viral marketing project by manoj prajapati


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viral marketing project by manoj prajapati

  1. 1. Jagannath International Management School A MINOR PROJECT REPORT ON Viral marketing strategies adopted by today's MNC's Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirement of Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) General BBA 3rd Semester (Evening) (Section-B) Batch 2010-2013 Submitted To Submit By Dr. Anubhav sir Manoj Kumar (Assistant Professor) Enrollment no. 09124501711
  2. 2. 1 JAGANNATH INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT SCHOOL KALKAJI CONTENTS Description Page No. Student undertaking 2 Certificate 3 Acknowledgements 4 Executive summary 5 Introduction to topic 7 Objectives 21 Research Methodology 26 Analysis & Interpretation 31 Literature Review 36 Findings & Inferences 44 Recommendations and Conclusion 47 Appendices 53 Bibliography 56
  3. 3. 2 Student Undertaking I hereby certify that this is my original work and it has never been submitted elsewhere. Manoj Kumar
  4. 4. 3 CERTIFICATE This is to certify that Manoj Kumar student of BBA III SEMESTER JIMS KALKAJI has under gone is search project onViral Marketing Strategies Adopted by Today‘s MNC‘s. And submitted project based on the same as a mandatory requirement for obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Business Administration. I further declared that I or any other person has not previously submitted this project report to any other institution/university for any other degree/diploma or any other person. Date- Place- Delhi (Manoj Kumar) It is certified that this project has been prepared and submitted under my guidance. Date: (Anubhav sir) Place: Delhi (Associate Professor)
  5. 5. 4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS A lot of effort has gone into this minor report. My thanks are due to many people with whom I have been closely associated. I would like to say thanks to all those who have contributed in completing this project. First of all, I would like to send my sincere thanks to Dr. Anubhav sir for his helpful hand in the completion of my project. I would like to thank my entire beloved family & friends for providing me monetary as well as non – monetary support, as and when required, without which this project would not have completed on time. Their trust and patience is now coming out in form of this. For the preparation of this project I interviewed the manager who provided me the ample information about Viral Marketing strategies. I also interviewed some customer to their perception about Viral Marketing. I also looked for their ads and web sites so also used my personal observation as a source. I consulted many books and journals for the purpose of my analysis.
  6. 6. 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The paper explores the attraction of Viral Marketing as well as challenges associated with Viral Marketing campaigns. * The paper outlines the different viral techniques including blogs and social networking. * And it also examines different Mumbai Internet user's awareness approaches and identifies the features of Viral Marketing in order to demonstrateeffectiveness. Viral Marketing started out as individuals forwarded e-mails from one person to another, but evolved into anextreme complex advertising medium that many companies are currently utilizing. Viral marketing includes theuse of downloads from websites and promotional incentives. The users of this marketing medium are using localcontacts and intimate market knowledge to build strongerrelationships than those developed through more impersonal media. The issue at hand, is this an unethicalmarketing or business tactic? This research paper concerns the nature of viral marketing campaigns and identification of heir critical success factors. The first section is a literature review that presents a summary of findings of all key aspects of viral marketing ever since it emerged to the scene. The latter section contains the findings of a series of interviews conducted with viral marketing professionals from advertising agencies and companies. The findings show that any marketing communications message has the potential to go viral provided that the social objectit contains is audience relevant and that the proper viral mechanics are in place. Three types ofcontent are identified which increase the likelihood of a marketing communications message going viral and those include: entertainment, positive messages and interactive content. Furthermore, the findings show that the role of virality within integrated marketingcommunications remains primarily associated with short-term marketing objectives such as sales, raising awareness etc. however not exclusively so, depending on the type of content of the campaign in question. This thesis investigates the concept of viral marketing. The study claims that viral marketing is becoming increasingly recognized as an important form of promotion, particularly within the online environments. In a world where consumers are showing increasing resistance to traditional form of advertising, the Internet with its online social
  7. 7. 6 and consumer communities offering interactivity and peer-to-peerconnections plays a critical role in information distribution and consumers‘ choices. New marketing activities – e.g. word of mouth, buzz and viral marketing – gained more attention while marketers are responding to the need of distribute their messages in new ways. Being a relatively new concept, viral marketing is multi-interpreted. It is often defined as a set of online techniques seeking to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. The present study seeks to explore the factors and trends that are likely to enhance the chances to define and depict viral marketing. Introduction and literature overview are drawing from different types of fonts –both academic and professional. Furthermore the thesis examines findings from Internet based discussions executed in an international online professional network – LinkedIn ( Seven questions were employed in order to elicit a definition of viral marketing based on the online professional network‘s users‘ perspective of the phenomenon. Respondents are mainly marketing and communication professionals, some of them shared his/her valuable business intelligence based on a multi-year experience achieved by working with world famous brands. The findings highlight the further need for conceptualizing viral marketing. It was not clearly defined its relation to word of mouth, but it was figured out the potential impact of the context and the characteristics of the message on how fast can be a message delivered. Research limitations suggest undertaking a replication of the study with a different research design, namely based on focus group discussions. Therefore the findings are more tentative and based on a research sample of which results are not representative. However, they provide a useful framework for future research into the process of viral marketing and it revealed the opportunity to examine its relation to theories in social networking and computer-mediated communications.
  8. 8. 7 Chapter-1 INTRODUCTION TO THE TOPIC Viral MarketingStrategy Definition No points for guessing which technique of marketing is the most widely researched today for being the most powerful tool of marketing. You must have seen that the featured books at are often on ‗Viral Marketing‘. Viral Marketing is one of the most successful techniques of marketing that cost no money at all, but can achieve unbelievable results. Also known as ‗word of the mouth marketing‘ viral marketing exploits pre-existing social-networks to produce brand-awareness. The question must have been lurking in your mind—why is it called Viral Marketing? Sounds a bit awful, don‘t it? Sounds like virus! But that‘s exactly how this dynamic technique of marketing achieves results. It expands its network the way virus spreads. In unprecedented short time it expands network to mammoth figures. Now take a look at the representation below: X XX XXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX “Viral marketing campaigns produce 750% more clickthroughs than traditional banner ads.”, November 2006
  9. 9. 8 "Viral marketing is the process of implementing means or tools through which the knowledge of your existence self-propagates." -Michel Fortin Top 10 Viral Videos 1. Star Wars Kid (900 million) 2. Numa Numa (700 million) 3. One Night In Paris (400 million) 4. Kylie Minogue for Agent Provocateur (360 million) 5. The Exploding Whale (350 million) 6. John West Salmon Bear Fight (300 million) 7. Trojan Games (300 million) 8. Kolla2001 (200 million) 9. AfroNinja (80 million) 10. The Shining Redux (50 million) -Taken from “The Daily Mail”
  10. 10. 9 That‘s how virus multiplies…doubling itself at every step. That is exactly the way viral marketing grows too. You can clearly see from the pyramid above that it has grown…and is growing to a large figure by doubling from just 1. Some marketing gurus borrowed the concept and built up a marketing concept that spreads like epidemic. The central idea is that people will pass on and share interesting and entertaining content forwarding it to their friends and colleagues; the content of which is often sponsored by a brand that islooking to build awareness of a product or service.These often take 8 Viral Marketing on Auto-Pilot the form of free material like free e-books, funny pictures, funny video clips, interactive Flash games, jokes, and more. You can run a very successful Viral marketing campaign on a shoestring, or zero budget and achieve results that other forms of marketing may or may not achieve after spending a fortune. Viral marketing is sometimes used by some internet-based stealth marketing campaigns, including the use of blogs, or by apparently amateur web sites, to create word-of-mouth for a new product or service.
