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Your Marketing is Not Going to Go Viral – And it Doesn’t Matter

The chances of you being the next Dollar Shave Club guy or Will it Blend mad scientist are slim and none. (And Slim just left town …) That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply to your marketing the same ideas that made those campaigns so popular. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:

Redefine Viral

Even if you could afford it, do you really want a Super Bowl ad? Wouldn’t the cover of a trade magazine read by your target market be better? There would be a lot fewer unqualified “prospects” to wade through, making your sales efforts far more efficient.

Since your needs are different than the consumer brands who really do seek vitality, and your chances of “blowing up” the internet are pretty small, think in more tightly-defined terms. You don’t need the biggest audience, you need the right audience. So craft a story that the publishers of that trade magazine – and others like it – can’t say no to, and stop worrying about getting your face on billboards.

Micro Fame Works Wonders

Carrying that same notion a bit further, you don’t have to be a household name to be successful in B2B marketing. In fact, if the whole world is talking about you as a B2B marketer, chances are something’s gone very, very wrong.

The key to developing the kind of micro-fame that can drive sales is consistency. You have to be “the __ person,” and whatever fills in the blank has to be memorable, valuable to your target audience, and part of your differentiation.

Be Visual, Be Concise

It’s no accident that we talk about screen time on our devices. As in television screen and movie screen. Sure, phones and tablets can be e-readers, but that’s not how we think of them and that’s not how we can connect most deeply with our audiences. Video and animation are going to work best. Graphics, work too. Text on a screen – especially dense text – just isn’t going to cut it. (Which might mean it’s time to reconstitute this article as a video!)

In fact that’s true whether you want to be viral or not. Attracting your target audience requires big ideas and quickly digestible ideas, not the nitty-gritty details of your solution. That comes later.

Be Yourself

If you’re not comfortable being provocative, or if it’s not right for your brand, you’re not going to pull off an edgy approach. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a remarkable marketer. Be funny, be thoughtful, be profound. Make a big statement.

Whatever you do to grab your audience, make sure you’re being true to yourself.

Work at It

It may be the case that the viral marketing ideas you’ve seen were each created in one moment of brilliant inspiration, but I doubt it. Chances are, dozens of ideas were tossed around, tested, and sent to the scrap heap before the examples we all know and love started racking up clicks and likes.

The key to having good ideas is having a lot of ideas. So if you’re committed to standing out from the crowd, make standing out from the crowd a part of your brainstorming sessions. Maybe the kind of on-the-street guerrilla marketing that B2C startups sometimes use so effectively isn’t a good fit for your brand, but sitting down to create another slide deck probably isn’t going to move the needle, either. Find the balance that works, even though that likely means kissing a lot of proverbial frogs before you find the best tactics for your brand and audience.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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