Thursday, October 21, 2010

Viral Marketing Strategy

Defining Viral Marketing – What is it…exactly?

The term Viral marketing or viral advertising is a marketing technique that utilizes existing social networks to produce and increase brand awareness or some other marketing goal or objective.  This is accomplished through use of a viral “self-replicating” process, similar to that of a viral disease or computer virus, in that they spread quickly and overtake everything they come in contact with.  It can take many forms, such as word-of-mouth, video clips, flash games, e-books, brand able software or text messages.  The goal is to build widespread awareness of virtually anything you choose to market.
How it works is by motivating people to pass along or “share” your marketing message with other people in their social networks.  The result being that you gain marketing exposure gradually, that increases exponentially, much like a virus.
It has become a widespread form of advertising due to the low cost to use, and the huge rewards that can result.  The competition in this area is dramatic, but a good conceived marketing campaign can make or break the success of a great product.
Message attributes
A key point to remember is to make your message memorable.  It is much easier to spread a message to all your friends if it is simple but unique.  Keep them talking about it, and it will continue to spread like wildfire.  Getting a marketing campaign to go viral is not a guarantee.  It takes hard work, some luck, and the timing to get the message out at the right opportunity.  Make your message compelling and engaging in order to reach your target market and make a connection with them.  A key element in the spread of ideas is their visual element.  Visual styles spread much faster in the real world than analytical concepts.  Pictures and jokes spread so quickly because there is nothing to figure out.  The idea is transparent, but can relate on an emotional level, making the desire to “share” it much higher.  Please remember this concept when developing the message or idea that you want to convey.
Having a well conceived message and strategy are clearly important and it is crucial to make sure that in promoting your message, that you don’t undermine your credibility with quick result tactics that will ultimately sell you short.  These tactics to avoid are as follows:
Tactics to avoid
  1.  Spamming, promising “free” products that aren’t (Use of bait and switch tactics).  Fake viral campaigns,
  2. Using endorsements by false customers, giving feedback on a product to generate sales.
The primary elements for any viral marketing campaign are important, and each element is necessary for maximizing your success and financial benefit.
Elements for an effective viral marketing campaign
1.        Motivations that people have:  What drives people to make them purchase a specific product or service? 
2.       Provides for effortless transfer to others:  A message that can easily flow from one individual to another.
3.       Have necessary resources in place:  You must be able to provide the desired product with great customer service.
4.       Utilizes existing communication networks:  The inter-connections that internet users have of connections to friends and family.  Where one is reached, 10 are impacted.
Convert your message to actual sales:  The measure of success comes from actuallyselling your product.