[Even though everyone talks about viral marketing like it’s a new online marketing tactic, it has actually been around for a very long time. Viral marketing can be anything from handing out free samples at the grocery store to dropping wallets throughout a targeted geographic area and loading each one with a card directing the finder to a website to see if they have won the million-dollar reward.
Today, when most people hear the term “viral” they assume it has something to do with online media or social networking. Often times, it does.
Viral marketing is basically any marketing effort that you “release” into the marketplace and let chart its own course. The key element of viral marketing is that you relinquish control to the consumers and let them take the campaign where they see fit.
It’s possible and often advantageous to use an element of viral marketing in almost every campaign you do. In fact, we’ve been integrating viral elements into our clients’ campaigns for years. The only difference is, the Internet has now made our options much broader and more cost-efficient.
A common misconception is that viral marketing is only for the young. While 15-25 year olds are clearly frequent Internet users, so are many other target groups, such as business executives, general consumers and even many seniors.
The key to viral marketing success is identical to any conventional campaign””match your messaging to the needs of your target audience.
This is the first part of a three-part series on viral marketing. In our next issue, we will discuss the elements of a successful viral campaign.
Until next month…