Saturday, March 29, 2008


Dear friends,
I have great news for my Russian readers: Sergey Zhukovsky and Ivan Trapeznikov are going to make a FREE training course how to sell anything to anybody and to earn $1000 during the two-weeks training.
The training program comprises:
What is the main 'trick' of selling?
The '21 contacts' principle.
Blogging is the facility for the contact with the customer.
How to promote your blog?
How to find out your target niche customers?
And much more.
Just go to this link and see.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Let's take it as a case study for viral marketing.
PROBLEM. Suppose, you have got to promote a movie. Then you need to praise it in all the possible ways, don't you? You need to publish ads etc. OK, this is a conventional way. Still you are thinking about something more creative. You are thinking about something 'viral'. You are thinking about people saying 'Wow!'.

CONTRADICTION. Then you get a sudden / unusual idea: instead of praising the movie - let us do it 'the other way round'. Instead of tedious complimenting - let us criticize it.
Is this already the final solution? Sure, it is not. You may not just say 'the movie is bad'. Bad is just bad - so why are you talking about this movie?
Formulating a contradiction means we are on the right way to solution.

SOLUTION. So we have got the contradiction 'criticizing vs praising'. How can we solve it? Can we praise and criticize at the same time?
The Theory tells: one of the ways to solve this contradiction is to divide the object (= the movie) to the parts. Now one of the parts may be criticized without damaging the whole movie.

REAL CASE. These very days you might see billboards around the city of Dallas – the ones that say: "My mom always hated you, Sarah Marshall" or "You do look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall."
Who is Sarah Marshall, and why is someone trying to publicly humiliate her?
If you wondered "Who is spending all this money to hurt Sarah Marshall?," then you fell for a viral marketing campaign. 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' is the comedy's name. It centers on Peter who is dumped by his girlfriend Sarah Marshall. The movie will play at the Dallas International Film Festival on April, but we see the campaign already now.
So, the initial contradiction has been solved: humiliating one of the characters, still complimenting the whole movie.

The above case study shows the viral marketing example built, first, on the principle of 'the other way round', second, on the principle of dividing the object to the parts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Reading the site of WOMMA (= Word of Mouth Marketing Association), I have found plenty of 'case studies' and viral marketing examples.
However, the WOMMA terminology is a little bit different. They prefer the term 'Word of Mouth Marketing' instead of 'Viral Marketing'. Because they think 'Word of Mouth' is a broader term than 'Viral'. The last is only a part of the first. The 'Word of Mouth Marketing' comprises, in itself, many types of marketing as, for example, 'Buzz Marketing', 'Community Marketing', 'Grassroots Marketing', 'Viral Marketing' of course, and others. As for me, I can add one more term I have found recently: 'peer-to-peer marketing'.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I have read a useful article on 'Linkbaiting'. Though written in 2006, it is still interesting.
Do you know what 'Linkbaiting' means? 'Bait' is a worm placed on a hook for taking fish. And 'Link' is a link that you wish to get from other sites.
So linkbaiting is about hooking. Link bait is a feature within your website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites.
The above mentioned article by Darren Rowse is talking about 20 Linkbaiting Techniques: tools, quizzes, contests, humor, etc.
I personally like the technique named 'Lists'. Organize your info in a form of a list: first..., second..., third... There is something about a list that people latch onto and want to pass on to others (check out digg and delicious to see plenty of examples).

Learn good techniques for linkbaiting. It can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Do you know what 'grassroots marketing' or 'grassroots movement' is? It is a great tool for PR.
Grassroots movement is one driven by the community itself. The term 'grassroots' implies: the creation of the movement is natural and spontaneous. It is not orchestrated by traditional power structures.
You may call it a brother (or a sister) of a viral marketing.
Grassroots procedures include:
house meetings / parties,
talking with pedestrians on the street,
gathering signatures for petitions,
raising money from many small donors,
large demonstrations,
reminding people to vote and transporting them to polling places.

However, you need to distinguish between a real grassroots movement and a faked one.
Faking a grassroots movement is known as astroturfing. Astroturfing is named after a brand of artificial grass, AstroTurf. The practice of astroturfing is similar to the practice of grassroots, so it is hard to distinguish. Still, what is the difference? There are lobbyists behind astroturfing which try to hide their agenda and pretend they are just ordinary folks voicing their opinions.

Try (when it is possible) organize your PR / marketing campaign as a grassroots one.

