Introduction: Definition of Viral Marketing
'Viral marketing is an online marketing technique which involves creating an infectious excitement about your product so that people pass on information about it through e-mail, social networking sites, blogs and
any other form of online network'. P.Tailor 29/04/09 www.learnmarketing.net
This Viral Marketing Diagram shows different ways to create a viral marketing campaign
Viral Marketing Objectives
With any viral marketing campaign the objective of the firm can differ from creating product or brand awareness to increasing market share. With marketing budgets often squeezed because of events like the credit crunch, viral marketing is seen as an effective way to promote products or services at minimum cost.
For example the website YouTube is a popular way to start a viral marketing campaign. Susan Boyle's audition on the TV show Britain's Got Talent received over 100 million views on YouTube making her an international star in 8 weeks. Gangnam Style by PSY a South Korean singer has so far had 1.3bn YouTube views and he is now a global star.
Viral Marketing Principles
Dr Ralph F. Wilson of Marketing Today suggested that there are six simple principles to viral marketing:
- Give away valuable products or services.
To grab attention something has to be given away for free!
- Provide effortless transfers to others.
The marketing message should be easy to transfer and spread, usually by email. This is the whole point of viral marketing.
- Scales very easily from small to large.
You have the resources available if the campaign moves from small to large in a short period of time.
- Exploits common motivation and behaviours.
A viral marketing campaign should exploit human desires. Facebook and Twitter work on the fact that it is cool to have a Facebook or Twitter account.
- Utilises existing communication networks.
Will your viral marketing campaign take advantage of social networks? Can you easily spread your message via social networking sites?
- Takes advantage of other resources.
Can others help you distribute your message. Can you "piggy back" off someone else’s website to help you spread your message? Again the use of YouTube or Twitter can be to help spread the word.
A more detailed coverage of this article can be found at http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles.htm
Viral marketing is one of the promotional mix strategies a firm can use to increase brand presence and a cost effective way to increase the popularity of products. Wilson's six viral marketing principles provide guidance on how to create a successful viral marketing campaign. However as some companies in the past have discovered at "their peril" before a firm launches into a viral marketing campaign they should prepare for a rapid increase in business just in case the campaign is more successful than anticipated.