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Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.
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Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  5,131 ratings  ·  95 reviews
The book that sparked a marketing revolution.

"This is a subversive book. It says that the marketer is not--and ought not to be--at the center of successful marketing. The customer should be. Are you ready for that?" --From the Foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.

Counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure, and manipulate the
Paperback, 234 pages
Published October 10th 2001 by Hachette Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  5,131 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Start your review of Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.
Sue Cartwright
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
‘The primary goal of a product or service is not just to satisfy the needs of one user. It has to deliver so much wow, be so cool, so neat and so productive, that the user tells five of their friends.’

They key message when it comes to building a virus-worthy cool product or service, identifying a ‘hive’ and promoting an idea, is the importance of WORDS. Words matter because they are how you start an ideavirus. You have to make it easy for people to ‘get it’ with one glimpse of your website or
Chad Warner
There's good advice on marketing, especially online marketing, but the approach is most relevant to products and services that are related to communications (such as online communications tools), or are very public. I struggle to think of ways to apply this to marketing the services of my web agency, OptimWise. Other small businesses will likely have the same challenge applying the lessons.

Godin explains how to go beyond word of mouth to spreading an "ideavirus": a big idea that runs amok across
Shog Al Maskery
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Its sweet and to the point. Very outdated for anyone reading it in the last 10 years but still as affective and important.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Treat a product or service like a human or computer virus, contends online promotion specialist Seth Godin, and it just might become one. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Godin describes ways to set any viable commercial concept loose among those who are most likely to catch it--and then stand aside as these recipients become infected and pass it on to others who might do the same. "The future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each ...more
John Montgomery
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Seth Godin explores how to turn a good business idea into an infectious "ideavirus" that spreads like wildfire. Early adopters, customers and key influencers, called "sneezers", will spread an ideavirus far more effectively than traditional, interruption-based marketing methods. The trick is to invent a virus-worthy idea, make it smooth and persistent, give powerful sneezers incentive to spread it, and get permission to follow up with its recipients. The key is to carefully identify and choose ...more
Dane Cobain
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed by this one. I’ve been a pretty big Seth Godin fan for a while now, but this particular book feels a lot more dated than others, thanks partly due to its references to Napster, AOL and Yahoo! being revolutionary. Still, at least it does show that Godin was ahead of the times and on trend even way back when, and some of the ideas here are still applicable in terms of working with “sneezers” – which we now call “influencers“.

I can’t give this one anything lower than a
Richard Newton
Reading this book has reminded me of a couple of things. Generally, I read business books because they are professionally useful rather than literary masterpieces - and I grade them according to this expectation. Secondly, how hard in this era of turbulent change it is to write a book with lasting appeal.

I probably am reading this book too late as it was originally published in 2001 and it's now 2017. It is full of interesting useful advice, but it feels so dated - examples like how brilliant
Zohar -
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
All of those who read this book in order to find a formula or even a guideline are in for a disappointment. This is not a textbook, this is a book written to give one an idea. The book does not teach you how, or why, it opens up a whole new way of thinking and gives the reader new directions to embrace change, and follow new ideas in order to take the business in a new direction.
This book has given me many things to think about, I view the marketing department in a whole new way, and as someone
Oliver Gassner
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring must-read If yo are in communication.
Vanessa Princessa
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is 20 years old at the point of me reading it... WOW

The key message in these blinks:

To succeed in the modern economy, you have to create and spread compelling ideas, not just physical products and services. The most effective way to spread them is to turn them into ideaviruses. These allow you to bypass traditional advertising, which is no longer an effective approach to marketing. To unleash an ideavirus, you have to select the right hive, find the right sneezers, and make sure the
Vinayak Hegde
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that have to be read at a point in time. Just like the author proposes, the ideas and the techniques (or the ideavirus as the author calls it - ideavirus is known as memes to laypeople) in the book are a little past their prime. They might have been more relevant when the book was published. Also the effect of the book was less pronounced on me due to some of the ideas in the book have been covered before in Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point (more genrically) or ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book on viral marketing. Many of the reviews I’m reading are yammering on about how it’s outdated. Of course it’s outdated, it was published 18 years ago. Nothing stays completely relevant for that long but the message still rings true. I wonder what happened to some of the fallen companies that were mention in this book. Maybe they would still be relevant if they adapted to the ever-changing world of marketing. After being prompted by my curiosity, I did read Vindigo was shut down in 2008 ...more
Isaac Serafino
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
He shared some interesting ideas. It seems he was one of the pioneers of "viral marketing" before social networks.

It was difficult to get past his rants about many ventures he used as examples and predicted would be amazingly successful, which have since amazingly failed. He also predicted what he called "interruption marketing" (traditional advertising including TV ads) would die--and that hasn't quite seemed to be happening, at least not yet.

