Viral marketing

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Viral marketing

  1. 1. Viral Marketing
  2. 2. Huh? You have to admire the virus. He has a way of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that he wins by sheer weight of numbers. He piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase his tribe. And in the right environment, he grows exponentially. A virus doesnt even have to mate -- he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration: 1 11 1111 11111111 1111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 In a few short generations, a virus population can explode…
  3. 3. Viral Marketing Defined 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 messages exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.Off the Internet, viral marketing has been referred to as "word-of-mouth," "creating a buzz," "leveraging the media," "network marketing." But on the Internet, for better or worse, its called "viral marketing." While others smarter than I have attempted to rename it, to somehow domesticate and tame it, I wont try. The term "viral marketing" has stuck.
  4. 4. The Classic Hotmail.com Example The classic example of viral marketing is Hotmail.com, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. The strategy is simple: 1.Give away free e-mail addresses and services 2.Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: "Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com" 3.Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates 4.People see the message 5.They Sign up for their own free e-mail service 6.Propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.Like tiny waves spreading ever farther from a single pebble dropped into a pond, a carefully designed viral marketing strategy ripples outward extremely rapidly.
  5. 5. Elements of a Viral MarketingStrategy Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple Hotmail.com strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy: 1.Gives away products or services 2.Provides for effortless transfer to others 3.Scales easily from small to very large 4.Exploits common motivations and behaviors 5.Utilizes existing communication networks 6.Takes advantage of others resources Lets examine at each of these elements briefly.
  6. 6. Gives away valuable products or services "Free" is the most powerful word in a marketers vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away 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 as you get in the "pro" version. Wilsons Second Law of Web Marketing is "The Law of Giving and Selling" (http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmta/basic-principles.htm). "Cheap" or "inexpensive" may generate a wave of interest, but "free" will usually do it much faster. Viral marketers practice delayed gratification. They may not profit today, or tomorrow, but if they can generate a groundswell of interest from something free, they know they will profit "soon and for the rest of their lives" (with apologies to "Casablanca"). Patience, my friends. Free attracts eyeballs. 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 sales opportunities. Give away something, sell something.
  7. 7. Provides for effortless transfer toothers Public health nurses offer sage advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, wash your hands often, and dont touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread when theyre easy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: e- mail, website, graphic, software download. Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Digital format make copying simple. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without degradation. Short is better. The classic is: "Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com." The message is compelling, compressed, and copied at the bottom of every free e-mail message.
  8. 8. Scales easily from small to verylarge To spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. The weakness of the Hotmail model is that a free e-mail service requires its own mail servers to transmit the message. If the strategy is wildly successful, mail servers must be added very quickly or the rapid growth will bog down and die. If the virus multiplies only to kill the host before spreading, nothing is accomplished. So long as you have planned ahead of time how you can add mail servers rapidly youre okay. You must build in scalability to your viral model.
  9. 9. Exploits common motivations andbehaviors 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 drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, loved, and understood. The resulting urge to communicate produces millions of websites and billions of e-mail messages. Design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you have a winner.
  10. 10. Utilizes existing communicationnetworks Most people are social. Nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science grad students are the exception. Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. A persons broader network may consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. A waitress, for example, may communicate regularly with hundreds of customers in a given week. Network marketers have long understood the power of these human networks, both the strong, close networks as well as the weaker networked relationships. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs. Affiliate programs exploit such networks, as do permission e-mail lists. Learn to place your message into existing communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its dispersion.
  11. 11. Takes advantage of othersresources The most creative viral marketing plans use others resources to get the word out. Affiliate programs, for example, place text or graphic links on others websites. Authors who give away free articles, seek to position their articles on others webpages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Now someone elses newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message. Someone elses resources are depleted rather than your own.
  12. 12. Why The Dark Knights Viral Marketing is Absolutely Brilliant QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
  13. 13. Why The Dark Knights Viral Marketing is Absolutely Brilliant “I Believe in Harvey Dent.” “Why So Serious?” These are two phrases that have stuck with us over the past year. They really showcase how The Dark Knight marketing unfolded–it was a two-fold approach and both sides of this viral marketing tool worked wonders. Before The Dark Knight, viral marketing was kind of a joke. Yes, websites were devoted to various projects like Cloverfield. I remember the legit website for the memory-erasing company in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The viral marketing of old served as just a clever ploy to start marketing a film, but few people really took notice. The Dark Knight marketing got people involved. Granted, the people that got involved were probably those who were going to see the movie opening weekend anyway, but MY GOD was it fun.
