Normally when I get woken up by my 5 year old son Zack at some atrocious time in the morning, his needs are very simple! "Can I play with your phone daddy?” he asks, to which I reply “Yes, now shhh son, Daddy’s sleeping".
Yesterday, his hour of alertness was earlier than normal at 04:30, so he got hold of my iPhone 4 and started to play, after, of course, ensuring the volume was turned all the way down. Ok, so now wind forward a few hours and Zack goes off to a party and I settle down to look at my emails and read through a few articles I’ve been meaning to catch up on. As my PC whirls up I remember thinking that perhaps I should have done this on the iPad as it starts so much quicker, but take a sip of my coffee and decide that it is Sunday and there is no need to rush.
So Outlook opens and I have 54 unread messages. This is unheard of, I mean I cleared my inbox on Saturday night so I must be being spammed. Damn that spam filter we purchased, what a load of shhhh…… Then I realise, that these are actual contacts emailing me, all with a very similar subject.
Re: Hey! I need a wingman.
I of course get an instant flashback to 1986 to Goose and Maverick dog fighting, but that’s a whole other story.
It turns out that Zack was playing with some jetfighter game and he must have been prompted to invite others to play. Not knowing what he was doing, my little angel selected “Yes to All” and off went a few hundred emails.
So now I have to send an apology email to my whole contact list explaining why they received the email. Needless to say, I was not happy.
As it turns out, the email was affective in making contact with people that don’t normally respond to our marketing emails. Yesterday and this morning I have heard from people that I haven’t been in contact with for a very long time, so in actual fact Zack was quite an effective viral marketer.
Viral marketing is not about selling a product or service; it’s about engagement and getting people talking. Since these emails went out everyone I have come into contact with today and yesterday afternoon has, in some way, mentioned or alluded to a “wing man”. So if you are thinking of a good viral campaign, don’t think product, think more about capturing peoples imagination or simply giving them something to smile about.