Viral MarketingA note to Business Owners / Executives by Sam Mishra
Viral marketing refers to propagating marketing messages with speed. This is comparable to viruses multiplying rapidly, once they find a proper habitat to replicate.
This is easier said than done. The term came into vogue with the advent of the Internet. Prior to the Internet revolution, companies used to count on word-of-mouth marketing, which is nothing but one of the ways marketeers conduct lviral marketing today. I used to do marketing for a hardware firm in Silicon Valley, and their top three marketing channels, as propounded by the marketing executives, were word-of-mouth, direct sales, and indirect sales.
Word-of-mouth marketing was important then, and is important today. If a customer recommends your service to other prospects, nothing like it. However, with the advent of the Internet, you now have more resources in your arsenal. The biggest of them? The Internet, of course! Through the Internet, you can propagate your message to millions of customers, prospects, readers, or what have you. By the Internet, I mean the Internet technologies: e-mails, blogs, websites / URLs, SEO / SEM, etc. One also needs to leverage the upcoming Web 2.0 technologies which created the needed network effects --- utilities like Digg / Delicious, social networks like MySpace / Facebook / Twitter, RSS feeds which keep people coming to your sites again and again, e-mail newsletters, podcasts / YouTube ads, etc.
In short, any technology or process that helps people pass a marketing message along, without your direct involvement, can contribute to your viral marketing campaign. For example, as a business owner, you probably send a hundred emails a day. When you sign off, if you put your company's logo / URL as a default, that is a form of viral marketing. Why? Because, if your e-mail is forwarded by the recipient to someone else who was not aware of your website / URL, but now is because she sees the link below your signature in the forwarded email and clicks on it, you have managed to attract yet another visitor to your website without directly doing anything for it.