  14. 14. Time-line for The Dark Knight viralmarketingIn May 2007, the firm handling themarketing, 42 Entertainment, beganIBelieveInHarveyDent.com with a singleimage of Aaron Eckhart as Dent (this sameimage would soon appear on flyers, smallposters, and t-shirts). Soon after that,IBelieveInHarveyDentToo.com came outwith a vandalized or “Jokerized” image ofDent that had a space at the bottom where QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.you could submit your email address. Withevery email address submitted, a tiny pixelwould be removed. In a short, short amountof time (I believe less than 24 hours later)enough people had submitted their emailaddresses to the website that all the pixels QuickTime™ and a decompressorwere gone and we had ourselves our first are needed to see this picture.glimpse of Heath Ledger as the Joker.The image was on the site a brief time, butlong enough for friends to copy the imageand add it to their Facebook profiles. TheJoker faded away, and a messagecontaining upper and lower-cased “ha”‘s QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.were left in its wake, as well as a messagesaying “See you in December.” Most peopletook that to mean the release of the teasertrailer, and they were right, although the
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  16. 16. Why The Dark Knights Viral Marketing is Absolutely Brilliant In a stroke of genius marketing, The Dark Knight took over Comic Con 07. There were pics of people in Clown costumes (sent via WhySoSerious and the Gotham newspaper website for The Gotham Times), there were messages inside balloons, telephone numbers to call, airplanes giving messages from above, a riddle involving the Joker laughing in Morse code. It was intense. The payoff was a picture of the Joker in a car, a pic of him holding a knife to Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) throat, and a few other little nuggets for the fans (including the advance teaser trailer which most of us had already found TiredYouTube, except nowelite on offor a change of page? Our job? Ready your miserable, dead-end it was in HD). It started with this… organization is expanding! We’re looking for fresh faces to represent us in an important upcoming negotiation. You must be 18 or older to apply. Enjoy a career in a lucrative, ultra high-profile field. Our associates make QuickTime™ and a their own hours, enjoy great benefits and, in decompressor some cases, work from home. Do you have are needed to see this picture. what it takes? Qualified recruits must have: An open mind, Strong moral compass, the ability to improvise. Recruits are encouraged to ask a friend with access to the internet to AT 1PM, thefrom home. If you don’t have any help them website friends, consider hiring one. www.whysoserious.com changed from its countdown, and proclamation of building an army, to something different
  17. 17. There has never been a film that was more smartly marketed than The DarkKnight. Warner Bros. has pumped a lot of money on marketing, reportedly over$100 million in advertisements such as commercials, billboards, posters, buses,and Formula One racecars. Factor in toys, games, and other promotionalmaterials. This stuff costs money and Warner Bros. held nothing back inpromoting The Dark Knight (which had to be that way since it’s the only Batmanmovie without Batman in the title).There was more viral marketing, too,but this didn’t have the same payoffor excitement that the early ComicCon event had. For instance, if youwere in select cities, you could goand visit the I Believe In Harvey Dent QuickTime™ and a decompressorcampaign vans or Dentmobiles are needed to see this picture.(casually timed with the Republicanand Democratic PresidentialPrimaries) and get stickers and t-shirts. Rachel Dawes gave a videopress conference. You could literallyvote for Harvey Dent. If yousubmitted your cell phone numberyou could get a phone call from Denthimself proclaiming that we can takeback Gotham.
  18. 18. There was also the Clown Travel Agency bit. A list of cities and terrible punsled fans to bowling alleys where very few lucky first-comers got a bowling ballbag complete with a custom ball and a cell phone that dialed out to a creepyrecording.People involved in the campaign were eventually rewarded for their loyalty bybeing given free passes to IMAX pre-screenings of The Dark Knight, courtesyof the WhySoSerious’ “Human Resources” dept. A great finale to a fun ride QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
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