Craig Rosenberg (Funnelholic) on viral B2B marketing campaigns

Craig Rosenberg
Craig Rosenberg

Contributor Ambal Balakrishnan from ClickDocuments recently asked Craig Rosenberg and two other B2B marketers what are the components of a “good” viral B2B Marketing Campaign.

In this blog post we look at the answers of Craig Rosenberg, who – among other things – runs the very well-known and excellent Funnelholic blog.

First things first: what is B2B viral marketing? Craig grabbed this off Wikipedia and found it quite good:

The buzzwords viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.”

Next Craig Rosenberg chose 3 examples of viral marketing to talk about:

1. The video when Snookie gets punched on the reality show, The Jersey Shore
2. The John Chambers Telepresence video on YouTube
3. The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Automation Campaign from

The Snookie gets punched “campaign”

When I give examples of viral marketing today, I typically bring up what I call the “Snookie gets punched” viral effect.  First some background for those of you who would not stoop so low as to know who Snookie or what the Jersey Shore reality television show is.  Basically, one of the women whose name was Snookie (yes, Snookie) on a fledgling MTV reality show got punched in the face by a man. The video leaked onto the internet and was shared relentlessly amongst the under 35 year-old crowd.  Why do I bring this up?

Because unfortunately for humanity this is an incredible example of an effective viral campaign. (Just realize I think the idea of someone taking advantage of violence to women is repulsive) The show’s ratings were meager until the video leaked…once the video leaked, the show, simply put, “took off” and is now getting geared up for its second season. I had at least 10 people instant message or email me a link to the “punch” and I saw it all over Facebook updates.  This was not PAID advertising, but was the best advertising this show could ever have. Sad, yes…viral, very much so.  In the consumer space, viral is achievable by being as provocative as you possibly can be.

While this is a perfect example of a highly effective viral campaign, it is not something B2B marketers can necessarily replicate.

The John Chambers Telepresence Video:

In 2007, Cisco’s CEO unleashed telepresence (essentially video conferencing) on the world in a video that I and millions of others saw on YouTube.

I can’t find the original, but you can see what the actual video was below.  Net-net, Chambers introduced telepresence by having one of his executives “on stage” in hologram form across the globe.

This is a perfect example of a B2B viral campaign, which, by the way, was viral before Twitter had really reached the heights it has achieved now.  It had sizzle and was provocative but in a professional, B2B setting.  While it was about technology, it wasn’t a boring bytes and bites presentation. Instead, it was something my mom could watch and get really excited about the future.  But bottom line, people shared it and watched – VIRAL.

The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Automation Campaign from

This was a campaign my company ran which was extremely successful. I wanted to include it since it’s a more realistic viral campaign economically, and resource-wise.  Look, you can’t film a woman getting punched and you may not be able to do a slick video presentation with a hologram.

As a matter of fact, if you can’t do video right, don’t do it.  So, what can the average marketer do? The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Automation Campaign is a perfect example.

Anyone can do it.  We basically collected a large number of Salesforce automation links and put it into a blog post…it got shared for months and we still see it getting link backs today. Keep in mind; the typical blog post title of “the 3 most important…” or “10 tips…” is not what we are talking about here. While those types of blog posts are perfect for day-to-day blogging, they aren’t the kind of content that goes viral. You have to go big to catch people’s eyes, for example: 100+ links.

Also, by using lots of links, we were guaranteed to get 100+ people to share the article.

Keep in mind, the article was “in front of the gate”, i.e., there was no registration page associated with it which is another key to “going viral”.

Ambal Balakrishnan is the co-founder of US-based ClickDocuments. Ambal’s book “Content Marketing Tweet: 140 Bite-sized Ideas to Create
and Market Compelling Content” will be published in Spring 2010. Ambal is specialized in content marketing, social media marketing,
B2B marketing and much more. You can connect with Ambal on
Twitter here.