"Viral marketing" may sound strange to those who have never encountered the term. It may strike you as to how a term like viral could be incorporated into the marketing industry terminology? Well, your doubts may hold the reins of validity. It certainly delivers a deceitful connotation to those who don't gather the slightest idea of the concept. Ironically, this is one concept that also grabs eyeballs in creating self-awareness. Viral marketing matches up to define itself as a thoughtful marketing strategy that concentrates on spreading awareness about a particular product; thereby, also maintains the word-of-mouth ideology. It is the marketing industry that systematically uses the terminology to elicit interest in the masses through the Internet. The communication process is such that the most important information which may attract the attention and interest of the consumer is put forth, or is circulated through the word-of-mouth technique.
The communication process may be termed as 'viral fire'. I say this, as I believe that to a certain extent, viral marketing works on the principle of how a virus is communicable in nature. It is through the virus spreading that many people may endure common colds, or fevers; in the same manner, it is only through viral marketing that there are people who pass on a good word about the product, or service they have availed of, and found it beneficial, or satisfying. It serves to be a virtual propagator that spreads the news, through its marketing strategies. There are essentially two ways in which the communication takes place: spontaneous and planned.
Methods of Communication
The spontaneous viral communication is a strategy that focuses on the provision of a product or service by the company. When the customers or consumers are satisfied, they would provide their feedback in the form of availing the service or the product all over again and continuing to use their offered methods. Through this method, those who have used this product will pass on their positive impression to friends or potential buyers who may be interested in the services and the product. In turn they may do the same for the ones they know. In a short period, you would have a number of people using the product or the service.
A research conducted by Phelps et al. (2004), produced a forensic report publishing the efficacy and frequency of forwarding emails, with regards to classifying the email mode of communication into four sections. They also found that emails eliciting specific human emotions highlighting its minutiae, have a greater probability of being passed on. Emails that function as virtual bulletin boards are likely to garner attention by the receiver. Thus, while indulging in viral marketing, emails proves to be a strategic instrument for effective and agile communication pathway.
The email is, therefore, a model of planned communication. Planned communication is a program set up by the company or the organization to let the masses know about the products or services they have on offer. The communication process has a planned strategy that functions on the principle of the following elements. They are:
Take Away Products
This is a standardized, and the most popular method in helping the company market their presence. "Free" and "discounted rates" are favorite terms in the marketing terminology. They will offer their products for a free trial to let the masses know that they are 'in the market', and their products are competitive. In terms of services, there are text messages and emails forwarded so that the information may be utilized by those interested. Coupons and rewards are distributed through emails to create awareness about the product or service they are propagating. In short, they serve to be an incentive for the masses to try a product, or service.
Easily Communicable Messages
The organization devises certain techniques to help people pass on the message quickly and easily, without any fuss, or time-consuming tactics. They are of the view that the consumers are overworked, and it is best to provide them with an alternative that does not consume much of their time. This is how they could let others know, particularly when they have an accessible via media to do so.
Preparation for Varied Response
The organization that has released the campaign must be prepared for any one of two set response; it may be small-scale (involving very few people to participate); or large-scale (to face 'n' number of people being interested in availing the benefits that you have put forth).
Concentrate on the Typical Human Mentality
The organization has to understand; rather, predict what makes the consumers tick, and what are the motivational factors that make them all the more interested; thereby, igniting their curiosity meters. Use certain time-tested devices such as humor, love, the urge to be trendy, the desire to go around popular places in the world, and the riches. These are some of the tendencies that market men can play upon.
Human Communication Networks
The existing human communication networks are the most successful and effective, as they have close contacts and relations through networks on the Internet and social networking sites. This is the strongest way through which messages can be sent and passed on. They are instant, and don't require the individual to invest more time.
This is how the communication process of viral marketing materializes. I believe this article has given you the cycle that the marketers follow to have their strategies take wings, and reach new heights.