  11. 11. 10 History of Viral Marketing The name Viral Marketing was probably first used by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson in 1997 while describing Hotmail's (he was the venture capitalist behind Hotmail, before it was sold to MSN) email practice of attaching their own advertisements with outgoing mail from their users. Noted media critic Douglas Rush off wrote about Viral marketing in his book Media Virus (1994); and that was probably the first article on this technique of marketing. In this book he wrote that Viral Marketing works. Even if we presume that many people who receive your free gifts will not share with others, still there will be 80% others who will share, and go ahead to pass them down to friends and acquaintances. He has written, that this network continues to seven or eight levels before the campaign fades out. World famous examples of Viral Marketing Hotmail promotion campaign Gmail promotion campaign Microsoft‘s Origami Project campaign Tupperware popularization Popularization of text massaging Popularization of chat BMW‘s Mini Cooper campaign Ford Motor‘s Evil Twin campaign
  12. 12. 11 Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and little work as wellas the simple strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include inyour strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the moreelements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketingstrategy: Gives away products or services Provides for effortless transfer to others Scales easily from small to very large Exploits common motivations and behaviors Utilizes existing communication networks Takes advantage of others' resources Let's examine at each of these elements briefly. 1. Gives away valuable products or services "Free" is the most powerful word in a marketer's vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs giveaway valuable products or services to attract attention. Free e-mail services, free information,free "cool" buttons, free software programs that perform powerful functions but not as much asyou get in the "pro" version. Wilson's Second Law of Web Marketing is "The Law of Giving and Selling". "Cheap" or "inexpensive" maygenerate a wave of interest, but "free" will usually do it much faster. Viral marketers practicedelayed gratification. They may not profit today, or tomorrow, but if they can generate agroundswell of interest from something free, they know they will profit "soon and for the rest oftheir lives" (with apologies to "Casablanca"). Eyeballs then see other desirable things that you are selling, and, presto! You earn money. Eyeballs bring valuable e-mail addresses, advertising revenue, and e-commerce salesopportunities. Give away something, sell something.
  13. 13. 12 2. Provides for effortless transfer to others Public health nurses offer sage advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, washyour hands often, and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread when they'reeasy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer andreplicate: e-mail, website, graphic, software download. Viral marketing works famously on theInternet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Digital formatmake copying simple. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing messageso it can be transmitted easily and without degradation. Short is better. The message is compelling, compressed, andcopied at the bottom of every free e-mail message. 3. Scales easily from small to very large To spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to verylarge. The weakness of the Hotmail model is that a free e-mail service requires its ownmailservers to transmit the message. If the strategy is wildly successful, mailservers must beadded very quickly or the rapid growth will bog down and die. If the virus multiplies only to kill thehost before spreading, nothing is accomplished. So long as you have planned ahead of timehow you can add mailservers rapidly you're okay. You must build in scalability to your viralmodel. 4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. What proliferated? "Netscape Now" buttons in the early days of the Web? The desire to be cool. Greed drivespeople. So does the hunger to be popular, loved, and understood. The resulting urge tocommunicate produces millions of websites and billions of e-mail messages. Design marketingstrategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you have awinner.
  14. 14. 13 5. Utilizes existing communication networks Most people are social. Nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science grad students are theexception. Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their closenetwork of friends, family, and associates. A person's broader network may consist of scores,hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. A waitress, forexample, may communicate regularly with hundreds of customers in a given week. Networkmarketers have long understood the power of these human networks, both the strong, closenetworks as well as the weaker networked relationships. People on the Internet developnetworks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs. Affiliateprograms exploit such networks, as do permission e-mail lists. Learn to place your message intoexisting communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its dispersion. 6. Takes advantage of others' resources The most creative viral marketing plans use others' resources to get the word out. Affiliateprograms, for example, place text or graphic links on others' websites. Authors, who give awayfree articles, seek to position their articles on others' webpages. A news release can be pickedup by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands ofreaders. Now someone else's newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message.Someone else's resources are depleted rather than your own.
  15. 15. 14 7 Different Types Of Viral Marketing In the beginning, e-mail was the one way that viral marketing was started. Since that long ago day, viral marketing has gone from a marketing strategy to an art form and there are many ways to accomplish the objective of creating a successful viral marketing campaign. Seven of those ways are: 1. E-mail: It was first but it is still around and still used. It is, however, getting a little harder to use as more and more government restrictions are placed on it. Still… it does work. 2. Newsletters: This is an extension of e-mail but it a very effective tool. If you include enough timely and valuable information, a good newsletter can drive up the number of visits to your website. 3. Blogging: Providing the tools on your website to enable bloggers to interact with one another is a terrific way to get the message about your product of service out there and being talked about. Bloggers have their ears to the ground for new products and services. 4. Chat Rooms: A chat room on your website can and does encourage interaction among your customers and that can‘t be a bad thing. Also, you can use the chat room to schedule special events like having an expert available to answer questions on a given day at a given time. 5. Tell-a-friend Script: If you add this with a statement saying that e-mail addresses supplied will never be shared with third parties, you can increase your potential customer list greatly.
  16. 16. 15 6. Video Clips: Including cool video clips on your website will keep the interest up and increase traffic. 7. Flash Games: Although they are a little costly to start, they are an extremely effective tool to get your viral marketing campaign going. Once they are launched, they require nothing more from you. Methods and metrics According to marketing professors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, to make viral marketing work, three basic criteria must be met, i.e., giving the right message to the right messengers in the right environment: 1. Messenger: Three specific types of messengers are required to ensure the transformation of an ordinary message into a viral one: market mavens, social hubs, and salespeople. Market mavens are individuals who are continuously ‗on the pulse‘ of things (information specialists); they are usually among the first to get exposed to the message and who transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with an exceptionally large number of social connections; they often know hundreds of different people and have the ability to serve as connectors or bridges between different subcultures. Salespeople might be needed who receive the message from the market maven, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then transmit it to the social hub for further distribution. Market mavens may not be particularly convincing in transmitting the information.
  17. 17. 16 2. Message: Only messages that are both memorable and sufficiently interesting to be passed on to others have the potential to spur a viral marketing phenomenon. Making a message more memorable and interesting or simply more infectious, is often not a matter of major changes but minor adjustments. 3. Environment: The environment is crucial in the rise of successful viral marketing – small changes in the environment lead to huge results, and people are much more sensitive to environment. The timing and context of the campaign launch must be right. Whereas Kaplan, Haenlein and others reduce the role of marketers to crafting the initial viral message and seeding it, futurist and sales and marketing analyst Marc Feldman, who conducted IMT Strategies‘ landmark viral marketing study in 2001, carves a different role for marketers which pushes the ‗art‘ of viral marketing much closer to 'science. Feldman points out that when marketers take a disciplined approach to viral marketing by targeting, measuring and continually optimizing their campaigns based on campaign metrics, viral marketing transforms the customer into a new sales channel, a new lead generation channel and a new awareness generating channel. Feldman's innovative reconceptualization of viral marketers went a long way towards making "viral marketing" a strategy that sales and marketing directors at Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies could legitimately invest in. This disciplined approach to Viral marketing that Feldman first carved out, pointed the way towards measuring the ROI of every viral marketing campaign and thus making a real business case for investing in viral marketing. The customer-as-a-sales-channel approach to viral marketing went on to become the foundation for an explosion of technology enabled viral marketing services offered online, offline and in blended hybrid approaches.
