3 things to remember if you want to go viral
I am a medium sized local company and am exploring how to do a viral video given that I do not have much budget. I heard digital is very good in generating talkability, where people will just massively talk about a product, and then resulting in igniting interest and appeal, and finally leading to a sale. Is this correct? Would you suggest that I do viral marketing using videos? - Anonymous
From what I understand, given your budget constraints, you want people to talk about your product to generate interest and hopefully help you with your sales. So the short answer to your question is yes, you can do viral marketing. Prior to the advent of the internet, what you would have wanted to do is word-of-mouth marketing, where influencers generate buzz about a product and generate enough public interest that eventually, people lined up on their doorsteps. The internet however, changed that entire concept especially with the rise of social media, as products and services, whether good or bad, can now be easily shared online. If you really want to do viral videos or viral marketing, there is nothing wrong. However, there are a lot of considerations that you need to understand before mounting a viral campaign.
First, be clear with your marketing objectives. What is the status of your brand in the market? It is important to know how high your awareness levels are vis-à-vis competition. If your awareness is already high, then you should focus more on creating desire for your product. Viral marketing is excellent with generating awareness and interest, but if awareness is already high, your video may not be efficient. At the same time, you can look beyond videos, because if you are just thinking of generating word-of-mouth, some PR tools can already do the job. You do not have to go to the extent of creating a viral video.
Second, take a good look at your target market. If your target market is young and very heavy on using social media, then a viral video can work. The success of a viral video is heavily anchored on it being shared on social media, so it has to catch the interest and fancy of the social media audience enough for them to share it to their circle of friends. If your target market is on the more mature side, your digital executions may have to be more on the website or search engine marketing, and accompany it with some digital PR. Given the diversity of internet audiences and that I do not have any idea on what your product is and the target market you cater to, the simplest rule of thumb I use would be do viral marketing for a younger audience segment given their propensity to share digital content.
Finally, remember to work with quality and expert suppliers and agencies if you decide to create a viral video. Please do not do it in house unless you have people who are really experienced in doing it. I have already seen too many videos on Youtube languishing at less than 100 views because the supposedly funny or emotional content, didn’t turn out to be funny or emotional at all. Make sure when you look for a marketing partner, check out their credentials and past work. Very few agencies can and have really mounted a campaign that went viral.  
As an end note, remember that creating a viral video is not the end-all and be-all of your entire marketing campaign. At best, it can help you generate awareness and interest for your product, but do not forget you have other tools in your digital marketing arsenal like social media, search engine marketing, content marketing, among others. Also remember that digital marketing always works best when combined with our marketing platforms. While broadcast like television for a broad market segment and cable for an upscale segment can provide you the best reach, your budget considerations may only allow you to do other tools like print and out-of-home. Always think integrated marketing to solve your business and marketing needs, and not hope that you can just create a viral video and it will solve all your marketing problems.
Donald Lim is the Philippines’ foremost digital marketing guru. He is also the Chief e-marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. the only advocacy-based training and consulting firm focused on marketing, sales, strategy and innovation.