Viral marketing is an epidemiological metaphor for how ideas get spread in a connected world. As marketers, we strive to create pandemics to "affect" people instead of "infect" people. The increasing prominence of the social web provides many ways to effectively scale and spread our messages and ideas in much the same way we fear swine flu could have global implications. You're most likely already aware of the immense potential on the internet for your company and your brand, but it's likely that you aren't sure how to tap into it. You hear buzzwords like viral marketing, social marketing, buzz marketing, viral videos, consumer engagement, and destination websites, but these words do little to provide the perspective you need to formulate an approach.
It is important to work to understand as many of the working pieces in your craft but true genesis lies beyond words and true creativity is creating something where there is not. Nobody can tell you where your own success lies and you won't find success in the place it is not. There's a Japanese proverb that says "The Reverse Side Also Has A Reverse Side." These words mixed with Buddha's last - "Conditioned things are perishable; with vigilance strive to succeed" have inspired the notion behind this post as I relate them to myself, creativity and the things I pragmatically work thru on a daily basis. So let's step back and dispel some conventional thinking first.
Innovation refers to incremental, radical, and/or revolutionary change. Change in thinking, products, processes, and/or institutions & organizations. It's fueled by creative people on an unending journey to make things faster, smaller, cheaper, cleaner, simpler; people who put their heart and soul into their craft without regard. Institutions or organizations are deliberately and intentionally created by people. The development of functional institutions in society in general may be regarded as an instance of emergence; meaning, institutions arise, develop and function in a pattern of social self-organization, which goes beyond the conscious intentions of the individual humans involved. It is the mechanical and traditional way effort is coordinated.
Before I get started on this post let me make one thing absolutely clear. I am a DATA JUNKIE. My job is to develop digital products, online destinations and engagement campaigns using the latest behavioral scoring technology available; technology that allows one to gather primary data on the audience that is interacting with the products. Lately, I have really had a hard time embracing granular segmentation strategies especially around B2B and product development. I mean, who are we talking to anyways? Glass buildings and steel infrastructures or is there a better way to approach this? The notion that consumers or, for simplicity sake, HUMANS are not the collective influence of a corporation and its day to day decision makers makes traditional B2B marketing a flawed construct that should be re-examined. Well this got me thinking even deeper... or shallower for that matter. Let me start by discussing the problem as I see it. We'll get to a new approach I am pursuing just a bit later in the post.