  18. 18. 17 Methods Viral marketing often involves and utilizes: Customer participation & polling services Industry-specific organization contributions Internet search engines & blogs Mobile smartphone integration Multiple forms of print and direct marketing Outbound/inbound call center services Target marketing web services Search engine optimization (SEO) web development Social media interconnectivity Television & radio VMS target marketing is based on three important principles: 1. Social profile gathering 2. Proximity market analysis 3. Real-time key word density analysis By applying these three important disciplines to an advertising model, a VMS company is able to match a client with their targeted customers at a cost effective advantage. The Internet makes it possible for a campaign to go viral very fast. However, the Internet and in particular social media technologies do not make a brand viral; they just enable people to tell other people faster. The Internet can, so to speak, make a brand famous overnight.
  19. 19. 18 Methods of Transmission Spreading the viral message can be done in different ways. Email. This is the most common type, when people forwards messages such as inspirational messages, jokes, funny clips and pictures that advertises a certain product or service. Instant Messaging. People who receive links from friends through instant messaging servers, like Yahoo or MSN, are more likely to check it out because of the notion of urgency of the sender. Web sites.Most of the articles now published online have a link that says "Send to a friend." This is one way to make the article reach a good number of people by just posting it in one site. Word of mouth. Of course, this is the traditional way of passing on a message to another person; and most of the time, the most reliable method too. Other barriers Other barriers can be the size and format of the viral message. If the content is a video clip, its reach may be limited because of size limitations of most of the email providers. Media format is also one thing to consider because not all recipients of the message may have the right application to open the file. But despite of these constraints, businesses are already getting into this style of marketing. Indeed, this technique helps in dramatically increasing revenues by reaching a huge number of the target market without having to spend a big chunk of money for advertisements. Viral marketing will definitely go a long way, especially in the World Wide Web. Though there are several ways on how to do this kind of advertising, there are also barriers to it. One was already mentioned, which is the risk of the message being labeled as "spam." Since a lot of companies now are using this method and promoting their products through email, email providers proactively created some sort of filter in their system to separate potential spam emails from the more trusted ones.
  20. 20. 19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Viral Marketing Strategies In the current competitive business world, every business owners look different methods to promote their business, globally. One of the widely available, familiar and successful marketing strategies is viral marketing. The concept behind the viral marketing is word- of-mouth, i.e. use influencers to make peer-to-peer product recommendations. The term viral marketing formed by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson in 1997 to explain the exclusive referral-marketing program produced by Hotmail, one of the primary free e- mail services. Several outsourcing companies around the world are providing viral marketing services. The viral marketing has some disadvantages also. There are many advantages of using viral marketing strategies such as: 1. It caters to larger audience through world wide web and emails. Viral marketing practices which use internet as the communication media can be accessed by large amount of people worldwide and it can be seen as an advantage over traditional advertising media such as tv and radio advertisements. 2. It uses existing communication among friends and other associations to spread the message. As an example if a product message is spread in Twitter using retweets it uses the existing followers of the retwitter to spread the message. 3. It is considered to be a cost effective advertising method when compared to traditional advertising modes. Posting a blog post or sending an email potential customer does not cost as much cost of advertising in Television. 4. It works as a faster mode of reaching the customer. 5. Helps to build the reputation of the firm fast through increased sales and online promotions. 6. It caters to the exact target market of the product as filtering is possible when using online means. As an example, if a company wishes to introduce a product for teenagers living in New York ans wishes to advertise on Facebook, it
  21. 21. 20 ispossible for the firm to access basic information of the user and filter the target market. 7. Tools used in viral marketing can be set up with less effort. Composing an email message or a blog post does not require much of effort when compared to making a TV commercial or bill board campaign. 8. Customizing the message based on user preference and local interest is also possible in viral marketing through data mining techniques. There can be disadvantages of using viral marketing such as: 1. Issue of SPAMS- Viral marketing uses means such as emails and commenting on blogs and forums. When the viral marketing in done in a large scale it becomes annoying for the email receiver to receive large amount of emails in their inbox and they are made filtered as spam messages. 2. Viral marketing talks about only spreading the message to potential consumers through online means but spreading the message is not does not benefit the firm. Sale has occurred at the end for the firm to benefit but the amount of actual sales made apart from promotions is questionable under viral marketing. 3. Results directly attributable to viral marketing is unquantifiable as companies use other marketing techniques and purchase motivation of the consumer depends on the consumer black box, not based on viral marketing. 4. It very hard to make the people to spread the message by emails and other means as people are more concentrated about their personal work rather than doing marketing for business organizations. 5. Continuous effort in viral marketing can cause the product message reaching out of target audience which will result in brand dilution by sales occurring at non- targeted users. 6. Viral marketing focuses more on short term success rather than building differentiation to gain long term advantages. 7. It can be easily imitated by competitors as anyone on internet can launch marketing campaigns easily.
  22. 22. 21 8. Negative publicity is possible at the same speed of positive publicity or even higher speed than that. ObjectivesOf Viral Marketing Advertising Procedure which Offers Long-term Positive Results Viral marketing is a cost-effective promotion method, which helps to reach out to your targeted audience within a short time. This technique enables delivery of your marketing messages in a simple and easy manner. Through viral advertising, it is possible to build a lasting influence on the minds of the users. As a contributing tool to achieve your business objectives, a lot of creativity, careful planning and implementation are required. It is an advertising procedure which skillfully utilizes certain websites, emails and instant messaging systems. Besides these, games, video clippings, file sharing methods, images, and other means are used. Enhance Company’s Turnover through Organized Business Websites By means of viral promotion techniques, you can create brand awareness among the users. Through these, more and more visitors will be attracted to your business website. At a later stage, these visitors will be converted into customers of your products and services. Thus you are able to fulfill your main business objective – namely, enhancing the sales and turnover. For achieving your specific business goals through viral marketing it is important to have a well organized and attractive website. Therefore it is essential to hire the services of professional viral online marketing service providers. To effectively handle your advertising requirements, many of these companies have a panel of experts who have deep knowledge in the social media marketing arena. The major services offered by these firms include the following:
  23. 23. 22 • Viral advertising consulting • Planning and design of viral campaigns • Development and management of viral contents • E-mail promotion • Blog marketing • Promotion through forums • Submission of press releases • Promotion of articles • Viral email campaigns • Analytics tracking and reporting Based on your unique business requirements and budget, choose the right service provider who can offer reliable and budget friendly viral marketing services. With the wide popularity of the Internet, the online business world is getting more and more competitive. To survive amidst the competition, it is necessary to make use of competent marketing methods. Example of Viral Marketing The best viral marketing campaigns (when a marketer intends to make something viral) are one of those things that we have to see to recognize, so here are a few of favorite viral marketing examples: Hotmail When Hotmail launched, much of its early success was due to the virality of the sigline that it attached to every outgoing email inviting the recipient to join. One of the earliest examples of viral marketing on the internet. Subservient Chicken One of my favorite viral marketing examples on this list, the creepy webcam site made for a Burger King campaign allowed people to control a guy in a chicken suit. It went viral almost instantly and for a few weeks was everywhere.
