Had conversations over the last 48 hours with not one but three companies that are triumphant victors in viral marketing. All three have lots of success and credibility and leverage in marketing themselves person to person.
and all three want to grow
and all three are very close to spending big bucks on ads and salesforces to force the growth to happen faster.
As soon as they start using the tactics of the other guys, playing the game they play, they become them. As soon as they decide that they can buy (not earn) attention, it all changes.
It's so easy to respond to growth pressure by pulling that trigger. Tempting, but not worth it.