Meme Marketing: Yay or Nay?

Everyday there seems to be a new trend that emerges. Determining whether or not you should jump on the bandwagon can take a lot of time. One trend that seemed like it would quickly disappear, but defied the odds are memes.



You may be thinking: “What is a meme?” Well, according to Richard Dawkins, who coined the term in 1976, a meme is a “package of culture”, which means that a meme is basically any highly replicable trend. Things like popular styles and concepts also fall under this category.

In this instance, however, we are referring to an internet phenomenon which pairs images with words to make a short, easy to consume joke. These jokes usually take place on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  

Why Would I Use Memes in Marketing?

The real question you’re probably wanting an answer to is: “Why in the world would I use a meme in marketing?” It’s simple, really. Marketing is all about finding effective ways to connect with the consumer. One way of doing this is by taking a break in your regular marketing schedule to make a meme related to your industry to get a quick laugh from your audience.

Why it is Effective:

  • Easy to Share – Since memes are often found on social media, as long as they are posted on one of these platforms and are accessible, your audience can easily share the content.
  • Easy to Consume – Memes are short and do not require much effort to understand, which means that you will be able to capture a quick laugh which could lead to the sharing of your post and more attention for your business.
  • Easy to Create – With many websites that you can use to create memes, making a relatable meme to share on social media can take 5 minutes or less.
  • Trendy – Though the lifespan of a particular meme may be short, the overall concept has been around for years, allowing you a way to stay on trend, but not step too far out of your realm of expertise.
  • Inclusive – Memes allow you to connect with your audience in a way that allows them to feel like they are in on a joke that only few understand, which is a great way to get them to interact with you and keep you in mind when considering purchasing a service you may sell.

Why it isn’t Effective:

  • Age of Audience – Depending on the age of your audience, they may not be the kind to enjoy a particular type of meme or memes at all, which can make meme marketing a niche way of marketing.
  • Internet Savvy – If your audience is not internet savvy, it is likely that memes will go over their head and not perform their duty of quick consumption.
  • Sense of Humor – Does your audience share your same sense of humor? It is not likely that you and your audience will find humor in all of the same things, making this a risky move.
  • Incompatible Voice – If the voice you have created for your social media is a more serious one, marketing with memes could be a real miss for your business.
  • Short Lifespan – Individual memes have a very short lifespan, so trying to stay on top of what memes are currently popular can prove to be a task that is not worthwhile for your business.
  • Trying Too Hard – If you post memes too frequently, or post ones that show you don’t truly understand what they are, you can appear like you are trying too hard, which can be very off putting to your audience.

Should I Use Marketing Memes?

That depends. Every business is different and so are their audiences. If you evaluate all of the above points against your particular business and you find that it could be an effective way to pull more attention, then by all means, go for it!

However, if you find yourself checking off more ineffective points than effective ones, marketing with memes, or social media in general, may just not be a good idea for your business. It is better to be safe and not use them, than be sorry and lose potential customers because you used them ineffectively.

In short, the use of memes can be effective or ineffective depending on a multitude of factors. Social media marketing as a whole can be tricky, so knowing how to weigh these factors is important for being able to properly determine if marketing with memes is right for your business.