  24. 24. 23 Will it blend One of the most recent best viral marketing campaign examples, Blendtec‘s will it blend video series shows scientists testing if various household items will blend in their super- powerful blender. This campaign leveraged the popularity of online video sharing sites. One Red Paperclip This was a blog where the author started with a single red paperclip and traded his way up to a house, documenting his steps along the way. Million Dollar Homepage Perhaps the most famous viral marketing ―why didn‘t I think of that‖ example, this site sold pixels on its homepage and eventually made over a million dollars. Simpson size Yourself Created for the Simpsons movie, this site allowed visitors to create an avatar of them as a character from the cartoon. Mentos/Diet Coke Another wacky scientist schtick, these guys got famous by making art out of the explosions caused by mixing diet coke and mentos. Mentos handled it beautifully, Coke did not. Dove Evolution Video Part of a campaign by Dove, this video showed how models‘ beauty is often artificial, and really struck a chord with its intended audience of female viewers. Tea Partay A beverage company created this video as a parody of rap videos and used preppy white kids. YouTube Embedable Videos YouTube‘s meteoric rise is due in large part to the embeddable videos the company introduced, allowing bloggers to put videos directly into posts. Lonelygirl15 This fake reality show featured an aspiring actress, playing strange storyline. It generated lots of views and eventually the creators were unmasked. Bob Dylan Facebook App This application allows users to make their own version of Dylan‘s Subterranean Homesick Blues video. This is a viral marketing campaign example consisting entirely of ―brand‖ interaction for the purpose of entertainment.
  25. 25. 24 Why Viral Marketing Works Viral marketing is a phenomenon. It works and works well. Why? Because it puts the power in the hands of thepeople. It doesn‘t rely on advertising executives, million dollar campaigns or celebrity endorsements. It is real,down-to-earth, grassroots marketing that, when it comes down to it, might be advertising in its purest form. Viral marketing, while driven by strategy and well-planned messaging, is only successful when its audience iscaptivated. A marketing campaign will only go ―viral‖ if people like it and ultimately, share it with others.Therefore, they have the power. Not the marketer. Online business owners and internet marketers alike understand the important role viral marketing plays in thesuccess of their businesses today. Social media networks have become just as much about business as they areabout pleasure. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other key players are now joining us in the boardroomand in sales meetings. Blogs are replacing news media in many ways, and we must adapt our marketing approachto become players in this game. From reaching the masses with special deals, invitations for sale events and enticing customers to purchase newproducts, viral marketing is a lucrative business tool, approach and strategy all wrapped in to one. Say, for example, you are an internet marketer. You create and sell valuable sales tools, including E-books,reports, videos and webinars. Not only should you have a list to which you apply your email marketing campaign,but in addition, you can share your products by posting them on Facebook, tweeting about them on Twitter oruploading lessons to YouTube. The possibilities are endless. With a little bit of creativity and a true understanding of your target market, viral marketing has the ability toskyrocket your business to new heights. Not only should you consider the favor of your current customer base,but approach your viral marketing campaign in such a way that encourages – and makes them want to – shareyour business with others. You could offer free products for every ten people your customers share your linkwith. The more you entice people to pass it on, the more likely people are to share with others.
  26. 26. 25 Think about it, if you were your own customer, what would entice you to share your products? Would it bequality customer service? Great deals and monthly specials? What grabs your attention? Start there and seewhat works. The other great thing about viral marketing is, if one approach isn‘t working, you lose nothing byswitching gears. Just be careful to settle in to a consistent message, no matter what your approach might be. You don‘t want to run the risk of turning people off. So, engage in your viral marketing campaign. Be social on social networks, share others information and they inturn, will share yours. Viral marketing is a give and take and the more you give, the more you will get. There is anunspoken set of expectations that accompany viral marketing, and the most important of all is to respect thoseyou are marketing to. If you do, they will recognize that and most likely help you on your way to going viral.
  27. 27. 26 Chapter 2 Research Methodology The aim of the research is to provide a comparison of the perspectives of avariety of professionals to what is written in the academic literature and to see theextent, if any, that practice is divergent from theory. For this reason I employed aqualitative research method, consisting of Internet based interviews, because thisallowed me to get up close to people‘s opinion. According to the interpretivescholars, in order to understand how professionals and practitioners perceive viralmarketing, I had to actively be engaged in the field (Daymon and Holloway 2002). To realize this engagement I undertook my research through an online professionalnetwork, The method enabled me to conceptualize viral marketingfrom the point of view of those who are involved in it through their work, studies orprofessional experiences. Qualitative research seems to be the appropriate way to understand the worldof lived in experience of those who were willing to share with me their thought aboutthe topic and question of interest. It made it possible to depict the differentperspectives of viral marketing and seek to understand of the concept. Despite the known disadvantages of qualitative research – subjectivity, problems of generalization, lack of transparency in sampling and procedures,difficult to replicate etc. (Hoyle, Harris, and Judd 2002) – an online form of interviewingpractitioners proved feasible.
  28. 28. 27 The original idea -conduct online focus groups The original idea was to create a ―virtual focus group‖ exploiting theopportunity of an international online social network, LinkedIn.comwas chosen as research venue because it allowed me to contact many communicationand marketing professionals from all over the world and from different firms andenvironments. In particular, I took advantage of the Question Answer section This is an option of each participant of the network, which allowsevery user to post questions and/or contribute to comments by others with his/heranswer. Focus groups – both conventional and online – are a form of in-depthinterviewing. The purpose of a focus group is never to examine a wide range oftopics in one study but to concentrate on one or two concept or objects and discussthem more in detail (Hoyle, Harris and Judd 2002). Typical character of focus groupsis the group dynamism, which can be generated by the group setting for itself,providing evidences from many voices on the same topic. It should be noted that virtual focus group is a variation or specific format ofthe traditional focus group interview. This new form of focus group research hasbecome more prominent in recent years and has been especially applied to researchin e- marketing, to consumer goods industry to collect consumer feedback in earlystages of product development and to explore lived experiences of pharmaceuticaltreatments (Sweet, 2001). The group discussion takes place in a virtual forum, forinstance in a chat room, rather than in a traditional room. Some companies, for security reasons, create a micro site for the online group discussions, which isaccessible only by a selection of consumers. There are two types of online focus groups: synchronous or real time andasynchronous. In the real time form, six to eight participants respond simultaneouslyin a chat room or forum, while in the asynchronous focus group users can access abulletin board or a virtual platform where questions are posted. This research isbased on the second solution for two main reasons: 1. I did not have the time andresources to create a separate forum, which can be accessed with a password only bya limited number of participants. This choice would have required being in the role ofmoderator and facilitator. 2. Having
  29. 29. 28 chosen the asynchronous method all participantsmeant having sufficient time to reflect on the topics proposed and then participates inthe discussion, including eventually also reflections to answers posted by other usersof LinkedIn. The asynchronous method allowed me also to reach a huge variety ofpeople from all over the world, since users of LinkedIn could answer from theirdesired location and at the time which is most convenient for them. Topic, venue and purpose of the research According to the definition mentioned above, the specific topic was viralmarketing; the platform of the interviews was an online international professionalnetwork, The purpose of the focus group was to elicit a ―definition‖of viral marketing based on the e-users‘ perspective of the phenomenon. Advantages versus disadvantages of online focus groups Conducting qualitative research online is not new. The electronic revolutionand the evolution of the digital world have just favored the use of online focusgroups. Online qualitative studies are used to evaluate on- and offline advertisings, tocritique and test concepts, ideas, products, visuals and the possibility to continue thelist is almost never- ending. The attraction of cyberspace lies in its versatility as a research forum allowing to involve people independently from their geographiclocation (Sweet 2001, O‘Connor and Madge 2003). Moreover Internet permitsresearchers to interface with delicate questions for those otherwise it would bedifficult to reach answers via conventional research approaches – such as a face tofaceinterview (DiMaggio et al. 2001). Virtual settings decrease the fear of users andanonymity let often them say what they exactly think (Jones 1995, Curtis P. et al.2005). Speed also remains one of the biggest selling point of conducting Internetbased discussions, while traditional approaches would require months or more, anonline market research literally can be carried out in one or two weeks depending onthe objectives and complexity of the study.
