What is Viral Marketing?
To clearly define what viral marketing is, we’ll first define the two words composing it – “viral” and “marketing”. Let’s first take a look at the definition of marketing.
Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA), is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Marketing is a huge subject. If you don’t have a basic knowledge of it, it may take a lot of textbooks and tons of articles to fully understand the subject of marketing. But basically, marketing focuses on the processes. These processes involve researching (creating), promoting (communicating), selling (delivering) and distributing (exchanging) your products and services. The components of a marketing mix include the four Ps (product, promotion, placement and pricing). These four Ps of marketing have been modified further to become more costumer focused. This is what is known as SIVA. SIVA stands for solution (product), information (promotion), value (price) and access (placement).
The four elements of SIVA answer the following questions:
1. Solution: How appropriate is the solution to a customer’s problems or needs?
2. Information: Does the customer know about the solution? If so, how and from whom do they know enough to let them make a buying decision?
3. Value: Does the customer know the value of the transaction, what it will cost, what are the benefits, what might they have to sacrifice, what will be their reward?
4. Access: Where can the customer find the solution? How easily/locally/remotely can they buy it and take delivery?
With the discussion of those basic marketing descriptions above, I hope you have now an idea what is marketing all about. Now it’s time to go to the second word – viral. Viral is the adjective that describes a “virus”. Hence let us define what a virus is. Virus is from the Latin word virus meaning toxin or poison. A virus is a sub-microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism. Viruses replicate themselves by infecting a host cell. They infect a wide variety of organisms including plants, animals and humans. These infected organisms are the ones who spread them through contact with other organisms. Viral infection can spread widely as an epidemic. Remember the “swine flu” or an influenza A virus subtype H1N1? This virus outbreak is what you can see and hear in the news today. It is a newsmaker and if you Google the keyword “swine flu”, it will give you an almost twenty million search results.
“A process of researching, promoting, selling and distributing your product to consumers” and an “outbreak” is what viral marketing seems to mean. Many companies spend millions in advertising in a goal to sell their products to a wider range of consumers. However not all of them achieve the success that they first expect out of these huge marketing expenses. Of course some of them succeed through the exceptional minds of their marketing team. On the other hand, there are also small businesses that spend a little cost in marketing, but still achieve revenue success. They achieve their goal –that is to attract more customers and ultimately increase their sales. Through this point of view, marketing, to be “viral” don’t really matters on how much did you spent for it. What matter is how you created it, how did you delivered it and how did you presented it.
Because of the internet technology, many businesses have utilized its maximum use to market and advertise their products with a little margin of cost. Top social networks like Youtube, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter become the marketing haven of most of businesses in the world. Whether these businesses are small, medium or large, they all earn equal opportunities to spread their product online. This becomes reality because, as I said earlier, online marketing doesn’t matter a lot of costs. What matters now are creativity, extraordinariness and innovation.
At this moment, we may define Viral Marketing as a process of producing and offering high quality products with the right prices for the right consumers; promoting these products in an efficient manner through the effective use of media by means of creative and extraordinary promotion strategies; and distributing these products to consumers on the most appropriate distribution channels.
I hope you all have gained an idea what viral marketing is. In my succeeding article, I will further discuss viral marketing by looking into how the “word of mouse” works. If you have your own other definitions of viral marketing, share them by commenting and starting a discussion below.