Many marketing plans these days are based on the possibility of going viral on the internet. Many business coaches are pushing this theory because the internet is cheap and sometimes free to use. It seems logical because as a startup you are probably broke. This strategy can really resonate with you. But it won't work as your only strategy. It is am inevitable race to the bottom. Videos, commercials, tweets, and Facebook stunts are all designed with the hope of something catching on. In reality, the payoffs are minimal.
Something that is a hit and shared online may have an initial pop of activity, but the odds of you being the thing that catches on is small (minuscule, tiny, unlikely). And even if you do hit with a viral post, the longevity will be short lived. Many companies will experience initial success and ultimately failure all within the fist few months of launching if they fail to keep the hits coming.
This isn't a new issue, just a modern incarnation of an old problem. How many bands have had one hit, or an actor with one good movie, or an artist with one successful painting, It turns out you need to be a great writer to maintain a band album over album, one great song is luck not skill.
Unless you put in place. plan for long term success and a process to improve yourself you will mistakenly think you are on a path to success only to crash and burn before you know it.
A real marketing plan may include a social and shareable strategy, but the plan needs to also include more. What is the plan. for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. What does your team need to look like. What is the point, what story are you trying to tell? You have to tell your story. Don't focus on being apart of the noise. The internet is loud and busy, you can't stay relevant for long.
Let's look at an insurance company. Progressive has a strategy to create funny commercials, Simultaneously, they create ads letting us know about products they offer we may not know about (motorcycle insurance, boat insurance, etc.). While simultaneously having a third strategy of another series of commercials touting discounts with their signature actress Flo. No single strategy will appeal to everyone so they flood the market with options. Each part of their strategy appeals to a different demographic. They are trying to cover all bases. You can tell they work hard at their marketing strategy.
You most likely do not have the marketing budget they do. So you need a new plan. When we launched this company we went about it with an aggressive marketing campaign. We worked hard on the website to get organically noticed by search engines, we engaged in PPC advertising to capture people searching for our competition, we had a direct mail campaign, and we networked and hosted events to draw attention to our new business. We never relied on any one method and as a result we got clients from all of our efforts.
Take a look at your strategy and ask yourself if it is sustainable and repeatable. Does it target several different groups and are you reaching all possible prospects. Regardless of your industry, there are ways to out market the competition.