A meme (pronounced meem) is a packet of social information. Marketing memes are word associations, beyond a tag line or slogan, that take complex concepts or ideas and make them simple and easy to communicate.
A meme is defined in Wikipedia as “a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.”
Effective memes are potent messaging serums, dripped out over time that enter into our brains and stick. Think of your marketing meme as your viral message. Who you represent, what you do and what you offer, tightly packaged into one memorable soundbite.
Memes are easy to replicate. Good memes always communicate value and benefit. It is the message you want propagated all over the world about you and your business.
I first learned about crafting memes from a Fortune 500 marketing expert who spent his time coaching several solopreneurs on how to market their own businesses. To some, it may seem odd that an experienced marketing executive would spend weeks learning how to market themselves. Admittedly, I was resistant at first. After all, I have been responsible for marketing multiple million dollar business for years.
Attitude and all, I threw myself into doing something I was avoiding — marketing me! It is hard to market yourself, let alone dedicate the time required to build your own marketing communications plan. Truthfully, I needed the discipline and focus to develop my own meme. In the end, besides a business card, it was the best marketing investment I made in starting my own business.
An effective marketing meme is a single powerful statement that communicates the benefits of your products and services. Here are some simple steps to help you craft an effective marketing meme:
1. In one sentence, write down what you do for your customers.
2. Next sentence describe the value you provide to your customers.
3. Outline the problems you solve in the last sentence.
4. Now start cutting! Combine the three sentences into one very simple, benefit-oriented sentence. Answer who, what and why it matters in a single sentence.
5. Test your meme with the following questions: Can you repeat that sentence over and over again? It is easy to remember? Will your meme invite people to want to know more?
Memes are clear value propositions that roll off the tip of your tongue at every introduction. An effective meme is not a slogan or headline. It is not an elevator pitch. You rarely get 30 to 60 seconds to cite a rehearsed sales pitch. It needs to be tight, concise and memorable.
Memes create lasting impressions. They are the words people will carry with them and tell others about you and your business. Marketers often suggest that it takes seven times before a message really sticks. It’s called the Rule of Seven. Will your meme be repeated by every person you tell seven times or more? If so, then you have truly created an effective, viral marketing meme!
Invest time in creating your meme and start sharing it with world. Repeat it often, in presentations, in meetings, on the web. Make sure your meme is a simple message that leaves us wanting more.
Special Note: This post is dedicated to my friend and marketing mentor John Coyne. He patiently worked with me to create my Artful Thinkers meme. His influence and teachings are still making an impact. He will always have a lasting impression. RIP my friend.