The benefits of viral marketing and its success stories are shouted from the hills as examples that new ventures should emulate. What’s left out from these success stories is an understanding of what is working and what isn’t working. If short-term, unexplained success isn’t replicable, it may not be worth it. In a situation whereby your venture is gaining traction and it looks as if the idea may spread in a viral manner, ask yourself, “how did we do this?” If a venture is seeking new customers and signs up 100 customers overnight, understand why those customers sought your service. This understanding can be more important that the success itself. If you were simply the lucky recipient of a trend sweeping the industry, your short-term success can fade as quickly as it was created.
Going viral isn’t always good. What’s important for new ventures is sustainable, replicable success. If you are controlling your success (such as new customer acquisition) that is a great sign to position you for future growth. If your success is based upon unforeseen, and unknown, factors, your future is out of your control.