Monday, April 23, 2007

Booknotes: Unleashing the Ideavirus



Booknotes: I read the book, took some notes, so you don't have to. But you should. Really.

Author of Permission Marketing and the more recent, Small is the New Big, marketing guru Seth Godin unleashed his virus of a book in 2001.

Quite fascinating concepts. Some are obvious and I'm seeing more of his theories put in practice. So did Mr. Godin come first and they've adopted his ideas or did he merely observe and jot down trends? Guess it doesn't really matter.

1. "We live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing. So it's imperative to stop marketing at people. The idea is to create an environment where consumers will market to each other.

2. Two questions before you launch an ideavirus: A) Is it virus-worthy? (No room for boring ... "If it's not compelling, it will never lead to a ideavirus. B) Is is smooth? (Easy to spread?).

3. "An ideavirus adores a vacuum."

4. Find the right "hive" (niche). Dominate it. There's a far drop from being #1 to #2.

5. Get to a "powerful sneezer" -- influential person who can spread your ideavirus. [reminds me of the case of Harry Knowles and Ain't it Cool News site. He was a classic case of powerful sneezer that turned into promiscuous sneezer -- one that lost his credibility. Where is he now?]

6. Money Paradox: "The sooner you ask for money, the less you make. " Asking for money introduces friction into the system. "Many marketers require people to pay the most when they know the least."

7. eFax plan: "get people hooked on the system a free system. ... then upgrade to a paid system. They do this by: "1. Fill the vacuum; 2. Achieve lock-in; 3. Extract revenue."

8. One of the best ways to facilitate adoption of your ideavirus is to find a bestseller list that makes sense and then dominate it. If that's impossible, figure out how to create your own bestseller list and popularize that!"

9. When creating the cover, the outside package..."Boring is probably the worst offense."

10. "What are you the best or the most at? How can you refine and amplify those traits to create a Wow! product...a world's record that worth mentioning?"

11. "If you're not facing a vacuum, you've got to be ten times better than what's already there, if you're going to start your own virus."

12. "Targeting isn't enough. Being a world record holder isn't enough either. You also need to dominate your hive."

13. "Maybe it's not easy to find or as easy to reach, but there are powerful sneezers in the audience for almost every idea. Finding these sneezers adn giving them a sample of your idea for free is a no-brainer."

14. "...one way to make your digital media valuable: keep it fresh."

15. "If you catch yourself asking this question about a new business model innovation ('How would we make money?') you're headed for trouble. The Internet doesn't care how you make money. The Internet isn't going to wait while you figure out how to react.

16. Unleasing sequence. 1. Invent a virusoworthy idea; 2. Make it smooth and persistent; 3. Incent powerful sneezers; 4. Get their permission to follow up.

17. Word of mouse.

18. "It's obvious that marketing to people who want to be marketed to is more effective than interrupting people who hate you."

19. "Step by step, Ideavirus tactics.
A. Make it virusworthy.
B. Identify the hive.
C. Expose the idea.
D. Figure out what you want the sneezers to say.
E. Give the sneezers the tools they need to spread the virus.
F. Once the consumer has volunteered his attention, get permission.
G. Amaze your audience so that they will reinforce the virus and keep it growing.
H. Admit that few viruses last forever. Embrace the lifecycle of the virus."

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