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New media marketing 101 series: #4 Virals

22 Jan
Look at the legs on this thing

Look at the legs on this thing

Post number four of the series. Today it’s about virals. Wikipedia defines it as “a 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.”

This is a pretty good explanation. What you really need to do is produce something so good people catch the virus and willingly transmit it themselves.

Examples
Samples of viral campaigns can be found all over the internet. That’s actually the whole point of these campaigns.

Will it blend
John West Salmon Ad
Trojan Games
Hema
Monk-e-mail

Advantages

  • Relatively low costs: Even a picture or a text can be viral. The content of a viral campaign is not limited to high-end internet sites or applications. But then again, you reap what you sow. If you facilitate the spreading of your campaign, it will only benefit your numbers.
  • If it works, it self-promotes: This is one side of the proverbial coin. If you have a good campaign, it will spread on its own. You won’t have to do anything but sit back and watch the campaign grow.
  • Increases the databases: This is a marketing point of view. If you let the people spread the viral through the means you set up, it can lead to a substantial increase of your databases, thus laying a solid foundation for your next adventures.
  • Easily trackable: Again an “if”. Viral success can be easily measured by how many incoming links you have, visits, e-commerce etc…
  • Takes advantage of other peoples networks: You don’t have to create a network or database to succeed. If you have a good campaign, it will do the work for you.

Problems

  • It has to work. This is the other side of the coin that was mentioned earlier. If a campaign flops, it flops hard. In viral marketing, there is not much room for error. If people are offended, they will tell you. If it just isn’t funny, they will tell you. Virals are public domain so expect direct feedback on every part of it.
  • High brand impact, low sales impact: A viral effect traditionally is good for branding. People will know your brand, connect to it and spread the word. This is term will be good for your sales. However, sales impact usually is not a direct effect of the campaign, unless it focussed specifically on this.

Conclusion
If you do a viral campaign, make sure to do your research. You will not have to put in as much effort and money as more traditional campaigns but… there is a chance that it will fail miserably and could even work to your disadvantage. So think before you do.

Liked this article? Read the other as well:
New media marketing 101 series: #1 the Blog
New media marketing 101 series: #2 Social Network Sites
New media marketing 101 series: #3 Banners

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Posted by on January 22, 2009 in Advertising, internet, Marketing, social media

 

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