Technology and social media have been the driving force behind countless new products, services, and trends over several decades. As a result, marketers have embraced viral marketing—a sales technique that relies on organic or word-of-mouth information to spread at a ‘viral’ rate. Posts, memes, shares, likes, and forwards are all examples of viral marketing. But other than circumstance, how does a fresh trend start and grow? Viral marketing maven Rick Schirmer and his super model-to-mogul wife, Rachel McCord, would be the ones to ask.
Before viral marketing campaigns were a thing back in the early 2000s, Schirmer left a Disney position to pursue his idea, not yet named viral marketing. Since that time, viral marketing has exploded in popularity, allowing Schirmer and McCord to develop popular marketing campaigns for countless brands that are now everyday, household names.
Rick has since gone on to lead dozens of other successful viral launches, including “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Purge,” “Harry Potter,” “The Hobbit,” Indie film project, “I Can Only Imagine,” Chick-fil-A’s Kids & Family program, and so many others. He’s also launched viral campaigns for brands like Proctor & Gamble, Walmart, and Whole Foods. And now that the pandemic has created some unusual circumstances, Schirmer has the perfect pivot strategy. “Instead of being a luxury component of the marketing conversation, we are now seeing viral marketing leading the campaigns. Brands feel an urgency to reach consumers who are spending more time on their screens, looking for content from community leading influencers that they trust.”
Don’t even think that his wife, Rachel McCord, waits in the wings for Schirmer to take all the bows. Named the “Influencer of Influencers” by the Daily Mail, McCord came to this union with a lot to share. Together, McCord and Schirmer launched the McCord List, a female empowerment and influencer e-commerce community established in 2013. Based in Los Angeles, California, the McCord List organization helps influencers and artists collaborate with inspiring brands and non-profits, allowing them to gain exposure and boost their careers.
Getting married and co-founding the ViralBrand agency in 2016 appears to be a brief settling point for the entrepreneurial couple. In this venture, they have launched and managed massive campaigns for megastars like Kylie Jenner and popular products such as Burst Oral Care.
If anyone could claim to be an expert on viral marketing trends, this power couple sits far and above the competition. Recently, when asked about current trends and the lasting effects of viral marketing in the COVID-19 era, the couple agreed that present conditions accelerated several trends in ways that could not have been imagined before 2020. Let’s briefly look at seven of these trends and how they might affect you in the months to come.
Seven Major Marketing Trends for 2021
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion are thankfully here to stay, and every consumer brand in America will be developing strategies to define its values for customers.
- The community will begin to see the rapid acceleration of community leader influencer marketing.
- Marketers and the brands they serve will use much more organic user-generated content in place of traditional ads.
- Viral marketing in this age will bring humanization of social issues that empower brands to share values without drifting into political camps and causes.
- The world will experience continued exponential growth of live video across all major social platforms.
- Market heavies such as Amazon will produce more live video campaigns, making this practice the go-to.
- Voice search will become a rapidly growing frontier for consumer brands, with more than 50 percent of post-millennials utilizing voice search daily.
McCord wraps-up the list with a valuable tip: “Brands have to find ways to leave the sidelines with pop-up, banner ads, and PPC becoming ancillary strategies. The market leaders know that they have to actually become an organic part of the consumer conversation now.”
There you have it, some of the best foresight available regarding the future of viral marketing from the dynamic duo responsible for its rise to fame. If one thing is certain in these uncertain times, the technology we use to inform ourselves and interact with our communities will continue to evolve, and the best marketing campaigns will embrace all the changes to secure a steady rise to the top.