  30. 30. 29 Challenges As a first step, short letters - with a recall and invitation to participate to thethesis research - were sent out to those who answered to the first question in August2007. After this an official invitation was prepared targeting two groups of people:one invitation approached those who already belonged to my network on LinkedIn,the other invitation had the aim of inviting persons to sign in to andparticipate or invite LinkedIn users to link up with me and have a look at thequestions posted regarding viral marketing. Different facts weakened the success of the research that ended up with lowreturn rate of the invitations sent. Once, given that invitation were sent out in aholiday period, I was not able to create a concrete group of people with eight totwelve participants for the starting date of the research. Second, timing was a crucialconstrain having a limited period of time to carry out the discussions and concludethe research phase. Third, I encountered difficulties in getting back the invitationswith demographics (data collecting information about age, gender, and occupation etc. ofthe respondents) mainly from those members of my network who I do not knowpersonally. In the light of these considerations, it should be noted that the mainchallenges encountered in this project included the hurdle of engaging allparticipants not just in a discussion but also having their official agreement topublish their comments, and the length of time over which the focus groups tookplace. The challenges that were faced in both the preparation and the processingphase for the focus groups can help provide suggestions for future application of avirtual focus group and can help develop better steps to improve the methodology inpreparing the online venue. Consequences are treated under Limitations of the study. Processing
  31. 31. 30 From of the literature review, all in all seven questions were elaborated inorder to generate discussions and view points‘ sharing on the network. The firstquestion, as it has been mentioned, was posted in August 2007. The last six questionsappeared on the Question Answer section of LinkedIn during a ten days period. After the post of the last questions I left them open for ten days. The questions inorder of appearance are: 1. Viral Marketing is very vaguely defined. What is the definition of yourconcept? 2. Some marketing gurus are saying Viral Marketing is nothing but juststimulating word- of-mouth in social networks. What do you think about thisassumption? 3. A lot of people argue that Web 2.0. Has changed the perception of onlinemarketing techniques. What do you think about this? 4. In your opinion what is/are the most relevant component/s of ViralMarketing? 5. Do you think it is possible to plan word-of–mouth? 6. Can the effect of a viral campaign be measured? 7. Do you use the term: Viral Marketing? A. If not, why? B. If yes, in which context? When a user places a question on LinkedIn, he or she has the option to send thequestion only to selected members from his/her direct connection. If the recruitmentof constituents for the virtual focus group were more successful, I would have optedfor this solution. Instead I decided to leave open the question to everyone and applythe research method as Internet based discussion. This means that about 1,430,000people could see questions inserted on the platform from many countries of theworld. Fifty-two members decided to share their opinion with me and other membersof the network. At that point of the research we can speak about Internet baseddiscussions rather than virtual focus group. In order to satisfy the methodologyrigor, basic demographic data has been collected in order to give a generalstatistical description of the participants in the discussions. This request attracted aquite satisfactory return rate: twenty-four participants sent back their data, whichimplies the 46% of the total number of respondents. Chapter 3
  32. 32. 31 Analysis and Interpretation Quantitative Data The first step of the raise of the primary data is the interview. The interview allows supporting and answering objectives of the research in a qualitative way through a professional opinion and point of view. The goal is to find what are the benefits and potential risks of a viral campaign. Also, identify the companies‘ objectives through viral campaigns. Moreover, at term, understand the trend of viral campaign compare to ―normal‖ way of communication. These are parts of the research objectives. The person interviewed is Renée Bani, the Buzz Marketing Manager and the Community Manager of N°10, an advertising Agency based in the capital of Switzerland, Bern. N°10 is a Branding, Communication Buzz, Viral and Social Media Agency, providing services that the customer need in term of communication. The interview has been conducting by e-mail. It was the best choice for the questionnaire because MsBani lives in Switzerland and the communication is easier by e-mail. First asked in a French language, the interview has been translating into English. This is the Diary of the correspondence with Renée Bani. DATA ANALYSIS: THE INTERVIEW Viral campaign versus “normal” campaign The new trends depend of the evolution of the society and viral campaign ride on the new consumer trends. Moreover, classical communications have less impact on the consumer because the consumer now is aware of the ads‘ goal. Now in order to purchase a product, people asks their pairs or friends to have an objective opinion and not an opinion given by the brand that is obviously subjective. Moreover, the gain of popularity is stronger than with a ―normal‖ campaign. Companies can have a new positioning and another brand image by using viral communication. Indeed, by using viral process, the Company could position itself as an innovative competitor. Because internet is the future of the Company, use viral before competitors is a real competitive advantage and a way to give a sympathetic image.
  33. 33. 32 Companies can also create a link with the consumer by providing new experience and make him laugh. The actors of a viral campaign To start a buzz now, advertisers need people that are influential in the web. First, the bloggers become incontrovertible in the viral process because - They influence many people because more and more people read them. -They have an expertise in a particular field that allows them a huge credibility. - The journalists often read blogs and could enhance media fallout. Secondly, there are now some lambda persons, which take part in the viral process. They have some influence and have a huge network of contacts. We call them the ―buzz makers‖. They are very interesting because they are people talking to other people with objective opinions. Moreover, because the buzz makershas a huge network, his credibility is always increasing. Thirdly, the social networks are incontrovertible in order to go viral. Before social networks, consumers shared the information in an old way, face to face, with pairs. Now Facebook or twitter makes the consumer enter in the instantly sharing. It is aworld of fast sharing in a very simple way because one click is enough. Moreover, the social networks allow advertisers to be in contact with more people. This is a new dimension given to the buzz; the word is spread instantly and faster than ever. Finally, the consumer is one of the main parts of the viral process. Nevertheless, to share a viral idea, people must desire to share it. That is why advertisers have focus on key tools. The key success factors of a viral campaign
  34. 34. 33 There is no miracle recipe but some tools are using in order to reach the consumer feeling. Moreover, many of these tools are used by many brands. The information are raised in the board below.But advertisers need also more resources and purchase media space on webpage with high flow of audience. Tools Brand Funny or quirky Skittles Bounced on news T-Mobile royal wedding Innovative process Tipex on Youtube Be cute Evian with the roller babies Use the personalization Old spice videos Use the fake Web user do that Table 1: The key success factors of a good campaign for different brands CONCLUSION OF THE QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Thanks to the interview, the research highlights many points about the key success factors of a good viral campaign and the way the Companies use viral marketing for their communication. The viral and web campaign become more and more extensivedue to a lack of trust in TV, radio or newspaper advertisement. People ask now to their pairs for the purchase of a good. They depend and turn on the opinion leaders like bloggers or buzz makers whose have credibility in the eyes of consumers. Moreover, some tools are used in order to reach the consumers‘ feeling for keeping his attention. Make him laugh, use the news, be innovative, the stars, the babies for example;
