April 4, 2012

Viral Marketing Campaigns

Lemony Snicket is a bit of a mystery to me and I like it that way. Both fictional and actual he moves in a realm of intelligence and intrigue, both involved in the real world and the one he has created. For example, have you read his observations of the Occupy Movement?

The name is a pen name and you might know him from the numerous books that he has written. If you have not read the Series of Unfortunate Events, than I have a question for you... WHY NOT? "Its for children." you might reply and I would answer "True enough, but that is only on the surface and the shelf that it sits on in the library."

The truth is that if you, as a learned adult, were to read said series, you might just discover the inkling of the larger nefarious plot afoot in the lives of the Baudelaire children. For instance, what is the VFD? A name, an organization, something hinted at in the outskirts of your mind as you read. These questions are only exacerbated if you take into account and read the other novels that orbit around the primary series like satellites. Or perhaps you might wonder, who is Beatrice? (I have often wondered if something is meant to be drawn between the relationships between Lemony and Beatrice and Dante and Beatrice.)

Anyway, I digress, the purpose of this article is not to spur you into going out and purchasing the entire series for your iPad and digesting them at an unhealthy rate, but rather to demonstrate a new marketing technology that I find fascinating: Drip Campaigns, Viral Marketing, whatever you call it!

I happened to stumble upon this site. I have no recollection of how I got there, but once there it was clear to see that something was happening and all I needed to do was express an interest in what that was and provide my email address. The impetus for all the events to follow.

Nothing happened. A few weeks went by and I put the strange site out of my mind. And then I received this in my inbox.

After staring at the image for a few days I saw something that I thought might just be the reason... VFD. It is maddening! I replied to the email and got this response:

Hilarious. So I waited some more. Every few weeks, I would check my email to find another clue, another puzzle, another maddening hint.

 Then I got one that said Drop Everything! with the date March 28th and an image of a man falling from the sky. I cannot show you that email, because after March 28th the email image somehow changed and became this:

It is the cover of a new book to be released sometime in October. Exciting isn't it! What an excellent use of email, to ratchet up anticipation and inspire your loyal followers to talk about it to friends, coworkers and strangers. Just a light touch; never once saying "Buy This" or "On Sale Soon" simply gaining interest and allowing your market to find your product in their own way. It is refreshing and keeps me looking for more, and was glad to see that although an announcement was made, the campaign was not over.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.
Can you see how powerful this marketing technique can be? I bet you have experienced something like it and not even realized it. That is it's true power.