What is Viral Marketing?

This refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes.

It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. It is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. The basic form of viral marketing is not infinitely sustainable.

It is claimed that a customer tells an average of three people about a product or service he/she likes, and eleven people about a product or service which he/she did not like. Viral marketing is based on this natural human behavior.

The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to this segment of the population and have a high probability of being passed along.

The term is also sometimes used to refer to stealth marketing campaigns, the use of varied kinds of astroturfing both online and offline to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.

The term refers to the techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness. It's primary use is to harness the network effect of the Internet to reach a large number of people very quickly. Viral advertising only succeeds if the original email campaign element is compelling and worth sending on.

A low cost form of this marketing gaining wide acceptance is blogs (weblogs). These are diarised entries on a website which often invite conversation from third parties. Blogs can include text, photographs (photoblogs), videos (vlogs), or audio (podcasts).

Blogging is a form of viral marketing that combines the power of word of mouth (wom) with the efficiency of the Internet. Small business can use blogs to demonstrate their expertise. For example, a landscaper might consider a weekly blog about lawn care and gardening tips including case studies and photos or video content. If people find the blog interesting they may share it with friends who have similar interests. Blogs demonstrate one of the changes occurring in Internet usage. Many people are becoming on-line 'prosumers', that is they produce and consume on the Internet.

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