Viral marketing is a business strategy that uses existing social networks to promote a product or a business . Its name refers to how consumers spread information about a product with other people in their social networks, much in the same way that a virus spreads from one person to another.
The basis of viral marketing is in the spread of information by word-of-mouth (see Word-of-Mouth marketing), but modern technology has allowed the viral effect to include many Internet-based platforms as well.
The viral effect can spread through many different networks, including:
- Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc)
- Video sharing sites (Youtube, Vimeo, etc)
- Web forums
Viral marketing typically supplies its audience with something of value for free. This can be something as simple as an amusing song or game. Whatever the viral content is, it must encourage people to share with others so as many people as possible receive the content’s message. WoxMarketing.com
Viral marketing is useful as a stand-alone marketing tool or as a part of a larger campaign that uses multiple kinds of marketing. It is especially attractive to smaller businesses or companies because viral marketing can be a cheaper alternative to traditional marketing efforts.
A new energy drink company, for example, could create an Internet video featuring a person who consumes the energy drink before performing a seemingly impossible bicycle jump. If the video is made to look real, it may encourage people who see it to share it with others. After the video receives enough views, the company could reveal its true purpose, convincing its viewers to seek out more information about the drink without ever using a traditional advertisement. The Best Marketing Solution To Promote Your Business .
Viral marketing is often used in conjunction with other methods of marketing, such as in the case of the Blair Witch Project. The viral aspect of the marketing campaign generated buzz about the story long before the release of commercials, trailers, posters, and other forms of traditional marketing. This caused many people to already talk about the movie before it was officially announced to the public.
Content does not have to be covert to be viral. Political campaigns often create videos featuring sound clips of an opposing candidate saying something people may find offensive. Politicians hope that by pointing out an outrageous statement, the video will go viral and cause others to develop a negative attitude toward the targeted opponent.
There is a common misconception that viral marketing depends on the ability to reliably create something extremely popular. In reality, a successful viral marketing campaign rests more on understanding how to connect with specific demographics by presenting them with valuable content.
Mega marketing is a customer-focused approach, so the first step is to identify the target demographic for a product and what they value the most in products, requiring marketers to research and analyze demographic data. During the Blair Witch campaign, the filmmakers and main marketing agents for the movie were accomplished film students. They examined what made horror movies compelling for the demographic of teens to young adults they were targeting, as well as explored how that demographic shared information. They used this information to focus on their product’s mystery, and they concentrated their early efforts on the Internet where they knew they would have the best chance of reaching a younger audience.
Once a company knows what its target demographic wants and how they communicate, they begin creating content those people will want to share. The Blair Witch team created websites, message boards, and fake news stories that heightened the horror and mystery of the movie’s story. The content encouraged people to look for more information about the story, and even collaborate with their friends in their investigations.
Viral marketing is a continual, interactive process. A company that implements a viral compaign shouldn’t simply let it run its course without adjustment. The Blair Witch campaign remained active on Internet message boards, interacting with real fans and regularly updating websites with more information based on fan discussions. It, like most viral campaigns, succeeded because it grew along with the interest in the product. The Most Complete Marketing Solution .
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