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Viral Marketing or Viral Advertising is a
marketing strategy that encourages people to pass along a marketing
message. Essentially, a marketing technique aiming at reproducing "word
of mouth" promotions. In regard to this article, I wish to discuss the
use of viral marketing as it pertains to the internet or other
technology driven methods such as e-mail.
say that viral marketing and viral advertising refer to
marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to
produce increases in brand awareness.
However, I am not certain that viral advertising truly would
need a "pre-existing" social network. In my opinion, if the
message (content that you wish to go viral) is truly being viral
it may not need a pre-existing network. It may actually create
its own network as it moves along across the internet. Also,
let me point out that all networks are not "social" networks.
The internet is also comprised of "business" networks and other
forms of communities that comprise a quote un quote network. By
the way, the perfect example of a business to business network
Network. If your marketing message is "fashion"
relevant, the Fashion Industry Network, may be the best place to
plant the seed of your marketing message.
purpose of a viral advertising technique is to
introduce web users or website developers to pass on a
marketing message to other web
sites or other internet
users. The concept of
having a message get passed along from one person to the next is
a very powerful ability. Similar to a viral health condition,
once the viral attribute takes hold, it may move along in a
defined or previously undefined manner. The point is, the power
of the viral marketing technique may take on a life of its own.
I life that the originator may not be able to control, edit, or
addition to passing along a "message", the viral marketing can
also pass along a practice or platform for delivering the
message. For example, YouTube is viral as it markets its own
brand name. At the same time the marketing (video / content /
message) is moved virally around the net, the YouTube platform
(way of distributing the message) is also being sent virally
throughout cyberspace. Although the video is the key component
that can be used by individuals or companies to market their
name or product, the actual video player is going along for the
ride. This player may contain YouTube company logos, links back
to the site, etc. The player which is viral, also provide an
easy method for webmasters to place the embedded player onto
their respective sites. Hence, the viral nature continues.
way to describe viral marketing is to say that it is virtually any
form of advertising and/or marketing technique that spreads like
a virus. Getting
passed from computer to
computer, from consumer to consumer,
from web master to webmaster, from market to market
and so on. This form of marketing is
based on the assumption that people will share
interesting and entertaining content.
However, unfortunately viral marketing may also spread
information or content that is not so interesting...
fashion website developers often use
this sort of marketing strategy to create buzz (word-of-mouth)
for a new product or service.
designers can potentially generate
exposure that is often much more valuable than traditional
viral marketing is not considered to be "traditional"
advertising. I think that this is simply because it has not
been around long enough to be termed traditional (obviously this
depends on when you are reading this article...). In my
opinion, this type of marketing is here to stay and will
undoubtedly because a traditional and very common method among
marketing is also done by e-mail communication. However, I do
not plan to speak much on this issue because I personally do not
like some of the methods utilized by e-mail marketers.
If you are
ready to quickly spread enthusiasm about a product or
this type of marketing a try. Keep in mind that your marketing
message may have exponential growth.
example of viral marketing for the fashion industry, you may
wish to view the
The use of gadgets, widgets or rss feeds could be considered a
form of viral marketing.
can also see an example of how Apparel Search has used this
concept by checking the following:
Search on Delicious
addition to viral marketing, a fashion company should certainly
take advantage of additional methods as well. There is still
something to be said for the good old
am not the sharpest tool in the shed, it is important to also
learn about viral marketing from other educational methods on
Below is a definition found on the Wikipedia website April 29,
"The buzzwords viral marketing and
viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use
pre-existing social networks to produce increases in
brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives
(such as product sales) through self-replicating viral
processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and
computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or
enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral
promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive
Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software,
images, or even text messages. The basic form of viral
marketing is not infinitely sustainable.
The goal of marketers interested in
creating successful viral marketing programs is to
identify individuals with high Social Networking
Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to
this segment of the population and have a high
probability of being passed along.
The term "viral marketing" has also
been used pejoratively to refer to stealth marketing
campaigns—the unscrupulous use of astroturfing on-line
combined with undermarket advertising in shopping
centers to create the impression of spontaneous word of
The term Viral Marketing was coined
by a Harvard Business School graduate, Tim Draper. The
term was later popularized by Tim Draper and Steve
Jurvetson of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher
Jurvetson in 1997 to describe Hotmail's e-mail practice
of appending advertising for itself in outgoing mail
from their users.
Among the first to write about
viral marketing on the Internet was media critic Douglas
Rushkoff in his 1994 book Media Virus. The assumption is
that if such an advertisement reaches a "susceptible"
user, that user will become "infected" (i.e., accept the
idea) and will then go on to share the idea with others
"infecting them," in the viral analogy's terms. As long
as each infected user shares the idea with more than one
susceptible user on average (i.e., the basic
reproductive rate is greater than one - the standard in
epidemiology for qualifying something as an epidemic),
the number of infected users will grow according to a
logistic curve, whose initial segment appears
exponential. Of course, the marketing campaign may be
wildly successful even if the rate at which things are
spread isn't of epidemic proportions, if this
user-to-user sharing is sustained by other forms of
marketing communications, such as public relations or
Among the first to write about
algorithms designed to identify people with high Social
Networking Potential is Bob Gerstley in Advertising
Research is Changing. Gerstley uses SNP algorithms in
quantitative marketing research to help marketers
maximize the effectiveness of viral marketing campaigns.
