Ideas spread through our culture in a similar manner as infectious diseases do.
There are two components that make a disease spread rapidly.
- How strong the disease is in contracting each individual
- How easily it is transferred from person to person.
Measles for example is strong and because the transmission is airborne it’s very contagious.
In the world of marketing this can be interpreted as making sure your idea is remarkable and easy to spread.
But there’s more.
The natural defence to anyone avoiding disease in a population (or avoiding your idea) is for them to either increase their fitness or remove themselves from contact with others.
The same way that if you know people at work are sick, the best thing to do would be to increase your fitness by eating healthy and avoiding stress to allow your immune system to stay strong. Or you could avoid going to work until it passes through enough people eliminating the disease – this is the concept of herd immunity.
Well let’s reverse it, and what if you wanted to infect people with a marketing idea?
Then the best place to infect would be a large crowd of people with low fitness (who are prone to catch the disease).
Like a forum, a Facebook page or anywhere your people would likely be infected with your idea.
But again there’s more.
Why do some diseases infect a whole population while others die off by people’s immune systems. Once the disease reaches a certain threshold, called the herd immunity threshold, the disease can’t be stopped.
What this means is that if your idea doesn’t reach enough people initially regardless of how great and easy it is to spread it will fizzle out. Your idea must reach the crowded spots.
Of course this gives a huge advantage to those that have a following or that have a reputation that allows them to get on podcasts and youtube shows to quickly spread their ideas though different channels quickly. But it can also be done by building authority in the crowds that love your ideas and delivering it to them.
So to recap:
- Make your idea remarkable.
- Make sure it’s easy to spread.
- Give it to a crowd of people who are prone to keep spreading it.
Also published on Medium.