  35. 35. 34 make always a campaign works. Advertisers have the use of ingeniousness to be more innovative in the viral process and so, be the most competitive Company in the market. QUANTITATIVE DATA In order to collect the quantitative data, a survey has been conducting. The survey support the elements finding in the Interview conducted previously. The aim of the survey is to understand the consumer behavior face to viral and buzz campaigns. The consumer is a key point of the process because he is the starting point and the network of viral campaigns. Indeed, in order to know and understand the key success factors of a good viral campaign, we need to know what the consumer expects in term of communication, with whom and from where does he take the information. Therefore, we can determine what is effective or not in term of viral communication. Thanks to that, the research will highlight the key point to focus on. The population The population is a group of 50 people. The sample The population chosen in this study is people who belong to the generation Y. Indeed people have between 18 and 26 years old and are all from the Dublin Business School. The population rate in this study is 50 people. For a total parity, there are 25 men and 25 women that have been questioning for the study. The questionnaire has been giving during lunchtime on Tuesday the 17 and Wednesday 18 May 2011 in the common room of the DBS (Castle House) on the 4th floor at the address South Great Georges Street Dublin 2. The process took 1h per session. The sample was not disturbed and did not talk with each other during the process. Response rate
  36. 36. 35 On 50 persons questioned, there are 50 responses so it is a complete success. This rate is also high considering the ration of 100% answers. Response error There are no unanswered or answered wrong questions. People all follows the indication written at the beginning ―Just tick one answer per question‖. In addition, when people had some questions, I was here to answer. Limitations to the research The process chosen is a limitation in term of data collection. The survey was administered and delivered by hand to each respondent. Therefore, it was a long process of data collecting when all questionnaires were done. Secondly, the data collection has been made on Ethnos. Ethnos is a complete professional survey software, allowing the user to design and analyze easily all types of questionnaires. The data on Ethnos was complicated due to a lack of knowledge in term of survey software. The entire questionnaire is based on the Interview conducted before. All the questions are related to the information given by Renée Bani. Literature Review
  37. 37. 36 Introduction Viral marketing is a catchy expression always getting more attention. There area lot of interests in viral marketing (Devin 2006). Sometimes it is used as equivalentto word of mouth, buzz marketing, guerrilla marketing (Carl 2006). Where does theconcept come from? Is it a buzzword or a new fancy expression for today‘smarketers? This chapter looking for the answers is structured in two main sections. First, a discussion follows about the main trends and circumstances occurredin the marketing communication landscape, which make us possible to speak about viral marketing. This introductory part will focus on two maindomains that have changed significantly the way marketers approach customers: 1)Social networks and virtual communities 2) Customers‘ relation to the Internet. Thisthesis retains that these two factors have significantly influenced marketers todevelop new communication strategies. Three concepts will be emphasized: theconcept of Web 2.0, new online tools and the diffusion of online blogs. Secondly, the overview of literature strictly related to viral marketing andtheoretical framework are presented thereby provide a more comprehensiveunderstanding of how the various themes studied come together and it facilitates thepreparation of an Internet based discussions on the topic. Virtual Communities and Social Networking The rise of virtual communities in on-line social networks has set in motionan unprecedented shift in power from vendors of services and goods to customerswho buy them. Viral marketing can exploit existing social networks by encouraging customers to share product information with their friends. Therefore the revelation ofsuch social networks is vital both for businesses and for advertising agencies, whichmay use these networks in order to convey more effectively a firm‘s messages.
  38. 38. 37 Figure 1. Yet most of today‘s advertising agencies employ marketing which stillfocuses on how to use advertising to influence costumers individually in their homesitting in front of the TV. Rosen (2000) claims in his book – The Anatomy of Buzz –that purchasing is a social process that couldn‘t be neglected by nowadays‘marketers. Rosen quotes Len Short, executive vice president of advertising and brandmanagement at Charles Schwab: ―The idea that a critical part of marketing is word ofmouth and validation from important personal relationship is absolutely key, andmost managers ignore it.‖ To make the best use of viral marketing techniques – bothonline and offline – it is crucial to understand and consider that products and servicesspread among the consumer public through interpersonal communication networks.Hegel and Armstrong (1997) approaching the dynamism of virtualcommunities from the e-commerce point of view, emphasize their attractiveness andhow they add value to vendors-consumers dynamics. From the economic point ofview, online communities are not only channels for shifting power from vendor tocustomer, but also it is a good tool in the hand of a community organizer for creatingwealth. The fuel for an opportunity to growth and for value creation is given by itsbeing ―virtual‖ (Hegel and Armstrong 1997). According to the authors ―…commercial success in the on-line arena will belong to those who organize virtualcommunities to meet multiple social and commercial needs. By creating strongvirtual communities, business will be able to build membership audiences and usethese audiences to bring in revenues in the form of advertising, transaction fees andmembership fees‖ (idem p.5). Now, at the beginning of 2008 we know they
  39. 39. 38 wereright. The revenue based prosperity of online connectivity is confirmed by aprofessor of Operation and Information Management at The Wharton School, Eric K.Clemons (2005) who states: ―As we learned from the first dot-com silliness, value isnot in click-through or eyeballs. Value comes from revenues… Can you sellsubscriptions to your data or your service? Can you charge for referrals or forpurchases that result from referrals? Can you sell stuff? If not, your revenue is zeroand your market value is zero.‖3 The concept of virtual communities basing on social networks is not new. Yetin 1974 it has been mentioned and described in terms of how invisible communitiesof consumption evolve (Boors tin, 1974 cited by Dwyer 2002 p. 64). A number ofarticles can be found depicting the impact of social networks and virtualcommunities on marketing approaches (e.g. Addis and Holbrook, 2001; Muniz andO‘Guinn, 2001). In the online context there are also studies recognizing consumergroups as virtual communities (de Moor 2007; Kwai Fun Ip and Wagner 2007;Adamic and Adar 2003; Holme et al. 2004). For an Internet based marketing strategythe presence of chat rooms, blogs, virtual brand communities and message boardscan be relevant. We often speak about marketing that is ―viral‖ where the messagewas seeded in a virtual community and spread extremely fast under the influence ofelectronic word-of-mouth or the so called word-of-mouse. Since it is generated byconsumers themselves there is more trust in the message, which is one of the biggestadvantages of some viral marketing techniques. In general, what makes compelling viral marketing techniques based ononline social networks and definitely distinguishes them from conventionalinterpersonal interactions is the ability to influence a large number of individuals. Tomake a single influence attempt it is required less effort; at the same timeinformation technologies augment the flexibility to deploy a variety of influencestrategies (Brown, Broderick and Lee 2007; Arbor 2007). To illustrate this with anexample, we consider one of the best-known social online communities on the web: The platform is generally used by young adult users who are theprimary trend drivers in the society. takes into account the marketingpotential of the presence of such variables as social class, and offers relevant andintegrated advertising opportunities to engage the tech-savvy youth audience.
  40. 40. 39 Empowered customers in the Web 2.0 What role does Web 2.0 play in people‘s lives today, and how might the consumerexperience change in the years ahead? This section tries to identify the answer to thisquestion considering different existing definitions of web 2.0, from articles inpopular press to blogs and forums. What does Web 2.0 really mean? The term analog to software developmentswhere increasing numbers are added to their names, can falsely imply a new versionof the World Wide Web. However, when Tim O‘Reilly, founder and CEO ofO‘Reilly Media Inc., come out with the expression with his web pioneers at abrainstorming session between O‘Reilly and Media Live International, simplyreferred to an evolution of the use of the web. They identified a turning point of theweb which was lead only partially by new technologies and applications.Alongcome the media who grasped the expression and spread it fast as new marketingbuzzword ―with no real understanding of just what it means‖5. O‘Reilly claims thatthe hurdle is continuing since many ―buzzword-addicted startups are definitely Web 2.0, while some of the applications we identified as Web 2.0, like Napster andBit Torrent, are not even properly web applications!‖ The following figure (Figure 2.)represents the meme map of the concept worked out in 2005 by the team of TimO‘Reilly:
  41. 41. 40 Figure 2 Such visualization of the phenomenon shows the ideas captured at the brainstormingsession around the core concept of Web 2.0, expressing it is being without strictboundaries.