In 2004 the concept of Alpha User was released to
indicate that it had become now possible to technically
isolate the focal point members of any viral campaign,
the "hubs" who are most influential. Alpha Users can
today be isolated and identified, and even targeted for
viral advertising purposes most accurately in mobile
phone networks, as mobile phones are so personal.
In response to its use,
many sites have started up trying to describe what viral
The Ponzi scheme and related
investment Pyramid schemes, are an early and
unfortunate example of viral marketing. In each
round, investors are paid interest from the
principal deposits of later investors. Early
investors are so enthusiastic that they recruit
their friends resulting in exponential growth until
the pool of available investors is tapped out and
the scheme collapses.
popularized in the 1960s and '70s (not to be
confused with Ponzi schemes) is essentially a form
of viral marketing in which representatives gain
income through marketing products through their
circle of influence and give their friends a chance
to market products similarly. When successful, the
strategy creates an exponentially growing network of
representatives and greatly enriches adopters.
Examples include Amway and Mary Kay Cosmetics among
Early in its existence (perhaps
between 1988 and 1992), the television show Mystery
Science Theater 3000 had limited distribution. The
producers encouraged viewers to makes copies of the
show on video tapes and give them to friends in
order to expand viewership and increase demand for
the fledgling Comedy Central network. During this
period the closing credits included the words "Keep
circulating the tapes!"
In 2000, Slate
described TiVo's unpublicized gambit of giving free
TiVo's to web-savvy enthusiasts to create "viral"
word of mouth, pointing out that a viral campaign
differs from a publicity stunt.
In 2001, BusinessWeek described
web-based campaigns for Hotmail (1996) and The Blair
Witch Project (1999) as striking examples of viral
marketing, but warned of some dangers for imitation
Launched in 2002, BMW Films was
among the earliest viral marketing campaigns. It
attracted nearly 55 million viewers and helped to
elevate the career of Clive Owen.
Burger King's The Subservient
Chicken campaign, running from 2004 until 2007, was
cited in Wired magazine as a striking example of
viral or word-of-mouth marketing.
Cadbury's Dairy Milk 2007
Gorilla advertising campaign was heavily popularised
on YouTube and Facebook.
The release of the 2007 concept
album Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails involved a viral
marketing campaign, including the band leaving USB
drives at concerts during NIN's 2007 European Tour.
This was followed up with a series of interlinked
websites revealing clues and information about the
dystopian future in which the album is set.
In 2007, World Wrestling
Entertainment promoted the return of Chris Jericho
with a viral marketing campaign using 15-second
cryptic binary code videos. The videos contained
hidden messages and biblical links related to
Jericho, although speculation existed throughout WWE
fans over who the campaign targeted. The text "Save
Us" and "2nd Coming" were most prominent in the
videos. The campaign spread throughout the internet
with numerous websites, though no longer
operational, featuring hidden messages and biblical
links to further hint at Jericho's return.
In 2007 the New York Times'
advertising columnist Stuart Elliott wrote about a
business-to-business viral campaign for a software
company, showing that viral advertising has
application in areas outside of consumer marketing.
The 2008 film Cloverfield was
first publicized with a teaser trailer that did not
advertise the film's title, only its release date:
"01·18·08." Elements of the viral marketing campaign
included MySpace pages created for fictional
characters and websites created for fictional
companies alluded to in the film.
The Big Word Project, launched
in 2008, aims to redefine the Oxford English
Dictionary by allowing people to submit their
website as the definition of their chosen word. The
viral marketing project, created to fund two Masters
students' educations, attracted the attention of
bloggers worldwide, being featured on Daring
Fireball and Wired Magazine.
The marketing campaign for the
2008 film The Dark Knight combined both online and
real-life elements to make it resemble an alternate
reality game. Techniques included mass gatherings of
Joker fans, scavenger hunts around world, detailed
and intricate websites that let fans actually
participate in "voting" for political offices in
Gotham City, and even a Gotham News Network that has
links to other Gotham pages such as Gotham Rail, a
Gotham travel agency, and political candidate's
pages. The movie also markets heavily off of word of
mouth from the thousands of Batman fans.
Both the second and third games
in the Halo series were preceded with viral
marketing in the form of an alternate reality game.
Viral expansion loop
A viral expansion loop is
similar to viral marketing with one notable difference:
viral marketing can't be replicated indefinitely, while
a viral expansion loop must be in order for it to exist.
When properly conceived and implemented, a viral loop
almost guarantees self-replicating growth. Companies
that have attempted to utilize viral loops to their
advantage include social networking engine
Ning, and viral loops power many Web 2.0 icons,
I hope this article helped you learn a bit more
then you knew before you started reading this page. Certainly, it is not
as interesting as a typical
but not all articles can be strictly about style and
glam. If you were looking for a more
stylish article, you are welcome to check the fashion news section for
loads of interesting fashion news.
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