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Unleashing the Ideavirus

SKU: 9780970309907
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Counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure, and manipulate the spread of information, best-selling Author Seth Godin argues that the information can spread most effectively from customer to customer, rather than from business to customer. Godin calls this powerful customer-to-customer dialogue the ideavirus, and cheerfully eggs marketers on to create an environment where their ideas can replicate and spread.

In lively detail, Godin looks at ways companies such as Napster, Hotmail, GeoCities, even Volkswagen have successfully launched ideaviruses. Godin provides all the ingredients so anyone can start their own ideavirus epidemic. He identifies key factors to show how any business, large or small, can use ideavirus marketing. Now all businesses can succeed in a world that just doesn't want to hear it anymore from the traditional marketers.

Who but Godin could teach consumers the importance of powerful sneezers, hives, velocity, a clear vector, and a smooth, friction-free transmission? Readers will learn much more, including:

*Why ideas matter
*Seven ways an ideavirus can help you
*How to dramatically increase the chances your ideavirus will spread
*The importance of sneezers
*The thirteen questions ideavirus marketers want answered
*Five ways to unleash and ideavirus


Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work and have been translated into 38 languages - among them Unleashing the Ideavirus, Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, Tribes, The Dip, Linchpin, Poke the Box, and All Marketers Are Liars. He writes the most popular marketing blog in the world and speaks to audiences around the world. He is the founder of the altMBA, the founder and former CEO of, the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, and the founder of the pioneering online startup Yoyodyne. You can learn much more about him at


"Take Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach and Mark Twain. Combine their brains and shave their heads. What's left? Seth Godin." -- Jay Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing

The Internet industry has been enamored of buzz-based marketing ever since venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson coined the phrase "viral marketing" in 1997 to describe Hotmail's strategy of tagging every e-mail message with a promotion for its service. The self-replicating promotion helped the company achieve an epidemic growth rate of zero to 12 million users in a mere 18 months. Since then, viral marketing has propelled everything from Napster to The Blair Witch Project to legendary success.

Even with all the buzz about buzz, though, many Internet companies still pour the bulk of their marketing budgets into ill-conceived TV advertising (who could forget January's orgy of dot-com expenditures on Super Bowl ads?) and other ineffective channels, like banner ads. Depending on whose numbers you use, last year online and offline companies spent $3.5 billion to $4.6 billion on Net ads. Yet, according to Nielsen NetRatings, average click-through rates for banner ads have fallen to a pitiful half a percent.

There has to be a better way. With investors increasingly focusing on profits, the time is right to do more than just talk about viral marketing. And here to lead the rally are two new primers on the subject - Seth Godin's flashy Unleashing the Ideavirus and Emanuel Rosen's more pedantic but meatier The Anatomy of Buzz.

Both agree on the basic tenets. Instead of blindly (and expensively) advertising to mass audiences, companies should focus on creating buzz among key potential customers - early adopters - and let them market to everybody else.

Godin, who fills his book with infectious analogies, calls these folks "sneezers," whereas Rosen dubs them "network hubs." They could be celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, influential members of a particular industry or ordinary people involved in their neighborhoods, schools, church groups or companies who consciously and consistently spread the word about new things they encounter.