Staring at the computer screen for too long?
“You will go blind!”
“You back will ache!”
“You can get carpel tunnel syndrome!” (whatever that is)
And you have a gajillion dollar industry of :ergonomic” office chairs, keyboards, accessories, pillows, screens, academics…
Fear is a great motivator to buy something. Call it the health industry if you want, I have no preference. But I do have 1 question for you.
Will more & more people be required to use computers in the near future? For longer hours… for work, study, and looking like you’re working or studying?
Yes! Trust me, I predict the future accurately half the time.
And based on this obvious, exploding trend in more people having to spend more time on the computer… let’s pretend for a second, I am an unethical marketer, who is so EVIL and smelly.
This might be a difficult exercise, but just pretend, ok… And I will share with you how easily, viral marketing concepts can be applied to very quickly, rip-off a whole generation of computer users.
STEP 1 – Planning the viral message
I want a message that will spread itself. And the message has to induce purchase. I choose… “Long hours on a computer cause you to develop deformities”
And for this message to spread, the packaging must be
1. an image of something disastrous, undesirable, and horrific
2. easy enough for anyone to imagine it happening to anyone at all, especially themselves
3. in a form which is easy to re-tell (even exaggerate) and spread
4. induce a specific call-to-action – to tell others!
Read more on “What makes an Idea Viral” by Seth Godin
STEP 2 – Backing up the viral message
I will need Scientific research to correlate various types of bodily deformities to staring at computer screens. How? I look for wannabe scientists and universities, and offer profit sharing from sales of my line of posture-care products.
STEP 3 – Spreading the message
My chosen packaging comes in the form of the story of one woman… Let’s call her Julia.
To begin the spreading, I will send the following email to a few friends who recently forwarded me some expired petition, lame parable, or unfunny joke…
Note: I used 2 brand names in the email. This is because I don’t want to seem like I’m promoting one brand. But of course, I own both brands.
And the email leads them to learn that my brands are the only brands that work, and every other brand will mess you up.
Note also: I mentioned Julia works in Silicon Valley as a web developer. This is intentional, as geeks are good information disseminators, and very likely to relate to the message.
I can also email a version that appeals to parents, too. Using words like “Young people” and “In this day and age”. Parents are great customers when it comes to stuff for their beloved children.
There is a lot of ways to play this, when you nail the right message.
STEP 3 – The business model
How does the email convert to purchases?
When you have people worried, and looking for your products, this isn’t too difficult. Here is one (very simplified) approach…
People search for Julia’s story, the research, or the products. I must lead them to my website. SEO, Google Adwords, and YouTube videos of “The Research” will be my weapons of choice.
When they arrive at my website, the order-taking will be straightforward. A professional looking website targeted to CORPORATE CUSTOMERS who will buy in bulk. You can request for a sales call or brochures etc for your office. Household customers can buy them off resellers.
Supply-side, I’ll repackage someone else’s products with my new brand (and give them a generous cut of the pie).
When I feel like it, I sell the business to OSIM or OGAWA who are spending millions on old-school advertisements and roadshows (but are ethical enough not to send fabricated stories over email).
STEP 4 – Do the villain laugh
Muahahaahr. Seriously now.
Nobody should ever fabricate stuff to make people part with money.
Yet politicians, villains and marketers throughout history have used people’s fears and hopes and emotional hot buttons, spreading messages to play up panic and such… to make them cast votes, buy junk, and install child safety car seats.
But it’s not all that bad.
Like any powerful tool, it can be used for good, too. If you were in charge of spreading some good values, you may use the very same consistencies found in viral messages (how they are packaged to replicate themselves and initiate some action). Heck, you can even coin it “religion”
And you can read about that plan, here =P