Friday, March 14, 2008


More and more I see this simple & effective viral marketing example: job ads as if a company is hiring folks. What happens? 'Join us', 'Recruitment', 'Vacancies', 'Career' - all this buzz is passing on from one guy to another.
The fresh example is the site of Microsoft Israel R&D Center.
Another example is about Google. In 2004 Google Labs published so called GLAT - Google Labs Aptitude Test. Readers were asked to mail in their answers and promised that they would be contacted by Google if they scored well.
The declared reason was to attract high quality people into their ranks. Actually, it was a clever viral marketing which generated a lot of interest.
How does it improve the company PR image?
1. The public gets the idea that the company (= Google Labs, in this case) is hiring only very clever folks.
2. The public gets the reminder that the company is on the map.
3. You get much buzz, interest and involvement about this point.

Now I remember one example more. In September 2006 the Shin Bet (= Shabak, the Internal Security Service of Israel) launched its first-ever public recruitment drive. The employment campaign was targeting computer programmers.

The viral marketing example for brains, intellectuals and know-it-all guys is declare that you are hiring folks.

Monday, March 10, 2008


While talking about viral marketing examples, we should remember that viral marketing started much before the Internet era.
Let us see the examples about brands or trademarks.
As you know, 'Jeep' is a registered trademark of Chrysler. Not all 4x4 or off-road vehicles are to be called 'Jeep'. Still, as a matter of fact, you hear the word 'Jeep' in the meaning 'off-road vehicle', even if it is made in Japan or Korea. I heard it in Russia, Belarus & Israel.
Then, do you know that in Russia 'Pampers' means a disposable diaper? Not only diapers marketed by Procter & Gamble but all kinds of diapers.
More examples:
'Xerox' means 'copier' (= copying machine) of each kind and not only a copier of Xerox per se.
Tampax means a tampon, in spite of its being a brand of Procter & Gamble.
Thanks to Alexandr Blokhin for the above examples (in Russian).
A flush toilet (= Water Closet) is called in Russia 'Unitas', because of the Spanish company 'Unitas" in the beginning of 20th century.
Do you think those examples characterize Russia only? No, there are examples everywhere. In UK the popular word for a flush toilet is 'crapper'. Why? Thomas Crapper's company built such toilets in 1880s. After the company received a royal warrant, Crapper's name became synonymous with flush toilets.
In Israel 'pelephone' means a cellphone, because the Israeli-based telecommunications company "Pelephone" was the first to offer mobile phone services in the beginning of 1990s. Then the brand-name "Pelephone" became the ubiquitous term for mobile phones in Israel.
Some more examples from Israel: 'vespa' means a motorscooter, 'venta' means a fan, 'fluke' means an electrician's multimeter.
Now there is a fresh example about Google: some people say they "googled" something as a synonym for searching.
There is a special term for these cases: 'Genericized trademark', or 'generic trade mark', or 'proprietary eponym'.
Some classic examples are, as well: Scotch Tape, Jacuzzi (whirlpool bathtubs), Sellotape, Aspirin.

Be the first on the market and make your brand a generic trade mark.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Thanks to Robert F. Hogeboom, I have learned about a successful viral marketing example.
What's great about it?
As you know, viral marketing means self promoting message. So, which principles can we learn out of this example?
First, what is the story behind the case?
Presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a speech on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. 'Yes We Can' was the speech motto.
Afterwards a hip-hop singer created music video using the same lyrics 'Yes We Can'. As his distribution platform, the singer chose the largest online video site, YouTube. Its popularity has been great = over 13 million views to date.
Watching the video, what do we see?
* Authenticity. It seems to come out of the heart. 'Home made' style.
* Simplicity. It is just black & white, as opposed to the usual colorful TV shows.
* The video is calm, quiet, soft, gentle. Not noisy rallies.
* The distribution platform is not the last point.

So, we learn a few principles of this viral marketing example: authenticity, simplicity, softness, and a good platform.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Which problem do you need to solve in your marketing effort?
You wish your potential customers to receive your message, and not just to receive but to pass it on to others, don't you?
So this is the point. Why would the customers pass along your message voluntarily? This is your challenge.
So, you need to make them say "This is fun!". Let us see one viral marketing example. This is a video promoting 'F-Series' truck of Ford. Several videos show you situations when a guy (driving a F-150 truck) is punished for not being 'tough' enough. For example, one driver is arrested for wearing a pink shirt ('No pink shirts for Ford tough guys!'). Another is obliged to pour his caffe latte out ('NO FANCY COFFEE') etc.
Ford trucks are for 'tough' guys - this is the message that you as a viral marketing transmitter are supposed to pass along.
One more thing. There is a button 'SHARE' on the video, so you are reminded to send the video to your friends.