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Unleashing The Ideavirus Summary

5 min read ⌚ 

Unleashing The Ideavirus SummaryStop Marketing AT People! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing for you.

Think of your idea like a virus.

It is contagious. It can affect people.


Read on to find out.

Who Should Read “Unleashing The Ideavirus”? and Why?

Ideas can change the world.

If you “play” the game well, you can infect the marketplace with your idea, and make the customers market your product for you.

Godin believes that traditional, interruptive marketing is no longer working and that it needs to be replaced with this concept.

We recommend “Unleashing The Ideavirus” to everyone interested in advertising and marketing.

About Seth Godin

Seth GodinSeth Godin is a speaker and an author primarily focused on writing marketing books, and the founder of Yoyodyne, the first digital direct-marketer, which was later acquired by Yahoo.

“Unleashing The Ideavirus Summary”

Forget everything you know about marketing.


Because traditional marketing, which interrupts people with unwanted marketing messages, no longer works.

The vast array of choices makes people resistant to hearing any kind of advertisements.

What is the marketing of the future then?

The good old word of mouth marketing, implemented in a digital environment.

Nowadays the world is connected, and people can share experiences across the globe.

So, the best thing you can do is to get your customers excited about your product so that they can share their recommendations within their consumer networks.

Let users market your product for you.

This is the era of ideas.

But just having an idea is not enough – the idea needs to spread, since it becomes more powerful, the more people hear about it.

So, you need to understand how to unleash the “ideavirus,” which will spread like an epidemic and will bring you success.

The good news is that because of today’s technological advancements and people’s addiction to social media, spreading your idea is easier.

The real problem is finding your niche and targeting your audience correctly, so your information does not get lost in the overabundance of data on the Internet.

So, target a specific demographic, psychographic or geographic group, and create a user experience which will make their lives better, or is entirely new.

Also, be careful of competitors. There are more competitors than ever now that companies do not need to spend as much money to reach a worldwide audience, as before.

So, make sure to create lock-in for your existing customers, so it is costly for them to switch to your competitors.

Another thing to note is that if you succeeded in starting the ideavirus, your job is not done.

Once the spreading starts, the ideavirus goes through a lifecycle which needs to be maintained, so it doesn’t die out.

Ideaviruses either succeed quickly, or they don’t.

Hence, if you do not see any results some time into the idea, give up on it and move on.

Okay, we told you what an idea virus is and how it spreads, but what is it based on exactly?

Usually, ideaviruses are based on experience or a lifestyle. Today the trend is to be in fashion. So, people want to know about some new, fresh experience and be a part of it.

Your product does not to be only good, it needs to exciting, funny, profitable or thought-provoking enough so people want to share it.

How do you go about creating an ideavirus?

Well, first you start off with a compelling idea.

Once you have it, you need to find a way to excite the “sneezers,” or those people who will most likely spread the ideavirus. There are two types of sneezers:

  • Promiscuous sneezers, whose primary motivation is money, and will market their “favorite” ideavirus to anyone.
  • Powerful sneezers, who can’t be bought, and rely on their own opinion of whether they like the product or not.

The Internet makes the promiscuous sneezers more numbered since people always want to gain something. However, as the number of promiscuous sneezers grows, powerful sneezers’ power gets stronger, since people trust them more.

The next step is to act on your tactic, which you need to have in your mind from the start of your idea’s life. We will cover the ideavirus formula and a few recommendations connected to it in the key lessons below.

Before we continue, bear in mind that launching something new and building a virus around it is easier than creating hype around an old product.

Key Lessons from “Unleashing The Ideavirus”:

1.      Strategies to Ignite an Ideavirus
2.      The “Ideavirus Formula” Key Variables
3.      Steps to Put the “Ideavirus Formula” to Work

Strategies to Ignite an Ideavirus

    • Go full viral
    • Pay the promiscuous sneezers
    • Make it easy
    • Digitally augment word of mouth
  • Offer altruism

The “Ideavirus Formula” Key Variables

    • The Sneezers: Choose the best sneezers.
    • The Hive: Choose your target customers and create a vacuum. Do not try to appeal to everyone. Look for a hive with sneezers, a problem, and a market opening.
    • Velocity: Spread your virus as quickly as you can.
    • Vector: Study the methods by which people share information.
    • Medium: Pick your incentives well, since they are great motivators.
    • Smoothness: Hook people from the start
    • Persistence: You don’t want a quick hit and a product that loses the attraction once people have it.
  • Amplifier: Amplify positive word of mouth and damp down negative word of mouth quickly.

Steps to Put the “Ideavirus Formula” to Work

    • Multiply your idea’s impact by boosting:
    • the reputation benefit to the powerful sneezer
    • the selfish benefit to the promiscuous sneezer
    • the smoothness of sharing the virus with a friend
    • the power of the amplifier used to spread positive word of mouth
    • the frequency of interaction by the members of a “hive” or group of connected people.  
    • Measure how many times you need to expose some of the sneezers to your ideavirus, so the virus catches.
  • Keep track of the time that sneezers need to recommend the product, so the virus ignites.

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“Unleashing The Ideavirus” Quotes

Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk. Click To Tweet Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Click To Tweet Everywhere you look, unanticipated, impersonal and irrelevant ads are getting more expensive and less effective. Click To Tweet You can no longer survive by interrupting strangers with a message they don’t want to hear, about a product they’ve never heard of, using methods that annoy them. Consumers have too little time and too much power to stand for this any… Click To Tweet Consumers actively resist marketing. So it’s imperative to stop marketing at people. The idea is to create an environment where consumers will market to each other. Click To Tweet

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Our Critical Review

Godin takes you to the modern world of marketing and shows you the path toward “Unleashing The Ideavirus” using a breezy style, a bunch of examples, charts and engaging illustrations.

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