I live-blogged Sean's presentation; unfortunately my fingers couldn't keep up with the amazing information he kept throwing at us. I was particularly impressed with his focus on ethical practices - a hot topic recently and something I'm big on.
With Sean's permission I'm posting his slides here.
Don't Rush Into Word of Mouth Marketing
Fools rush in to creating buzz. Sean outlined nine key questions to ask before you should launch a word of mouth initiative:
- Do you have a story?
- Is this a new initiative/audience/feature?
- Can you customize/experience the offering?
- Is the benefit complex?
- Is there a high need for credibility? Authenticity?
- How frequent is the use/purchase of service/product?
- Is there a natural influencer group/fan base?
- What is your current reputation in this area? Resources?
- Do you have an appetite for risk?
Success Factors for Viral Advertising/Marketing
Sean actually wrote a great post about this recently, you can check this topic out in more detail here.
Here are his 14 viral/buzz success factors:
- Humour (e.g. John West)
- Authentic & Cause-Driven (Dove Evolution)
- Taboo (Agent Provocateur)
- Remarkability/Creative (Sony Bravia)
- Outrageous (Trojan Games/Will It Blend)
- Mystery (Ronaldinho)
- Celebrity (Paris/Perez Hilton)
- Clever Visual Idea (Honda Cog)
- Schadenfaude [embarrassing] (Dell Hell)
- Interactive/Customized (Subservient Chicken)
- Unusual Talent (OK Go)
- User-Generated (iPod Touch ad)
- Spoof (Slob Evolution)
- Free (Radiohead)
Hit on a winner in one of these key themes, and you'll be in good shape. The chances of this happening, though, are small - according to Sean they're in the 10-15% area, and the best are inside 1%.
According to Sean:
Viral success, or more the lack of it, is a function of: a) the competition from thousands of campaigns, b) the particular context for launching a campaign, c) the initial push you can give it, both paid and unpaid and d) tapping into a core viral motivations of wanting to pass something along. It's certainly more art than science!
A Few Good Examples
Lastly, Sean left us with a few great examples of some governments/causes/NGOs that are doing great work in this field:
- MoveOn.org - American advocacy group
- Vancity - Online community for people who want to change things around Vancouver and Victoria
- Xoova - Online medical services marketplace
- Toronto Transit Camp - Barcamp-style event about the TTC
- DailyStrength - Online network of support groups
- ChicagoCrime.org - Browsable database of crimes in Chicago
- FixMyStreet - UK-based site - report, view, discuss local problems
- New Zealand History Online - Government-produced interactive history site
- Ron Paul - American Presidential candidate
- Free Hugs
For more great info, check out the rest of Sean's presentation or head over to his blog.
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