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Book Summary: Unleashing the Idea Virus – By Seth Godin

Stop marketing AT people! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing for youIdea Virus

This is a follow up to “Permission Marketing” – in answer to the question “How do we get attention to ask for permission in the first place?” It is another take on what Richard Dawkins defined as Meme’s in his 1976 classic “The Selfish Gene”.

There is excellent information, sildenafil suggestions, and ideas on almost every page of this very readable 225 page book.

According to Seth Godin, The 21st century will be about ideas.  Whether you are marketing a concept, product, or an issue, your ability to create ideas that travel easily, and use the tools that are available to travel is key to success.

Leveraging others to promote your message will be a key strategy in a world where mainstream media is expensive, and when “word of mouth or word of mouse messages are taken more credibly.


Underlying the idea virus world is often self-interest.  People will spread ideas if it puts them on the cutting edge, or profits them some way, including the benefit they get from helping someone else, or just makes them feel smart or show themselves as well informed.

You have to create an idea that one specific target market will get very excited an passionate about – “Target your Hive”. Trying to appeal to everyone will fail.

Idea-viruses have a life cycle: use it to extend the reach, or ignore it at your peril.

IMPORTANT: Idea-viruses abhor a vacuum: if your idea does not attach to something, someone else’s will, AND it will be twice as difficult to replace the ideavirus that has already occupied the place you want to be.

Viral ideas must be Smooth: they spread easily. A few words or a click of the mouse are ideal

Velocity: How fast an idea spreads.  If it is not fast enough, the idea will die.

Sneezers: Those special people who have an extra ability to really spread ideas: Bloggers, talk shoe hosts, people whose opinion is trusted.   Knowing and using sneezers is key to success.  There are powerful sneezers, promiscuous sneezers, and affiliates, who sneeze for money.

As pointed out in the “Tipping Point”, there are “Promiscuous Sneezers” – those who spread a lot of ideas quite readily.  These are important people to target.

True Viral Marketing means the product is the message: Hotmail or a Smart Car.

Fill your web site and marketing materials with tools that make it easy for people to spread your idea.

When it comes to digital content, and a lot of products or ideas, giving it away can help the ideavirus start to spread.

Get Permission to fully leverage your marketing message over time

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