The real meaning of viral marketing

11/26/2012 | Christian Science Monitor, The

While the concept of "viral" buzz conjures up images of social media and high-tech marketing platforms, it's worth pausing to reflect on the term's biological roots, says Paul McFedries of Wordspy.com. "[A] biological virus replicates itself by invading a host cell and then using the cell's machinery to create new copies of the virus," McFedries explains. "So, analogously, a customer acts like a kind of 'host cell' for a company's marketing message, and that customer is used to create new 'copies' of the viral marketing message."

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