For many years, people in the marketing world have talked about viral marketing, with the advice to “go viral” and get your product or service out there for free. The thought is that you can simply “build it and they will come”, as that famous movie Field of Dreams tried to teach us.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the movie Field of Dreams. I loved the magic of it, the rich imaginative world it creates. I was moved by the examination of the relationships between fathers and sons, between mentors and students. The reexamining of the ethos of the sixties, no matter how romantically they did that. I didn’t even mind the baseball bit too very much. The thing I really appreciate was the message to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy everyone else thinks they are.
However, the whole notion of “Build It and They Will Come”, the final lesson many people take from the movie, has taken a fairly destructive life of its own. Yes, you must build it. Yes, you must believe in it. If the Universe (or your subconscious or “other-than-conscious” mind) tells you something needs doing, by all means, do it and with as much speed as possible. But if you then wait for the Universe to conspire to put the seed of it into the minds of millions who will then somehow show up in your cornfield wanting to pay you a quarter to look at your ball park, you will, in almost every case, be very, very disappointed.
Yes, there are instances of something spontaneously going viral, and yes, if it’s going to happen, why can’t it happen for you. But if you look more deeply, most of those things (unless they are simply a video of a cute kid or a darling kitten or both) have a whole mechanism behind them to propel them into the subconscious collective mind. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to get the word out.
Believe in your thing. Believe in your product or service, your book, your course. Believe it will take on a life of its own. Believe it will grab hold of the imagination of the masses. Then do everything you can to make that happen. Send out press releases. Write articles. Put up a compelling sales page. Send out flyers and hire someone to dance in a bright purple wedding dress in the middle of Time Square if you must, but it is your job to present it so that the collective imagination can see it, or it will never strike their fancy.