film that took off when a Web site claimed it was not fiction.
Word of Mouth
This is a version of viral marketing. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has just published a 226-page book on the terminology and techniques of creating buzz.
"If you want word-of-mouth advertising," said Mel Zeigler, founder of Banana Republic, "give 'em something to talk about."
Public relations (PR) is the art and science of turning a product or service into a news story and getting ink or airtime in the media. At its most basic, a press release is written and reprinted in newspapers. At its most sophisticated, the PR wizard makes the proposition sound so exciting that feature writers bring it to the front pages of newspapers or a TV network airs a two-hour special.
Does Guerrilla Marketing Work--Really?
For example, publishing house Zondervan's "Pyromarketing" campaign for its title "The Purpose-Driven Life" sold 21 million copies.
Zondervan's senior marketing director, Greg Stielstra, said that he did not have a celebrity author or a big budget. AdAge.com's John Fine described what happened:
What Zondervan did have was a highly networked Christian consumer base, which attends church faithfully and frequently visits Web sites like pastors.com, which is run by Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren. So Zondervan targeted 400,000 churchgoers and 1,200 pastors. It sold them copies of the book for $7 (its retail price is $20). It tied sermons by Mr. Warren, which he posted at pastors.com, to specific chapters in the book. It suggested churchgoers read one chapter a day for 40 days, and reinforced the message further with what Mr. Stielstra said were "parallel" locally-targeted radio broadcasts.