I was inspired to: make it smooth for customers to
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an old book, its talking about companies that no longer are and still remain. You know this is a testament to how effective the pointers in this book have been. I took my notes and now it can be retired. Its amazing that long before Memes were even in the public conscious, this author spoke of them, I wonder if even he knew how big this concept was going to become. Either way, good pointers and an admission that the creation of an ideavirus is both an art and a science. This book ...more
Melissa Mae
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this in 2019 was more about gaining perspective than learning anything. If anything, Godin proves himself to be prophetic in seeing how viral marketing will (and has) evolved over the 18 years since this book was published.

My main takeaway is that idea viruses thrive in a vacuum, but that vacuum is always to a niche group of consumers who really do have a need for your idea, and the first one to get there will dominate.
Synthia Salomon
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
“To succeed in the modern economy, you have to create and spread compelling ideas, not just physical products and services. The most effective way to spread them is to turn them into ideaviruses. These allow you to bypass traditional advertising, which is no longer an effective approach to marketing. To unleash an ideavirus, you have to select the right hive, find the right sneezers, and make sure the idea of your product or service can be as smoothly transmitted as possible.”
Omar M. Khateeb
How do you get something to go viral? The answer lies in how viruses function in nature. They need a host that can serve to replicate the virus and spread it to another host through physical contact or transference by a cough or sneeze. In marketing, the hosts are people (your customers) and the way they spread is through the medium you choose (social media, word-of-mouth, etc).
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Using the power of internet to learn the art and science of "Going Viral" too bad for me I've seen documentary on netflix "explained" recently about how these going viral when used by malicious parties create an "epidemic" in true sense.
Iago Seleme
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good explanation of the new trend in marketing, still very relevant even though published a while ago. Nice examples of how to achieve growth through word of mouth and technology enhanced word of mouth, i. e. word of mouse.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Clear, simple, well-expounded ideas as always from Godin.
Kathleen Messmer
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great marketing book. Really enlightens us about how marketing should be done in the current environment. Read it.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, marketing
Though a bit old still a very good and relevant read. It's about social or digital augmented word of mouth. Recommendable for anyone entrepreneur.
Josh K
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His terminology is little odd, sneezers and such. But otherwise some real good thoughts in this book!
Andrea Kilin
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Still relevant after 20 years.
Giedrius Švetkauskas
I recommend it to read for everybody who want's to unleash his / hers ideavirus :)
May 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, i-own
This book dates from 2001 and he is still right about most of what he talks about. The only thing is: Palm Pilots are gone and Tommy Hilfiger is irrelevant, and mp3’s are now ubiquitous, but that’s the nature of the idea virus.
Ideas, products and rumours spread super fast through the Internet these days. Godin calls it an ‘idea virus’. Look how fast the whole world was arguing about what color a dress was? I saw people comment that they could hear their neighbors arguing about it. Some people
Joshua Pitzalis
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
This book looks at how you can craft your ideas so that they are more spreadable. We now live in a world where consumers actively resist marketing. Rather than marketing at people it is now more effective to help people market ideas to each other. Instead of talking to customers directly we now have to help customers talk to each other.

Nobody is going to spread your idea as a favor. To make an idea spread worthy you have to make it interesting enough to be talked about. People only spread ideas
Kat Kiddles
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it
One of the strategies that Godin believes will create and support an ideavirus is persistence. At one point, he instructs the reader to ‘[m]ake as many supporting manifestos available as possible, in whatever forms necessary, to turn consumers from skeptics into converts.’ (p.63)

I think that strategy might have backfired on him with this reader (that would be me). I read his manifesto in Fast Company before starting the book, and I think it ruined the book for me. Spoiler alert: the manifesto is
Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
original review:

I don't remember why I picked this up, but I'm glad I did. Godin is a marketer (with a good blog) who believes that marketing via interruptions (read: TV commercials) is far less effective than marketing through contagious ideas.

He calls these ideas "ideaviruses", and writes that the best way to spread them is to find the group of people that want to be marketed to, identify the most influential people in that group, and to incent and make
CV Rick
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
While this book is somewhat dated, it does offer a new way of looking at how to promote yourself and your business. It would be wrong to expect a marketing class or some sort of step-by-step guideline but I did learn how to read think the concept of ideas. Seth Godin is brilliant at generating excitement that surrounds new ideas.

What use an idea? An idea is something that will generate followers. Followers can be customers, viewers, readers, or even employees. And ideas have shelflife. You can't
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Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and he is also a renowned speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the
“One of the talents of the [late] great Steve Jobs is that he [knew] how to design Medusa-like products. While every Macintosh model has had flaws (some more than others), most of them have has a sexiness and a design sensibility that has turned many consumers into instant converts. Macintosh owners upgrade far more often than most computer users for precisely this reason.” (p.98)” 7 likes
“It’s foolish to expect that one exposure to your message will instantly convert someone from stranger to raving ideavirus-spreading fan. So plan on a process. Plan on a method that takes people from where they are to where you want them to go.” 2 likes
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