Article

Viral Sucks. Plan for Success - Don't Leave it up to Chance.

Some witty video doesn't guarantee that you'll have the next viral sensation. Plan for your success.

If I offered you a one time payout of $10 million or fifty payments of $1 million, what would you choose? Would you rather have one hugely successful moment in your entire life instead of a long career of sustained successes? 1 million hits to your video or 1 million followers on Twitter and Facebook? Blind Melon or Soundgarden? (I’ll explain later…) No, these aren’t concepts for the next AT&T commercial – it’s the argument between viral and planning. Viral is the phrase replacing the, “I need an app” craze. But what most marketers don’t understand is that posting some witty video doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have the next viral sensation. There’s no shortcut to long-term success or a magic pill that creates results. It comes down to understanding your audience and then planning out how to best approach and engage them. Testing, learning, failing, improving, posting, testing and learning.
 

Blind Melon was a band that had a huge hit, “No Rain” in the early 90′s. It was extremely catchy and memorable and was in constant rotation on radio and MTV. I still vividly remember the video with that sad little bee girl finding other bee people and all of them dancing wildly around. But Blind Melon ultimately added their name to the long list of one hit wonders. Soundgarden on the other hand was a consistently awesome band with a couple of great albums and a bunch of great songs, but they never had a huge hit. In 1994 they released the album “Superunknown” containing the song “Black Hole Sun” which just like “No Rain” achieved epic success. Although their first #1 hit didn’t come until later in their career, they were considered one of the pioneering and most influential bands of that time. The analogy of the one hit wonder applies with viral as well. It’s absolutely possible to create a huge splash and become wildly successful once. But it’s more beneficial to achieve repeatable and sustainable success for your brand. And who’s to say that viral can’t be a result of repeatable and sustainable?

 

We live in a world where safe isn’t sexy. We want home runs and lottery jackpots, but that takes luck. Swinging for fences produces a lot of outs and the majority of lottery tickets are worthless. Strategic planning allows you to figure out what works and what doesn’t and provides you the insight to make informed decisions. Instead of planning for one perfect thing, focus on creating a lot of really great things for the long-term. You might even find a viral gem in there. Listen to your audience and learn from them. Luck is awesome when it strikes, but don’t put all of your eggs in that basket. Plan for your success.

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