The Viral Effect: Can B2B products go viral?
The Vittel bottled water’s refreshing cap, Apple 6S Iphone launch or Mark Zuckerberg’s tricolored Facebook display pic are all some of the recent issues that went viral. With the advancement in internet and data connectivity, wide coverage and usage in the last 2 years, “Going Viral” is no more a tough achievement. All it takes is a couple of shares, likes, retweets and searches and Voila! Your shared item just went viral.
However, all the examples quoted above are campaigns or events built around a product or a person. Viral quotient of such campaigns is measured by a couple of metrics, but the most important goal that defines the viral success of an activity is if it was able to reach the majority of the masses it was meant for.
Viral quotient of B2B products on the other hand, is defined best by how well it is received in the market, and if it has enough exciting features that people deem fit to like and share it of their own free will.
The B2B products can vary from a hardware component to an office equipment (like a coffee machine) to an IT software, or even a service. It entirely depends on you and your firm’s core values as to what campaign do you want to build around your offering: a product based campaign or a concept based campaign, whichever works best for your industry.
Can B2B go viral?
Let us discuss the counter question instead. Why can’t a B2B product go viral? Let’s take the example of Verisign’s Cart Whisperer campaign that broke the internet some time back. A leading internet infrastructure services provider, launches a campaign revolving around Liberty Fillmore (aka the cart whisperer) and his issue of cart abandonment in the retail segment while he tries to overcome it. Though not much related to the Verisign offering, this video helped tell a story which people were willing to listen and they could relate to, which in turn connected them to the brand directly.
Or take a recent example of Volvo bus that was launched in the year 2014, made a statement with Jean Claude Van Damme performing his epic mid-air split stunt between two moving Volvo buses, that all it takes for a B2B product to go viral is a great idea. It was an immediate success with its target audience since it combined the smooth functionality of the Volvo buses (their core product offering) wrapped within an interesting proof sprinkled with a bit of star attraction as we were left marvelling at the stunt and the idea and effort that went behind making it a reality.
What makes a B2B product go viral?
Features: What makes a product or service so special that it should be noticed, used and appreciated by clients worldwide? The first question that you would encounter between introduction and sale is how does your product/service help me or my organization? Features are the important ingredients of any sales discussion for a B2B transaction. However good your idea, or sales pitch be, if your product isn’t solving a core need or opportunity gap for your clientele, it will not work. Period.
Functionality: To market any product you need substance, and that is fuelled mostly by how the product works or its advantages. Any B2B offering should have the capacity to attract traction and garner self-public interest with what it has to offer or its concept that can rhyme with the target audience’s requirements and their values.
Content: Marketing is the name of the strategic corporate game. But what use is strategy without content? Content is the foundation of any marketing campaign that is targeted at the audience online. It may or may not be related directly to the product but it is the idea behind the content and the way the content is formulated to deliver that idea, which could lead a revolution. From textual to video content, all content requires originality and creativity backed by a strategic goal that would steer your campaign towards your end goals.
Promotion: Next comes the part where you promote this content on various platforms so it can reach the right audience as desired. While selecting your target audience you should keep in mind the various segments you wish to reach:
- Your potential clients who might have a need of your offering
- The segment that would identify with the idea or the concept you are promoting and engage with your campaign to increase its visibility
Idea: It goes without saying that the Idea behind any campaign is the gear that kick starts any campaigns’ viral quotient and seals the fate of your campaign. So while ideating about your campaign, don’t hold back. Have as many brainstorming sessions as required till you find the right fit as one viral campaign is equivalent to 15 average ones. So let your creative juices flowing now and let your campaign loose in the wild social media. Get, set, go viral!