Explaining Viral Marketing
Viral marketing may sound a bit strange at first. It sounds like something you would want to stay away from at all costs. However, it is proving to be the wave of the future for promoting new products and concepts. The old way of marketing a new product was to buy ad space in a newspaper or buy television time to let people hear about your product. In today's marketplace people are bombarded by advertising whether it is written or on local radio or television. Most people have become so annoyed by advertising, they have learned to tune it out completely.
So how does one get a marketing message across? How can new ideas and products be promoted effectively? In many businesses, products are promoted by referral. One person who is satisfied with a product will tell his friends about it and recommend it. For years this has been one of the best ways to get new customers. Any salesperson will tell you that. Viral marketing uses this concept and combines it with the Internet to spread a message even more quickly. With the use of technology the referral method of selling is faster than ever before.
Many viral programs begin by offering something for free. Friends tell friends who tell other friends about the free offer. As more and more people take the free offer a huge database of names and email addresses is created. Many of the groups of people have a common thread running through them. Maybe they are all college students. This common theme can make marketing (after the free offer) to this group extremely effective. It is a way of using consumers to market to other consumers rather than having a manufacturer or service provider market directly to consumers. This seems to be a much more successful manufacturing method. Again this stems from the marketing overload we have today. It is a new approach that is less invasive and better received.
Viral marketing is also a lot less expensive than traditional marketing. With traditional marketing you needed to normally print material to send on by postal mail to potential customers. Printing and mailing costs can be extortionate especially when you have a large potential client base. Also getting a qualified list of prospects is a major expense. All of this money is being spent in an attempt to generate a few sales. And this brings us right back to the same issue of marketing overload. Most people receive so many advertisements today that they almost never read or pay any attention to them. Television and radio advertising have become so heavy that "channel surfing" has become an American pastime.
The term viral marketing has done on because this new phenomenon is spread from one person to another. Good ideas can become contagious. With people being more connected through technology than ever before the number of people in someone's network is typically much larger. When an idea starts, it passes to all the contacts in one network and then each person in that network has their own network to spread the virus (idea) to and so on and so on. This concept seems to be here to stay.