  42. 42. 41 Figure 3 Online viral marketing is the missing link between top-down and bottom-up brand marketing approaches
  43. 43. 42 New tools open a new phase on the web There are also some interesting scenarios for the future of viral marketinglinked to a new, third phase of the web. With the arrival of widgets that consist ofbits of code some authors envisage a new revolutionary phase in the Internet‘s development. (Ante et al. 2007). Authors are claiming that the future big deal forcompanies from media, publishing, technology, entertainment and communication isto tap into the use of these smart applications. Widgets ―are tiny, highlighted lines of text or nondescript boxes runningalong the edge of the page‖ (Ante et al. 2007) In a more prosaic language they aresmall applications which can be embedded within a web page. Originally they wereplug-ins or extensions that allowed desktop applications to access the web. Widgetsare used by bloggers, social network users, auction sites and owners of personal websites providing news, helping users buy products, telling information about favoritelyrics, cinema or brands within an online users‘ network. Hence their power relies inbringing information to users instead of making them visit a website. On top of thesefeatures it is notable their simplicity to use, which represents a further attraction. The authors stress the opportunities to be exploited via widgets and depicthow they can be embedded into brand building, e-commerce and entertainmentpurposes. Widgets fit well in the shifts taking place in advertising. Customers aredemanding and looking for more than information. Widget is an application used foradvertising purposes, which basically makes possible the creation of involvementand unconventional purchasing experience. In some respect its aim is similar to whathas been discussed about flash games or advergames. A common example of the use of widgets is represented by Reebok‘swebsite, which is using it to embed consumers‘ virtual sneakers, according to theirpreferences and needs. At the end of the ―creation process‖ customers can processdirectly with the purchasing.
  44. 44. 43 From monologue to dialog – the power of blogs in disseminating messages Viral marketing is often associated with e-mail marketing including the ―tells a friend‖ options. However, one of the most potent forums for marketers to buildcustomer relationships, expose products, that can take the pulse of consumer trends are weblogs (Dearstyne 2005). Like the concept of viral marketing, the definition ofblogs is not unsettled. Dearstyne (2005) in his article collected some of the mostrelevant definitions of weblogs. According to this, Microsoft sees blogs as meansthat dramatically help both small and large companies to communicate their productmessages. In the same article Accenture defines weblogs as interactive websitesallowing the owners to publish ideas and information and create conversationspanning time zones and continents (Dearstyne 2005). The Weblogs, or blogs,mostly have been defined as online journals or diaries, published chronologically,with links to and commentary on various issues of interest. The number of onlineblogs has grown exponentially in the last decade - just the site Technorati.comtracks 112.8 million of them with over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. Blogs are omnipresent on the web, thanks also to their easy creation and to theinfinite themes and reasons to publish them (Marken 2005). The role of blogs is essential in peer-to-peer communication; therefore it is abasic venue to spread messages, thoughts and opinions in the online context (Bloom2005; Lyons and Henderson 2005). claims that ―Blogs are powerfulbecause they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, andmillions more to read and respond. They engage the writer and reader in an openconversation, and are shifting the Internet paradigm as we know it.‖ The earliest blog dated to the late 1990s, but the power of a diary formnarration dates back from more than three Centuries. Paul Marsden (2000) in his PhD discussion argues about the prospective of media representations of suicide thatcould have some influence on a person‘s suicidality. In the mirror of the 18th Century German writer‘s novel, Marsden calls the contagious media effect ―Werther Effect‖:
  45. 45. 44 If blogs offer engaging and relevant content they can be a powerful tools inmarketers hand in promoting product and services or communicating with potentialcustomers. Blogging is a crucial stage of information sharing on the Internet. Theyhave become so popular because they are inexpensive or the software for bloggingcan be settled up at a very convenient fee, and they are easy to set up and maintain. At the same time weblogs are the main venue in the Internet sphere to fosterknowledge sharing and productivity FINDINGS AND INFERENCES Every day we are exposed to thousand of advertising information, which includes many types of marketing communications: lots of printed ads being readersof some magazines and newspapers, free brochures received every week, television commercials, ads in the radio while we are driving between our workplace andhome, billboards on the roads and buildings, billboards on the subway, bus and tram, printed ads in the ski-lift. Through our online connections we receive advertising in different forms: spams, pop-ups, banners, direct e-mails, newsletters. How many of them we dedicate time and energy to read, watch and hear not mentioning to consider them? How many of these techniques have already lost its credibility because of the way they reach us? What are the most reliable sources of recommendations of today? Has something changed from the old times in the marketplace? Similarly to our forefathers from centuries we like to share information with each other. Once upon a time consumers had a good experience with a marketer orhis product, they would tell their neighborhoods, parents and friends, who would often buy and use that product and then tell it to others – dispersing information and recommendations about somebody (producer, supplier, marketer) or something
  46. 46. 45 (Product, animal, slave) via a social network. We behave in the same way in the today‘s marketplace, as well. The phenomenon of passing the word – word of mouth – has been considered for many times as the unique reliable source of information. This seems to be remained constant. Word of mouth rather considered as the most powerful way not just to make the purchase decision easier but to help to make it (Silverman 2001). It is supposed that this old power – the power of word of mouth - relies on the bottom of a marketing technique called viral marketing. The pronounced word about a product or service expressed in the right context appears to have the characteristics of a virus. One manifestation in the right ambient starts to self- propagate itself with such speed that thousands of people will become informed about the message. What mechanisms need to be happened until the purchasing is the objective of another thesis? This study aims at discovering the real features and perspectives of viral marketing through and exploratory research inan Internet based social and professional community. What does a virus have to do with marketing? Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions. 1 11 1111 11111111 1111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
  47. 47. 46 We have all received e-mails from friends or familymembers telling us about a new product, service, or freeproduct offering. Many of us have forwarded those pro-motions, or information professing the virtues of theproduct or service. If marketers can encourage membersto spread the information or news of their product orservice to others, it creates a potential for exponentialgrowth in the message‘s exposure and influence. Viral began as an e-commerce and marketing strategy touse the Internet to promote a product or service. It nowdescribes any strategy that encourages individuals to passalong a marketing message to others. The purpose of thispaper is to address some of the advantages, disadvantagesand some of the ethical issues concerning viral market-ing. Word-of-mouth publicity is a centuries-old marketingtechnique. Once consumers had a good experience witha product, they would tell their friends, who would oftenbuy and use that product and then tell their friends, whowould often buy and use the product and then tell otherfriends via this social network Strategies used by viral marketers vary, but most allutilize a give-away or free item or service. This freeconcept allows the viral marketer to successfully capturethe attention of the public. The public is willing to givetheir e-mail address to viral marketers if they think theyare getting something for free. Another viral marketing strategy is the exploitation ofhuman motivation and behaviors. Good viral marketers,like any other excellent marketer, must have an under-standing of what the customer needs and wants. Additionally, they understand the power of human networks.Viral marketing strategies attempt to harness the powerof trusted recommendations of friends and colleagues. The viral message can spread either intentionally orunintentionally. When consumers find a good or servicecompelling, they spread the news intentionally when theycommunicate to others. You may not be bought out by Microsoft because of a clever viral marketing strategy, but this shouldn‘t stop you from taking advantage of the viral marketing phenomenon. This paper explains how you can implement a very inexpensive viral marketing strategy in your online business using articles.
