A university has just put “Viral” at the top of their 2011 List of Banished Words.
Now, let’s ban “Viral Marketing” from the marketing lexicon
Usually, when people talk of the “viral” spread of anything, or “viral marketing,” they have no idea what they are talking about. They just mean that something got popular. When they do know what they are talking about, as in the authors who speak of Viral Marketing, they are flat out wrong.
The next edition of my book The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, due out in April of 2011, goes into some detail about how the infectious disease analogy — viral marketing — that we all spread 10 years ago is not correct and obscures a deeper understanding of how word of mouth spreads.
Excerpt from second edition of Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing to be published April, 2011, explaining why “viral marketing” is a misleading metaphor.
Richard Branson was just on Morning Joe, on MSNBC. He finds that the present practices of American airlines is “bizarre.”
Asked why other airlines don’t treat people better, he said, “I love people, and hopefully that richochets down through the company. Your people are only going to be as good as the products, the tools you give them to use… so if we give them the most comfortable seats, the nicest lighting, the best entertainment systems, etc., everything single detail right, they will be very proud of the company the work for, they’ll come in smiling and happy, and the passengers will be smiling and happy. …Never cut corners.”
He talks to the passengers and staff when he is on a flight. He carries a notebook where he makes note of the smallest detail.
For instance, people were stealing the salt and pepper shakers because they were so attractive. What would you have done?
They put “pinched from Virgin” on the bottom…”the best advertising you can have.” What would United have done?
Why are all the other airlines going in the opposite direction? Paying for bags, smaller seats, paying for food?
Branson replied, “It’s bizarre.”
“They have not cared for their people, they herd them on like cattle. I’m baffled, bemused. When we get up to 8-9% of market share, they will have to react.”
Notice, he doesn’t call them customers. They are “people,” as are his employees.
Lessons: His orientation is, do it right, attend to the details, don’t cut corners and “hopefully, we’ll show a profit at the end of the year.” My take on this? If your focus is on your PEOPLE (customers and staff), you will treat them as friends and they will talk.
What can you do, right now, that’s the equivalent of putting “pinched from Virgin” on the bottom of YOUR [metaphorical] salt and pepper shakers?