“It’s gone viral!”
This is the most popular and most sought after statement of the 21st century.
For a piece of content to ‘go viral,’ it needs to be well received and widely shared. B2B viral marketing is an avenue that a growing number of B2B marketers are exploring, as a stab at an innovative internet marketing technique.
The goal of any content marketing strategy is to reach a large and rapidly expanding number of prospects at a faster pace and at a lower cost. For this purpose; viral marketing is one of the most powerful strategies.
When talking about virality, the book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by brothers Chip and Dan Heath comes to mind. This book offers six important components to getting an idea to stick in someone’s mind. They believe that the key components in sticky ideas can be summed up by SUCCESs which is an acronym for Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and generates Stories.
Produce ideas that are simple to understand and doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Simple doesn’t mean dumbing down. It is all a matter of prioritizing. Make sure that the core of your message is communicated properly.
Your content should be able to start conversations and provoke reactions from more than just your target audience. But remember that your idea needs to still be connected in some way to your brand and must include high share-worthy elements. In case you do end up with some backlash, prepare calm and collected responses ahead of time.
Striking visuals increase viral potential. If you want to generate social shares, you need compelling visuals.
One of the main perks of going viral is the ability to ‘own’ your niche. You can position yourself as an industry leader with the help of credible data in your content. This will help create a lasting impression.
Highly emotional content is vital to any marketing strategy. The best way to incorporate emotions into an existing content marketing strategy is by promoting it during emotional events like holidays or world issues.
Stories drive action. Create content that seamlessly crosses between different audiences, thereby driving more people to your website. Your content should be able to fit more than one vertical.
There are many factors that are essential to any successful viral marketing strategy and this SUCCESs model points to 6 key elements. In the past couple of years, many B2B marketers have broken the mold and created content that has gone viral and still continues to be viral. Here are a few B2B memorable campaigns which can be measured on the above SUCCESs scale.
There are a lot of businesses that provide email marketing. VerticalResponse is just one of them. As they joined with SalesForce.com AppExchange they needed to announce the same to people without getting lost in the clutter. For this purpose, they created a rap video that spoofs an old Dr Dre song.
An App Thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq4m2JnCTo4
Simple – The video promotes their email marketing services and that they are now on a new platform. Their core marketing message is clear.
Unexpected – It is entertaining and definitely out of the box.
Concrete – A rap video showing the ‘fun’ and ‘quirky’ side of a company that does email marketing is definitely a visual treat.
Credible – They effectively incorporated their marketing message into the viral video.
Emotional – It definitely elicits strong emotions as it is hilarious to people and nostalgic for Dr Dre fans.
Stories – The format of the video is such that it can be watched and enjoyed by anyone who watches it. Plus anybody who watches it knows exactly what the video is about.
As an engineering software company, SolidWorks sells mostly to engineers. So to reach their target audience and simultaneously become viral while doing it, they started a video campaign that answered just one question, “What if the great engineers used SolidWorks?”
What if Thomas Edison used SOLIDWORKS Electrical? : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U95P_Ldd9GI
Simple – The video promotes all the benefits of using SolidWorks electrical wires and it comes directly from the creator of the light bulb. Their core marketing message is clear.
Unexpected – It is intriguing and catches the curiosity of the viewer right from the question posed by the video title.
Concrete – For a mechanical engineer, watching Thomas Edison talk about wires is definitely visually attractive and attention-grabbing
Credible – Who better to hear from about the benefits of using a SolidWorks wire than the light bulb creator? Their marketing message is loud and clear.
Emotional – It definitely elicits strong emotions as it creates a sense of curiosity and interest.
Stories – Everyone knows about Thomas Edison. So it is a story that can fit any vertical.
Known for its dehydrated soup, Knorr – a Unilever owned food and beverage brand – produces gluten-free food. They used this aspect of their food brand and retargeted their content marketing strategy. They set their sights on caterers and chefs in the UK. The reason for this was simple.
Their customer research showed that consumers who are gluten-free had a difficult time finding catering services that suit their dietary restrictions. Knorr then found out, via catering companies, that the reason they didn’t offer gluten-free options was simply that they had uninspired gluten-free recipes.
As a solution to this problem and as a modification to their content marketing strategy, Knorr published a collection of gluten-free recipes. They also educated chefs on gluten-free cooking using conferences and webinars.
Simple – Knorr has a clear marketing message: be the brand that people think of when they think of gluten-free food. This message comes through crystal clear throughout the campaign.
Unexpected – Instead of only targeting customers, they targeted businesses their customers use. This was an out of the box tactic that caught people unaware.
Concrete – Gluten-free recipe books, cooking classes via webinars and conferences are compelling and retain in the mind for a longer time.
Credible – As Knorr has gluten-free food in their roster of products, they get to use that platform to become thought leaders in their niche
Emotional – It definitely elicits strong emotions as it solves a problem faced by many gluten-free customers of theirs.
Stories – Their campaign crosses different customer universes as it targets the catering companies, their chefs as well as their customers.
In conclusion, based on the case studies above, here are a few ideas for creating your own B2B viral content:
- A well-produced video which is simple to understand yet includes complicated technical concepts related to your industry.
- A whitepaper that takes a comprehensive and in-depth look at the state of your sector
- Blog posts that are original and probably having a controversial approach to a common problem can be brought up