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Sriracha. Know what it is?

Of course you do. But do you know why you know what it is?

Chances are you heard about it from a friend, or had it in a restaurant and loved it. But realize this: you never saw an ad about it. You never turned on your TV and saw a commercial. You never logged onto Facebook and saw a sponsored post. You just heard about it.

So how does a company create an enormously viral product without any marketing?

Simple. It’s an amazing product. And word of mouth is the best earned media you can ever get for yourself.

Today, social media is the plumbing to the word of mouth in our society. If you make a great product and you can get people to taste it, both literally and metaphorically, then there’s a tremendous opportunity for your name to spread on its own. There are tons of brands, not just Sriracha, that don’t spend a dime on marketing and win simply by making a great product that people can’t help but talk about.

In this day and age, you may not have the budget to put towards marketing your product or service, but that shouldn’t stop you. If you’re putting out a strong product and service then your name may very well spread through the eyes and ears of those that are able to experience your offerings firsthand.

In that regard, social media has put us in a very interesting space. If you can leverage the social “influence” of one individual who’s had a great experience with what your business offers, you can be well on your way to surpassing the attention that any paid budget would get you. But: you need to make sure you actually have a good product. For instance, if you’re a small time restaurant that happens to have great food, all you need is that one person on Instagram or Twitter to talk you up because they love what you have to offer.

The brands and the products that will break out in the next decade with zero dollars may end up being anomalies in the grand scheme of things, but that’s all predicated on them having tremendous products. You can have all the money in the world but if your product sucks, you’ll end up losing the long game. However, you may very well be piss poor and not in the position to spend money on marketing, but if your product is good enough to entice people to talk about it, then in this day and age, you can most certainly win.