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Unleashing the Ideavirus

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Unleashing the Ideavirus

Stop Marketing AT People! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing for you.


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

If you can get your idea to spread like a virus, when everybody else gets “sick” from it, you can do very, very well.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin says your idea is contagious, like the flu. But hold on - he’s not being insulting. If you think of your idea as a virus, says he, you can "infect" the marketplace by motivating customers to talk about your product. He stretches this metaphor to explain how to captivate powerful "sneezers" so they will spread the word. Not a pretty picture, if you are a literal type of person, but you get the concept. For the right product or service, this is an alternative to advertising (or, as Godin calls it, "interruption marketing"). Though he builds on multi-level marketing concepts, Godin distances himself from their negative image. He writes in a breezy, easy style, with examples, charts and illustrations. If you want to spread the word about this book, suggests that you just cough politely on someone in marketing, advertising or sales.


The Power of Ideas Today

The old style of marketing, based on advertising by interrupting people with unwanted marketing messages, has become ineffective and costly. The marketing of the future will be based on getting consumers excited enough about your idea to market it to each other by talking about it within their own consumer networks.

Ideas are the way to riches in today’s fast moving economy. In the first century of U.S. history, entrepreneurs raced to build the most efficient farm; in the second century, the focus was on building factories. The third century is about building and spreading ideas. The ultimate form of success is "unleashing an ideavirus" - an idea that spreads like an epidemic and, as a result, brings you great power and wealth. Just having an idea isn’t enough. Success comes from taking an idea that has the ability to replicate easily and spreading it, since ideas become increasingly powerful and valuable as they are spread to more and more people.

You might think of your idea as a manifesto you express through a medium, such as a picture, phrase, article or movie. This medium affects how well your ideavirus spreads. By using your manifesto...

About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of many marketing books, including the national bestseller, Permission Marketing. He founded Yoyodyne - the first direct marketer on the Internet - which Yahoo! acquired in 1998. He served as the Vice President of Direct Marketing for Yahoo! until 2000, when he left to devote his time to writing and speaking.

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    J. S. 1 decade ago
    This was recommended to me by getAbstract as I was looking for the Tipping Point mentioned in the Blue Ocean Strategy abstract. The tipping point has greater application for customers and colleagues. This abstract is more targetted at the consumer and prompting and multiplying customer behaviour. A good read if you want to look at marketing to your customers.