Although I quote my friend Seth Godin regularly, I rarely repost his thoughts in their entirety. Today I am going to make an exception for a post which is, in every way, exceptional:
Horizontal marketing isn’t a new idea. But it is the new reality for just about every organization. Vertical marketing means the marketer (the one with money) is in charge. Vertical marketing starts at the top and involves running ads, sending out direct mail and pushing hype through the media. Your money, your plans, your control. It might not work, but generally the worst outcome is that you will be ignored and need to spend more money. Horizontal marketing, on the other hand, means creating a remarkable product and story and setting it up to spread from person to person. It’s out of your control, because all the interactions are by passionate outsiders, not paid agents. Most marketers instinctively want control. We reach for the budget and the ad and the press release and most of all, the powerful media middleman. We buy SuperBowl ads or shmooze the reporter. Horizontal marketing, though, requires giving up control. We spend all of our time and money on a great story and a great service and a remarkable offering. The rest is up to the market itself. You can’t control this, and you can no longer ignore it either.
One thing I would add is this:
While you can’t control whether or not a consumer will want to spread the message about your product, you can absolutely build pathways which facilitate that spread.
For example, if you are posting audio…
Are you making it bite-size, or are you making it a three-hour archive extravaganza of a morning show?
Is it properly tagged for search and Google purposes?
Is it represented using multiple media so it can be experienced in the form of the consumer’s choosing?
Is it easily sharable (not just the page but the clip itself)?
What spreads is what’s easy to discover, consume, enjoy, and share.
What spreads is content so good it makes me look good to share it with you (thank you, Seth).