  48. 48. 47 Article viral marketing has a number of benefits that can quickly turn an average online business into a thriving one. Articles not only create a viral marketing strategy, they also increase a website‘s Google ranking on keyword searches. Many small businesses starting out have small advertising budgets, and for some advertising is the biggest obstacle to overcome. There‘s no better advertising than free advertising. Conclusion and Recommendation CONCLUSION In the literature, viral marketing describes strategies that encourage people to pass a marketing message to others in order to create an exponential growth in the message given by the advertiser. This process is based on the basic principle of word-of-mouth, transposed to the web. Word of mouth allows some Companies to become very powerful thanks to the consumers and their supporting acts on the web. Websites give the opportunity to spread the word faster than ever by using the rights tools at the right moment through the right persons. The growth of social networks and blogs in the five past years has provided ideals platforms of communication for advertisers and marketers. These new communities of web users now, share and spread the word to the other members; the key word is also ―interactivity‖. People want to interact with others, give opinions, share the experience and ask others before buying. That is the principle of the viral phenomenon. Marketers also try to find other way to communicate in order to be more and more innovative for keeping the consumers‘ attention. That is why the new trend is in the visual impact and effect of the communication. The flash mobs‘ video of T-Mobile is the perfect example of the visual impact on the brand for sharing. The ad was entertaining, innovative and funny, three key success factors of a good campaign.
  49. 49. 48 Nevertheless, marketers have to be careful about viral campaign; because sometimes it could trigger disasters on the web, which carry away a bad brand image and could cause the ruin of a brand. That is the viral risk for some bad buzz like Nestlé for Kitkat. The research problem is base on the way that companies conduct viral campaign for their communication but also understand the key point we have to focus on in order to conduct a good viral campaign. All is about understanding why is this new communication working so much in the current society. Two of the objectives were to interview a buzz marketing manager and conduct a survey that supports the elements finding in the interview. The interview gave another dimension to the study because Renée Bäni is in the trend of the Viral concept, she knows what works or not and highlights the followings points that was the objectives of the study. The survey was a support in order to understand the consumer behavior face to viral campaigns. Therefore, the objectives given answered the current viral concept questions. To show benefits and potential risks of a viral Campaign. The strategy marketing through Viral Marketing uses various tools on internet platform in order to generate word of mouth for a product or a service. The benefits of a viral campaign are huge for the Company in term of brand awareness, brand image and for economics and Medias fallout. The strength of this new communication lies in the fact that consumers spread the word fast and the message goes viral like a virus. People on social networks and blogs are more willing to share the information with their friends or their family. Indeed consumers are actors in a good viral campaign but there are other actors involved in the process. Bloggers, for examples are opinion leaders and have credibility toward consumers. They have an economic impact on a product or a service because they have credibility for the purchase process of the consumer. The strength of viral campaign lies, in the other hand, in the fact that everything goes instantly by one click. The effort is really reduce at the minimum and sharing information is easier and faster than ever. However, a viral communication can destroy a Company or a man reputation. We can take for example the case ―Dominique Strauss-Kahn‖ that became the more relevant new
  50. 50. 49 badbuzz for a politician or the fight between Nestlé and green peace that was a huge bad buzz fur the Nestlé Company. To indentify Companies objectives through viral Campaigns, and to know why Companies use viral and buzz campaigns compare to “normal” Campaigns. The Companies‘ objectives are manifold and Companies use viral campaign for many reasons: Companies are always in the innovation in term of communication and they always want to be the most competitive one in the market. An innovative company gives an image of dynamism in phase with the trend. The habits of consumption evolve with the trends and now consumers wants to be more involve in the buying process. They ask to others, want to experience, and wants evidence and more objectivity for a product or a service. By using viral or buzz campaigns, Companies can show the values and the culture that they belong. Because people do not trust anymore the traditional campaigns and prefer ask to their pairs, viral is the most objective way to transmit a strong message. Use viral campaign compare to normal campaign allows the Companies to get directly the feedbacks of the consumers on blogs or social networks and give the opportunity for the consumer to express himself about the product or the service. The consumer is satisfied about the attention paid, and the Company has instantly feedbacks from the customers and sees what is wrong or not. Compare to ―normal campaign‖, viral generate word-of-mouth that means a huge network, more influence and more brand awareness. But there is also an economic goal; go viral on web cost less than a traditional campaign and could enhance the economics fallouts.
  51. 51. 50 To indentify the success key factors of a buzz campaign. Actually, there is no specific answer in term of key success factors for a good campaign. All is about the trends and the Company expectations. However, the study highlights some tools that always work: Be funny and quirky. The Company has to differentiate by reaching the consumers‘ feelings. By using humor, advertisers and marketers are sure to make a buzz. Humor is a universal language that marketers understand that fast. Be innovative. The ad can be innovative in many ways. By the method it was registered like 3D images or HD the ad can give the wow effect. However, innovation can also be used by the way of communicate. There is no matter to show the product and give all the characteristics, since many years, flashmobs and freezes were a virus all around the planet. Comply with the trends and the consumers‘ expectation. Because the consumer is in the heart of the word-of-mouth process, the consumer is directly tie to the success of the campaign.
  52. 52. 51 RECOMMENDATIONS Viral marketing has much strength as describe before, and some Companies faced badbuzzes due to a lack of social media management. The example of Nestlé is impressive. Indeed they faced with the anger of Greenpeace‘ members on Facebook due to the use of palm oil in their chocolate bare Kitkat. The problem could easily been solved with the help of community manager that talk to consumers and reassure them when it is necessary. That was a big mistake from Nestlé. They were overwhelm by the attacks and could not face it, so they closed and cancelled their fan page. The recommendation in this case is to not panic. Take every complaint and take the time to answer for everyone. The consumer is too important for not taking in account his opinion. When Companies launch a viral campaign, they have to consider every risk, and take the social factor in account. They have to open discussion pages where professionals can answer them. There is no ―one‖ solution to avoid the viral risk; that is why some precautions have to be taken. The priority is to manage the flow on social networks and keep the fame and the image clean during the process. On the other hand, there is a certain disinterest for viral communication from the web users. The ―wow‖ effect is powerless than the beginning five years ago. People are fed up to see another flashmob or another freeze on websites. Moreover, people begin to parody this kind of communication. Companies have to find another way to give a strong message to the consumer in a corporate strategy. Another trend could be a possible way to communicate; the back to basics is quite the contrary of the viral concept very 2.0 but it could be a new way to do an old thing with some old fashion viral campaigns. For example, the old brand could revisit their old advertisement and turn it in a new way. People want innovation but also want authentic feelings. That could be a solution of diversification.
  53. 53. 52 Some viral guidelines Content should… Be small in file size, in orderthat it doesn‘t require a greatamount of time to view and be impacted by it. Be distributed in a format thatmost people can use or viewwithout custom or difficult to install software. Never be attached to an email,as anti-virus and office Spam-blocking filters remove the attachment Be easy to use, and easy torefer to a friend Be presented in a way that iseither blatantly branded, or notbranded at all…so that thecontent is not boycotted orsabotaged by groups who maybe offended by the commercialintent once discovered.
  54. 54. 53 APPENDIXES Questionnaires
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  56. 56. 55 31. If you owned a business how would you use the Internet to attract customers? 32. Why is the Internet such an attractive marketing arena for businesses?
  57. 57. 56 BIBLIOGRAPHY Text book 1. Bednar, J. (2010) ―Tweet Success‖, Business West, 2. Belaar, N. (2008) ―Viral Friday: Wassup 2008‖. 3. Beuker, J. (2008) ―Heineken launches viral ―star final‖ Campaign 2008‖. 4. Doran, R. (2010) ―Advertising success loosens traditional ties‖, Web sites 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
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