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.