My company is going to be launching our "go-live" site in approximately 3-4 months time and we have begun to brainstorm ideas for a viral marketing campaign. We are well aware of utilizing social sites like Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, etc but right now our ideas are limited to our small group of cofounders.
Not only are we looking for additional ways to market virally, but we do not really know where to begin with regard to putting together an actual campaign that would be attractive to users on a site like the ones mentioned above. We have also looked into creating a "youtube video contest" where user submitted videos will be voted upon with a winner being chosen for a prize, but I personally believe that you need to market the contest itself which pretty much defeats the purpose!
We actually have a decent sized marketing budget for a startup so I am positive we can establish a decent size user base if we choose the right avenues. One thing I know for sure is that if we go at this alone we are going to hit a big learning curve and with that comes a waste of valuable money. My end goal just like any other marketing campaign, is to do as little of that as possible with the highest ROI.
The question I need answered is whether or not it would be wise (cost efficient) to hire either a marketing firm to handle or specialized consultant to handle this task for us? (this would be a very expensive option and are not sure if it is worth it) I was also thinking that maybe we could contact a head hunter so that we may hire a temp person on a short term contract for 3-6 months. Since we are located near metropolitan New York, I have even bounced around the idea of hiring an "ambitious intern" from one of the bazillion universities in the area. Any thoughts, guidance, or personal experience on these ideas would be great. Please also feel free to post additional ideas as well. Oh and just so you are aware, our marketing budget is in the $60K-$80K range and we do not have an office setting to monitor an individuals daily work.