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Ideavirus Web Site

Unleashing the Ideavirus
Seth Godin with Forward by Malcolm Gladwell

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Format: Paperback, 234pp.
ISBN: 9780786887170
Publisher: Do You Zoom, Inc.
Pub. Date: October 2001

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

If you don’t have time to read the whole book, here’s what it says: Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.

If you’re looking for mindblowing new ideas, you won’t find them in this, or any other marketing book. Guerrilla marketing, 1:1 marketing, permission marketing—these ideas are not really new, but they are thoughtful constructs that let you figure out how to do marketing better. The fact is, if we built factories as badly as we create advertising campaigns, the country would be in a shambles. This book will help you better understand the time-honored marketing tradition of the ideavirus, and help you launch your own. (From the Introduction)

The author of the New York Times besteller Permission Marketing (and the man Businessweek called "the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age) knocks down the last barriers between market and customer in Unleashing the Ideavirus.

Unleashing the Ideavirus is a manifesto that shows that ideas, just like viruses, can become contagious. And, counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure and manipulate the spread of information, this book suggests that the information can spread most effectively from customer to customer, rather than from business to customer. This principal—which Godin calls the ideavirus—is a call to arms to marketers. In creating an ideavirus, marketers produce an environment where an idea can replicate and spread. And then it's the virus that does the work, not the marketer.

We're all in the idea business, says Godin, and in the new economy, the ideas that spread fastest win. Unleashing the Ideavirus makes a case for this nearly friction-free marketing scenario, offers a "recipe" for creating your own ideavirus, identifies the necessary players for a successful ideavirus (the sneezers, the hive, the vector, and more), and shows how any business—large or small—can use ideavirus marketing to succeed.

Stop marketing at people! Turn your ideas into epidemics by helping your customers do the marketing for you.


"Take Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach and Mark Twain. Combine their brains and shave their heads. What's left? Seth Godin."

—Jay Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing


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Reader's Index 
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About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of numerous books, including the national bestseller Permission Marketing. He was the founder of Yoyodyne, the first direct marketer on the Internet, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. Godin served as Vice President of direct Marketing for Yahoo! until early 2000, when he left to devote time to writing and speaking.

Table of Contents

SECTION 1: Why Ideas Matter11
Farms, Factories And Idea Merchants12
Why Are Ideaviruses So Important?21
And Five Things Ideaviruses Have In Common22
Seven Ways An Ideavirus Can Help You 23
The Sad Decline of Interruption Marketing24
We Live In A Winner-Take-Almost-All World25
The Traffic Imperative: Why Sites Fail28
We Used To Make Food. We Used To Make Stuff. Now We Make Ideas30
People Are More Connected Than They Ever Were Before. We Have Dramatically More Friends Of Friends And We Can Connect With Them Faster And More Frequently Than Ever31
There's A Tremendous Hunger To Understand The New And To Remain On The Cutting Edge34
While Early Adopters (The Nerds Who Always Want To Know About The Cool New Thing In Their Field) Have Always Existed, Now We've Got More Nerds Than Ever Before. If You're Reading This, You're A Nerd!35
Ideas Are More Than Just Essays And Books. Everything From New Technology To New Ways Of Creating To New Products Are Winning Because Of Intelligent Ideavirus Management By Their Creators36
The End Of The Zero Sum Game37
SECTION 2: How To Unleash An Ideavirus39
While It May Appear Accidental, It's Possible To Dramatically Increase The Chances Your Ideavirus Will Catch On And Spread40
The Heart Of The Ideavirus: Sneezers41
Sneezers Are So Important, We Need To Subdivide Them42
The Art Of The Promiscuous47
It's More Than Just Word Of Mouth51
An Ideavirus Adores A Vacuum52
Once It Does Spread, An Ideavirus Follows A Lifecycle. Ignore The Lifecycle And The Ideavirus Dies Out. Feed It Properly And You Can Ride It For A Long Time54
Viral Marketing Is An Ideavirus, But Not All Ideaviruses Are Viral Marketing 55
What Does It Take To Build And Spread An Ideavirus?57
There Are Three Key Levers That Determine How Your Ideavirus Will Spread: 60
Ten Questions Ideavirus Marketers Want Answered 64
Five Ways To Unleash An Ideavirus65
SECTION THREE: The Ideavirus Formula78
Managing Digitally-Augmented Word Of Mouth79
Tweak The Formula And Make It Work80
Advanced Riffs On The Eight Variables You Can Tweak In Building Your Virus85
SMOOTHNESS: It Would All Be Easy If We Had Gorgons98
SECTION 4: Case Studies and Riffs104
The Vindigo Case Study105
Saving The World With An Ideavirus107
Moving Private To Public111
You're In The Fashion Business!113
The Money Paradox117
Think Like A Music Executive (Sometimes)119
Is That Your Final Answer?121
A Dozen ideaviruses Worth Thinking About123
Why I Love Bestseller Lists124
How A Parody Of Star Wars Outsold Star Wars127
Judging a book by its cover131
Being The Most133
In Defense Of World Domination135
If You're A Member Of The Academy, You Go To Movies For Free137
How An Ideavirus Can Drive The Stock Market139
Bumper Sticker Marketing142
No, You Go First!143
Digital Media Wants to Be Free145
Van Gogh Lost His Ear To Prove A Point148
Answering Ina's Question150
Crossing The Chasm With An Ideavirus152
The Myth Of The Tipping Point156
The Compounding Effect158
Bill Gates' Biggest Nightmare160
Hey, Skinny!164
Get Big Fast? The Mistake So Many Companies Make165
The Heart Of Viral Marketing168
The Great Advertising Paradox171
Permission: The Missing Ingredient174
How A Virus And Permission Team Up To Find Aliens176
The Art of Creating an Ideavirus177
Is He Really More Evil Than Satan Himself?178
Case Study: Why Digimarc Is Going To Fail179
Why Are These Cows Laughing?181
Never Drink Alone183
The Power Of Parody185
Bee Stings And The Measles186
But Isn't It Obvious?187
Your Company's Worst Enemy189
Step By Step, Ideavirus Tactics:192
The Future Of The Ideavirus: What Happens When Everyone Does It?194

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