Skip navigation

Viral Marketing – the Buzz on Buzz

Traditional marketers have always defined their approach by the Five P’s: People, Product, Price, Promotion, Place. Viral Marketing (VM), on the other hand, is the family of marketing techniques that make it easy – or automatic – for existing clients to refer new prospects.  This white paper also includes brief case studies for professional service firms, charitable fundraising, and book publishing.   

And They Told Two Friends.

Many years ago, there was a television commercial for shampoo that ended with the main character saying “And they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on”.  While the ad copywriter probably didn’t know it, this simple line of dialog precisely defines the goal of Viral Marketing.  This white paper provides perspective on the topic.

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing follows a traditional analytical path:

People:  Each market segment is defined; not only who they are (demographics), but also how they make their purchase decisions.

Product:  What does the product actually do, and what need does it satisfy?  There are a number of other questions that also require analysis and decisions:  How is it designed, what are the unique features, is there a service component to the product, what is the warranty?   And of course, what is the price?

Price: How much should the product cost?  And what is it’s value in the mind of a prospect?

Promotion:  How will the product be promoted to the people?  Advertising?  Media Relations?  Coupons? Online?

Place:  Which channels should the product be sold through:  Direct, retail, digital, etc?  Do the distribution channels vary by market segment?

Once these five attributes are analyzed and decisions made, then what remains is execution.  Of course, the reality is a bit more complex, as better marketers assess the competition, reach back into product development and then forward into advertising, public relations, sales compensation plans, partnerships, and after-sales support.

It is not an either-or between traditional and viral marketing:  traditional analysis is a prerequisite to a viral marketing strategy, in that it helps define the baseline on which to build, and ensures that no basics are overlooked.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing (VM) can be defined as the family of marketing techniques that make it easy – or automatic – for existing relationships to refer new prospects. It takes a fundamentally different approach than traditional marketing, and rests on three basic tenets:

    1. Those who have already purchased – or who already have a relationship – are in the best position to identify others like themselves who may also be likely to purchase.  Implication:  Understanding what the product benefits are is less important than helping people communicate these benefits to others.
    2. Every prospect or client exists at a particular point on the Trust Curve.  Each purchaser moves from awareness, to preference, to commitment.  A purchase is only made once trust – and the relationship – is sufficiently strong.  Therefore, the goal is to move prospects up the curve; for those who have already committed, the goal is to reinforce that commitment.
    3. VM recognizes that the word can be spread by anyone on the Trust Curve, not just those who have already committed by purchasing.  For example, a purchaser might be induced to tell ten people, while a prospect might be induced to tell five.  Since there are many more prospects than clients, done properly, the marketing message can be spread dramatically. VM is characterized by a number of phrases:  Tell a friend, Give to a friend, send to a friend.  (And they told two friends, and so on and so on.)

What can a Viral Marketer build into the product that empowers the client or prospect to make a recommendation?  The opportunities are unlimited, but here are seven of the places where this can be made to happen:

Want to Read More of this Whitepaper? Fill out the form and we will send the full white paper to you immediately.

Whitepaper
  • Hidden

  • Brad Christmas

    Brad Christmas

    CIO Akin Gump

    Their methodologies have depth and are effective. We get exceptional value for every dollar spent.

  • David Berman

    David Berman

    High-level advisor on accessible design United Nations

    We're pretty deep into it, but in an hour and half I learned six or seven things that I just didn't know before.

  • Stephen Libman

    Stephen Libman

    Transformational thinker

    I learned 7 or 8 killer ideas that I need to put into action right away.

  • Brad Christmas

    Brad Christmas

    CIO Akin Gump

    Their methodologies have depth and are effective. We get exceptional value for every dollar spent.

  • David Berman

    David Berman

    High-level advisor on accessible design United Nations

    We're pretty deep into it, but in an hour and half I learned six or seven things that I just didn't know before.

  • Stephen Libman

    Stephen Libman

    Transformational thinker

    I learned 7 or 8 killer ideas that I need to put into action right away.

More Testimonials
Back to top